While there’s light at the end of the proverbial COVID-19 tunnel, Western North Carolina residents cannot let down their guard. Over the last week, the percent of positive COVID-19 tests has risen to 7.8% in Buncombe County; the county’s daily COVID-19 case counts now average 100 or higher.
The system uses per-capita case rates, the percent of positive tests and a composite hospital score to pinpoint viral hot spots. State health officials also released additional health recommendations for individuals, business owners and public officials residing in high-risk counties.
Since September, nearly twice as many COVID-19 cases have been reported in rural counties as in urban or suburban areas, according to a new report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of these rural cases have occurred in white, non-Hispanic individuals under the age of 49.
A team of Jackson County researchers found that wastewater collected in rural areas can be used to track COVID-19 outbreaks up to a week before a patient tests positive. Now, they’re hoping to expand the study across the region.
The N.C. Medicaid Optional COVID-19 Testing program will fully reimburse Medicaid providers for the costs incurred by testing people without insurance for COVID-19.
Interventions by ‘strike teams’ help manage outbreaks at nursing homes; COVID-19 cases mount at Mission Health; St. Luke’s hastens test results through a partnership.
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.
Starting this weekend, a task force of public health and law enforcement officials will begin issuing citations for restaurants and breweries in violation of COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Limited COVID-19 testing supplies at commercial and hospital laboratories are causing significant delays in results. In turn, hospitals like Pardee in Hendersonville are forced to wait to administer COVID-19 treatment to suspected patients.
Instead of bringing students back to the classroom under the Plan B model outlined by Gov. Roy Cooper, as had been announced on July 14, the Asheville City Board of Education voted unanimously to follow the remote-only Plan C for at least nine weeks at a July 23 special called meeting.
With more numbers than ever, it can be hard to understand the magnitude of the pandemic in North Carolina. N.C. Health News created three charts to help make sense of coronavirus in the state.
In the last week, Buncombe County’s percentage of positive tests has jumped from 2% to 4%. Although North Carolina’s statewide positivity rate hovers around 9%, the local increase indicates a rise in the coronavirus’ community prevalence.
In Western North Carolina, the main regional hospitals say they currently have more than enough capacity to provide care for area residents. But their approaches, protocols and treatment options for COVID-19 vary.
The county, which had previously prohibited all leisure travel, will now limit reservations to “staycations” for Western North Carolina residents with an 828 area code. Occupancy is restricted to 50%, and visitors who are not part of the same family or household cannot occupy adjacent rooms.