Employee at COVID-19 vaccination site

Buncombe health staff address commission­ers’ COVID-19 concerns

“We recognize that it’s not a perfect system and the demand is quite high,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County’s public health director, at a Jan. 12 special meeting called to address local vaccination efforts. “We just want to reiterate that we will not have sufficient supply of vaccine for a very long time, so it is likely that we will still hear frustration and concerns about being able to get an appointment.”

Cawthorn with veterans at Point Lookout Vineyard

COVID-19 campaignin­g divides local candidates along partisan lines

Many Republican candidates have continued to build voter support through traditional in-person campaign events such as rallies and fundraising concerts. In contrast, Democrats have largely relied on virtual efforts such as phone banking or Zoom calls, eschewing big events out of concern they might encourage spread of the coronavirus.

Erik Erik Hooks at COVID-19 briefing

State prisons begin moving inmates to community supervisio­n

While specific conditions would be decided “on a case-by-case basis,” said N.C. Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks, prisoners could be tracked using home confinement or electronic monitors to ensure they were adhering to their sentences. He noted that juvenile offenders were also being diverted from detention facilities to community-based programs whenever possible.

Roy Cooper at COVID-19 press briefing

Cooper mandates social distancing in retail stores

The new executive order, effective 5 p.m. on Monday, April 13, limits shoppers to 20% of a store’s permitted fire capacity or five customers per 1,000 square feet. High-volume locations such as checkouts must mark six-foot spaces to ensure social distancing in customer lines, and all stores must conduct “frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.”

State report on probability of exceeding ICU capacity

State report suggests social distancing may be needed through May

“Our current best estimate is that if, after April 29, we immediately return to the rates of viral transmission occurring prior to widespread social distancing, stress on hospitals to cope with rising demand from COVID-19 patients could begin as soon as Memorial Day,” says the report, prepared by a team of North Carolina scientists.

Buncombe County seal

Buncombe yet to receive federal medical supplies

Although multiple trucks of supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile have been delivered to other parts of North Carolina by the National Guard over the past week, according to state Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, county officials say they aren’t aware of any such deliveries to local health care workers.

Stay Home tower in River Arts District

Buncombe’s COVID-19 rules stricter than state order

“Buncombe County is going to take actions that best safeguard the public health for Buncombe County residents,” said Fletcher Tove, the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator. He confirmed that the county’s more stringent rules would remain in place through at least the morning of Thursday, April 9.