COVID cases, rates, and percent positivity remain at high levels

Press release from Buncombe County:

Although cases per 100,000 per week decreased slightly to 351 this week from 366 the week prior, COVID cases, rates, and percent positivity remain at high levels. The percent positivity continues to show stabilization in the mid-9% range for roughly 3.5 weeks. The current percent positivity is 9.4%, a slight decrease from 9.6% in the week prior.

“While it is encouraging to see the case rate decrease, we are just now entering the period after the Labor Day holiday where, if previous post-holidays trends have taught us, we are likely to see a bump in cases,” said Public Health Director Stacie Saunders.

The majority of new cases in the last week continue to be in the 25-49 year old group (38.4%). The most vaccinated of the population, individuals 65 years and older, made up 10.9% of new cases. New cases in individuals less than 18 years old (0-17 years old) made up over 26% of all new cases, a six-point increase from two weeks ago.

Hospitalizations remain high with almost half of all ICU beds occupied with patients suffering from COVID-19. The number of deaths per 100,000 per week increased for the second week and is now 5.3 per 100,000, up from 3.1.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has administered more than 99,270 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December 2020. Approximately 73% of the eligible population (those 12 years and up) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 69% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. Currently, 64% of the total population in the county has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 61% of the total population in the county is fully vaccinated.

According to recent NC DHHS data, unvaccinated individuals have a risk that is 4.4 times that of their vaccinated counterparts in becoming ill with COVID-19. Additionally, unvaccinated individuals have a risk of death that is over 15 times that of their vaccinated counterparts.

“These are not chances anyone should take. There are safe and effective vaccines that reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death,” stated Saunders. “Don’t gamble your health, and possibly your life, with COVID-19. Please take steps now if you are unvaccinated to protect yourself including getting your vaccine as soon as possible plus wearing a mask and keep distance to further reduce your risks.”

Currently, $100 incentive cards are still available through the NC DHHS extension while supplies last for eligible individuals (18 years and up) receiving their first dose of vaccine at the Buncombe County Vaccination Clinic. Individuals can visit the Buncombe County Health Department at 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to receive a vaccination. Individuals can also visit to find a vaccination site near you.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and isolate from others while waiting for your test results. Testing locations can be found at Find My Testing Site NC.

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