A year after the Buncombe County Detention Facility expanded its medication-assisted treatment program, Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller says it’s time to put the successful service “in four-wheel drive.”
Asheville residents may have hunkered down for the holidays under a blanket of snow and ice, but across the region, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Here’s what you may have missed over the Christmas holiday.
Following a weekend of consecutive record increases in new COVID-19 cases, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 2,240 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Dec. 6 — the fifth consecutive state high for coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
The collaborative effort is meant to quell community fears and rumors about COVID-19 in K-12 school settings, said Buncombe County Schools Superintendent Tony Baldwin. The first report, shared Nov. 5, identified eight cases across six schools.
The 2,532 new COVID-19 cases reported Oct. 15 marked the state’s highest one-day increase since the pandemic began in March. With worsening metrics, North Carolina residents need to step up and do their part to slow the viral spread, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,428 new cases of COVID-19 on Oct. 8, the highest count since July 30. Hospitalizations are the highest they’ve been all month, and in Buncombe County, viral spread is somewhat higher.
Stacie Saunders joined the Buncombe County Health Department in August to lead the county’s COVID-19 response. Nearly two months into her role as public health director, she reflects on the pandemic and her plans for the department.
After announcing a plan to crack down on restaurants violating COVID-19 safety guidelines last week, city and county officials have yet to issue any citations to area businesses.
New guidance from the state outlines requirements and recommendations for K-12 schools to safely reopen this fall. Plus, North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics are making national news — and not in a good way.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new executive order on June 4 to address the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. In Buncombe County, a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases come from historically marginalized communities.
Public health nursing is all about getting out into the community to improve people’s health where they live, work and eat. It may not be glamorous, but it’s an opportunity to really make a difference, says Hayley McPeters, one of nine Buncombe County nurses honored recently as part of a statewide campaign.
This year’s flu season seems to be peaking early, with widespread infection but lower rates of hospitalization and death than in some years. It’s too soon to say, however, whether we’ve seen the year’s worst flu effects, according to health officials.
With funding flowing to WNC health care organizations from foundations and governmental sources, look for new and continuing programming to boost local health and well-being in 2020. Programs for people on the autism spectrum and children from low-income families who need braces are among the offerings in the new year. Plus, six Mission Health nurses are honored as being among the state’s best.
Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, medical director for Buncombe County, reflects on positive shifts in our local health and wellness culture.
From 2010 to 2018, “Our black infant mortality rate has increased from 11.7 to 15.1 deaths for every 1,000 babies born,” Hannah Legerton told Buncombe County commissioners on Dec. 3. That means that black babies in Buncombe County are four times as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. And since infant mortality is a leading indicator of population health, health officials say, those numbers bode poorly for the wellbeing of African American county residents. Collaborative efforts are seeking to address the underlying issues driving inequities in health outcomes.
Over 100 members of the community attended Let’s Talk Opioids, described as a “community update and conversation on opioid crisis response in Buncombe County.” The standing room-only crowd listened as in-the-trenches experts presented information, including the Mountain Area Health Education Center, Vaya Health, Asheville Fire Department, Buncombe County Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Justice.
According to Buncombe County Health and Human Services, the county had 21 reported cases of Lyme disease in 2018. Western North Carolina is a hot spot for the disease as well as other vector-borne illnesses (those transmitted by carriers such as mosquitoes, ticks and fleas).
The Buncombe County Health and Human Services Department will offer syringe services at its 40 Coxe Ave. clinic beginning in July or August, joining the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville and the Steady Collective in providing supplies and education to reduce the harms associated with injection drug use.
Government agencies and departments from Buncombe County and the City of Asheville are pursuing a slew of initiatives that will reduce the barriers to active modes of transportation like walking, biking and using public transit. In addition to their environmental benefits, these coordinated efforts also promote mobility, health and well-being.