In September 2018, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe placed its first needle disposal boxes in its bathrooms. “We were finding needles in the bathroom on the floor,” explains lead bookseller Justin Souther. Sometimes, people would open the top of the toilet tank and hide used needles inside, he says.
The extra allocation comes from North Carolina’s state government, which designated the money for the purpose from its federal coronavirus relief funds. Eligible families must apply by the end of September and can receive up to a year of aid for rent and utilities.
Increase in methamphetamine use in Western North Carolina affects the region’s “misery index,” even if the death rate is lower than that of opioids.
Buncombe County’s fiscal year 2021-22 budget — passed unanimously by the Board of Commissioners on June 15 — includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 of valuation. It also includes $300,000 toward property tax relief grants.
New policies from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction recommend all elementary schools open for in-person learning under Plan A, which does not require 6-foot social distancing between students and teachers. Middle and high schools are encouraged to reopen in-person under Plan B, which requires 6-foot social distancing at all times.
County health officials will move into phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination process the week of Monday, Jan. 11. But as the vaccine rollout gets underway, residents should prepare for limited availability.
In North Carolina, local health departments are not required to publicly post or share COVID-19 data, leaving it up to each local entity to decide if, when and how to do so. And while WNC counties are making vital pandemic-related information public, they’re not all taking the same approach.
Gov. Roy Cooper said the order would clear up legal confusion about whether an existing moratorium, issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, covered tenants who live outside of federally subsidized housing.
Buncombe County Health and Human Services Director Talmadge “Stoney” Blevins gave North Carolina lawmakers limited details about his agency’s decision to place a 9-year-old girl in a drug- and needle-filled hotel room during a hearing on Oct. 13.
Five staff members at Oakley Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the school district’s first coronavirus cluster. Plus, North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics are moving in the wrong direction, says Gov. Roy Cooper.
Confidentiality rules preventing discussion of child welfare cases may limit much of the testimony NC legislators seek.
Despite the state reporting some of the lowest COVID-19 case counts in the Southeast, the White House Coronavirus Task Force continues to place North Carolina in the “red zone.” The designation means state health officials reported more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
COVID-19 testing rates have slowly dropped over the past several weeks, both in North Carolina and across the country, said Dr. Mandy Cohen. But for those who do get tested, she emphasized, state labs have the capacity to quickly process results.
A week into the start of the academic year for Asheville and Buncombe County K-12 schools, local officials remain in open, weekly conversations with district administrators to help manage the spread of COVID-19.
The Asheville and Buncombe County school districts, in partnership with the county health department, have decided how students, parents and staff will be informed of positive COVID-19 cases, should they arise. Both districts will resume instruction on Monday, Aug. 17.
“We’ve got an epidemic within a pandemic,” says Kevin Mahoney with the Mountain Area Health Education Center. Social distancing, job losses and drug contamination associated with COVID-19 have all complicated local efforts to manage the impacts of opioid use.
Based on antibody tests from six areas of the U.S., the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are an additional 10 coronavirus infections for each reported case of COVID-19. Xpress sought to determine if a similar pattern of hidden cases might hold true for the area’s coronavirus infections.
As the coronavirus continues to spread through the community, county staff are conducting universal testing at 35 skilled nursing and adult care facilities. NCDPS is also beginning testing all incarcerated individuals within the state prison system.
Buncombe County has opened two drive-through testing sites, which will be open Wednesday, March 18, from 2-6 p.m. The first site is Biltmore Church at 35 Clayton Road in Arden, and the second is UNC Asheville at One University Heights.
While only two cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have so far been confirmed in North Carolina, local health department officials are working with state and federal agencies to monitor people within Buncombe County who may be infected.
Representatives from Buncombe County Health and Human Services, Buncombe County Emergency Services and Mission Health held a press conference Feb. 28 about plans to prepare for and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the county.