“People are so friendly right now, it’s unbelievable,” says Tim Orson, local mail carrier. Along with expressing their gratitude for his services, Orson says residents have offered him hand sanitizer. “I’ve got so much stockpiled in my front windshield right now.”
Four nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Buncombe County are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, announced Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, the county’s interim health director, at a May 18 press conference. The county has not yet disclosed the names of two of the facilities reporting outbreaks.
No one ever plans on getting sick, says Lucy Ortiz, a mother of six in Henderson County. Four members of her family have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including her 17-month-old son.
Funds supported with tax money from Buncombe County, the city of Asheville and the Tourism Development Authority are being managed by the nonprofit Mountain BizWorks. Because of this arrangement, government and TDA officials say they will play no direct role in determining what area businesses and nonprofits receive public dollars.
Clinical social worker Carol Young Wood has shifted most of her therapy sessions online; however, she still meets with a handful of clients in-person. The impacts of COVID-19 dominate most of the conversations.
Buncombe hotels can now host more visitors — as long as they have an 828 area code. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has announced a coronavirus-inflected legislative agenda, and $5,000 micro grants are available for local startups.
Local resident Nicora Gangi is on a mission to photograph the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s urban landscape and residents.
County officials said Aston Park Health Care Center and Deerfield Retirement Episcopal Skilled Nursing Home both had active outbreaks of the disease, defined by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as two or more lab-confirmed cases in staff or residents. They did not share the specific number of cases reported for each outbreak.
Like most states, North Carolina was unprepared when unemployment claims skyrocketed as COVID-19 cases shut down large swaths of the state’s economy. When the crisis began, no benefits were available to those who didn’t previously work in a traditional job. That changed recently, so Xpress talked with locals who make their living in the gig economy about the experience of seeking newly available funds through the state Division of Employment Security. Spoiler alert: It hasn’t always gone smoothly.
‘I had to laugh when I heard a staffer quip that he never expected wearing or not wearing a mask would become a partisan fashion statement,’ observes state Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson.
Eligh Ros, a dual-enrollment 12th grader at Martin L. Nesbitt Jr. Discovery Academy, is on track to graduate as part of the class of 2020 with both a high school diploma and some college credit from A-B Tech. Early this spring, he was busy with classes and multiple club activities, his sights set on studying computer science or engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York in the fall, when he suddenly found his life upended by Gov. Roy Cooper’s March 14 executive order to close schools.
On May 1, Greg Lowe, president of HCA’s North Carolina Division, shared the Nashville, Tenn.-based health care giant’s summary of its first-year performance with four parties.
Local artist Cleaster Cotton confronts COVID-19 on the canvas.
Local contact tracers describe the methods used for notifying a person they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 — and what comes next. As the state formulates a plan to slowly ease restrictions on public life, contact tracing will be a key part of the strategy, and hundreds of new workers will be needed to help handle the load.
Meagan Taylor and her seven-year-old daughter, Fred, are missing out on hugs and cuddles right now. The two have found themselves forced to face the challenges of the pandemic while living physically apart.
A group of locals called for N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper to lift restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 on May 3 in Asheville.
Yulon Ferguson has been sheltering at the Harrahs Cherokee Center – Asheville since it opened on April 8. “I am a worrier, but I’m trying not to be anxious and not worry,” he says.
The two bills signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on May 4, both unanimously passed by the General Assembly, together designate nearly $1.6 billion for the state’s COVID-19 response and grant flexibility in many areas of regulation.
For women expecting to deliver babies this spring and summer, the coronavirus pandemic has radically reshaped much of the experience of pregnancy and birth. From online prenatal visits to limitations on the number of people who can be present at the birth to uncertainty about the medical implications of the virus for moms and babies, parents and health care providers are figuring it out as they go along.
With 49 years experience as a pastor, the Rev. L.C. Ray adjusts to life as an online preacher during COVID-19.
Recognizing the historic significance of COVID-19, local archivists discuss ways to record the moment for future generations. They also offer guidance for those looking to better organize their family documents during the “stay home, stay safe” mandate.