Press release from Buncombe County:
Buncombe County continues to see a sustained increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported daily. There have been 1,455 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County residents. Currently, 58% of those with lab-confirmed COVID-19 in our county have been between the ages of 18-49. A majority of cases over the past several weeks has been in this age group. Sadly, 44 Buncombe County residents have died as a result of their COVID-19 infections; 38 of those individuals were residents of long-term care facilities.
The numbers in Buncombe County continue to rise. Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, Interim Public Health Director for Buncombe County, explains this further, saying, “Over the last week, an average of 43 new cases a day have been reported to Buncombe County Public Health, up from an average of 39 new cases a day the prior week. In NC as a whole, 8% of COVID-19 tests performed are coming back positive. This percentage for the state has ranged from 8-10% over the past month. In Buncombe County, for much of July, 5% percent of tests have come back positive for COVID-19. This indicates that we are seeing continued spread of the infection in our community. We should be acting as if everyone has COVID-19 in our community. Please do everything you can to limit your exposure to others outside of your household and practice the 3Ws when you must be out in public around others. Wear a face covering, wait 6 feet apart from others and wash your hands often.”
Planning and logistics for the Buncombe County community testing sites are underway and moving forward rapidly. As a reminder, people who were tested at previous community testing sites should refer to the guidance given to them at the testing site about how to receive their test results. More information on how to access these test results can be found at www.buncombeready.org. You can also use the Buncombe Ready COVID-19 Self Checker, also found at buncombeready.org, to assess your symptoms and get connected to testing.
It is important to know that testing is widely available in our county through primary care providers, community health centers, urgent cares, hospital systems, and pharmacies. Please visit North Carolina’s COVID 19 page, Find My Testing Site, for a testing site near you. Public health and healthcare providers want everyone to focus on preventing COVID-19 from spreading in the first place. You can do this by wearing a face covering, staying at home as much as possible and not participating in activities that put you and your family at risk.
Now is the time to make sure children are up-to-date on their immunizations. COVID is not the only infection we should be worried about. During this pandemic, immunization rates have dropped across the country and we need to do all what we can to turn that around. Please talk to your medical provider or call the Buncombe County Immunization Clinic at (828) 250-5096.
Please take care of yourself during this global pandemic. If you have lost a loved one due to COVID-19, please consider contacting the Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center at redcross.org/VFAC or by phone at (833) 492-0094. This is a resource that addresses the unique challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and can help families who are struggling during this difficult time.
Mark your calendar and tune in at 1 p.m. today for the next Let’s Talk COVIDseries aired on Buncombe County Government’s Facebook page. The focus of this conversation will be Making Ends Meet and Thriving during a global pandemic.
Additionally, here are follow up responses to questions from our media partners.
Question: What percent of lab-confirmed cases in Buncombe County are asymptomatic?
Answer: Around 14% of cases in Buncombe County residents have been asymptomatic. We are not able to differentiate from our data sources those with mild symptoms from those with more severe symptoms.
Question: What number of cases are in those who reported out-of-state travel?
Answer: 66 (out of 1225); some of these were our earliest cases, but we have also seen this number increase starting in June. It is important to note that we do not have any way to know for certain if these individuals were infected while traveling, but the timing of their travel and their symptom onset suggests it is a strong possibility.
Buncombe County will provide the next community update on Thursday at 3pm via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/buncombeGov/.