Throughout the wake of COVID-19 and practicing social distancing, information and resources will be posted here under “What You Need to Know: COVID-19 in Buncombe County”.
March 20, 2020
According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association along with the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19. But as this is a rapidly evolving situation, they suggest that people with confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has joined the Humane Society of the United States and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement in suggesting community members create their preparedness plans, not only for themself, but for their pets as well.
Brother Wolf has listed some suggestions when it comes to making a preparedness plan for your pets:
- Identify a trusted family member or friend to care for your pets if someone in your household becomes ill or is hospitalized.
- Make sure your pets have identification including a collar with current identification tags and a microchip with up-to-date registration information.
- Research potential boarding facilities to utilize in the event boarding your pet becomes necessary.
- All animal vaccines should be up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary. Compile your animals’ vaccination records in one place with easy access.
- Have crates, food and extra supplies for your pet on hand in case moving them becomes necessary or if the disease spreads in the community and it becomes necessary to reduce social exposure.
- Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions. Including the prescription from the prescribing veterinarian is also helpful in case someone besides yourself has to refill the prescription.
During this time, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue also wants to remind the community that the animals don’t stop needing our help. Brother Wolf encourages community members to inquire about fostering animals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Brother Wolf is also encouraging community members to donate to assist the animals of Brother Wolf. To donate visit their Facebook page @Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. More information can be found at www.bwar.org/ways-to-give.
For up-to-date information about Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s operations in relation to COVID-19, you can visit their website here.
In a mandate issued in the late evening on March 19 by Buncombe County officials, specifics of the closure of certain businesses and prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people have been specified.
- Outdoor gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited, regardless of available space.
- Businesses are required to close – The order specifically names gyms, fitness centers, exercise facilities, indoor pools, spas, beauty salons, barbershops, movie theaters, live performance venues and arcades as being affected by the order.
According to the county, gyms and fitness centers include:
- Martial arts studios
- Crossfit gyms
- Dance studios
- Massage parlors
- Medical spas
- Nail salons
- Beauty parlors
- Barber shops
- Tattoo parlors
- Bowling alleys
- Indoor recreation centers
- Climbing gyms
- Trampoline parks
- Escape rooms
Businesses that are excluded in the mandate:
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations
- Farmers markets
- Food distribution sites selling prepared food
- Auto dealerships
Public Health officials want to remind individuals to practice social distancing and not stand within six feet of each other for 10 minutes or more while visiting these sites.
The limitation on gatherings (10 people or more) does not include:
- Normal operations at medical facilities
- Recovery groups
- Bus and train stations
- Shopping malls
- Office environments
- Child care centers.
- Essential health and safety services also are exempt.
Buncombe officials said the order is part of an effort to “be proactive and save lives” by increasing and encouraging social distancing in the county. “This next week is absolutely critical in Buncombe County’s fight against the spread of COVID-19,” the release states. “These enhanced measures we are implementing now are vital in reducing the impact the disease will have on our community in the long-term.” Buncombe County Public Health will reevaluate the measure March 27.
On March 20, Buncombe County officials announced on Twitter that the two drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites would not be opening that day.
The two testing locations – Biltmore Church in Arden and the UNC Asheville Campus – first became available March 17, and since have collected 370 samples. According to Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, the samples are now being sent to labs for testing and the results are expected early the week of March 23.
But County officials said it’s possible the sites will not be opening next week – In the coming weeks, Mullendore said, testing will focus more heavily on those who are hospitalized, in health care and people in congregant living settings like nursing homes and jails.
“We want to make sure that we are using our resources wisely and that we have them for the long haul, essentially,” she said.
Officials urge those with mild illness to recover at home and to contact their health care provider if their condition worsens.
Testing is still available in Buncombe County through local health care providers and urgent care facilities for those most in need.