North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics continue to move in the right direction, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of health and human services at a Sept. 15 press conference. While it’s still too soon to know how the statewide move to Phase 2.5 or the Labor Day holiday weekend impacted the coronavirus’ spread, Cohen pointed to declines in the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests as a “very positive sign.”
According to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the rate of positive COVID-19 tests has hovered around 5% since Sept. 9, down from a peak of 7.7% on Aug. 31. In Buncombe County the positivity rate is even lower, at 2.5%.
In May, the World Health Organization recommended the percent of positive tests should fall at or below 5% for at least 14 days before governments begin reopening. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also cite a 5% positivity rate as the threshold communities should meet before reopening schools for in-person learning.
According to data collected by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, 25 states currently fall below the 5% positivity threshold; the same dataset shows North Carolina as the only Southeastern state to meet this metric.
“We are making progress, and I’m proud of the work North Carolina has done,” Cohen said. “We are truly a standout in the South.”
In other news
- Buncombe County’s Department of Health and Human Services has canceled its community-based COVID-19 testing event on Thursday, Sept. 17, due to a forecasted heavy rain event that day. The county’s free testing program will resume on Sunday, Sept. 20.
- The city of Asheville has allocated $100,000 of its Housing Trust Fund for a new affordable housing program to encourage area landlords to accept housing choice vouchers. Interested landlords can go to this website to apply and be matched with a tenant.
- The Asheville Humane Society is waiving all kitten and cat adoption fees through Tuesday, Sept. 22. Due to COVID-19, the adoption process is by appointment only; those interested can message firstname.lastname@example.org.