Press release from Buncombe County:
Buncombe County positive COVID-19 cases continue to grow, with 312 cases per week per 100,000, up from 261 last week. The percent positivity has risen to 9.4%, up about two points from Aug. 3. Currently, 63% of the total population in Buncombe County is partially vaccinated, and 59% is fully vaccinated.
Buncombe County is continuing to experience an upward trend in COVID-related hospitalizations. Based on state data from March through middle of August, unvaccinated individuals were 3.5 times more likely to get COVID-19 when compared to vaccinated individuals. It also remains that hospitalizations and deaths are overwhelmingly in those who are not fully vaccinated.
“Vaccination remains the priority tool for stomping down COVID-19,” said Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders. “Vaccines are safe and effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalization and death. In this time of high transmission, particularly with the highly contagious Delta variant, it is important to layer infection prevention measures including wearing masks, regardless of vaccine status, and keeping distance.”
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners passed a county-wide face covering requirement for all indoor, public spaces that is in effect until Sept 30. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status unless a medical exemption applies. Click here to read the full order.
Pfizer Vaccines Receives Full FDA Approval
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has now received FDA approval for those 16 years and older. Those 12-15 years can still receive the Pfizer vaccine under emergency use authorization. All vaccine types, including Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are available at Buncombe County Health and Human Services, 40 Coxe Ave. Asheville. Walk-in vaccines are available between Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Go to www.buncombeready.org to learn more.
Additional Dose Recommended for Moderately and Severely Immunocompromised Individuals
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine series (two doses) are advised to receive an additional third dose to better protect themselves from COVID-19. The CDC recommends an additional dose for people in the following categories:
· Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
· Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
· Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
· Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
· Advanced or untreated HIV infection
· Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Individuals must self-attest they qualify for the additional dose by having a condition or taking a medication that causes them to be moderately to severely immunocompromised. These vaccines are available at the Buncombe County Health and Human Services walk-in clinic.
Visit the Find my Testing Place website to find COVID-19 testing locations in Buncombe County or to request a free, at-home COVID test. Individuals who are showing symptoms or believe they have had close contact to COVID-19 should get tested.
For more information about COVID-19 and vaccines in Buncombe County, go to www.buncombeready.org.