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”.
As of today, March 25, there are 13 positive cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County. According to officials, 10 of those patients have already recovered and have been released from health care providers. And the 5 out of state travelers who visited Buncombe County who tested positive for the virus have also recovered and been released.
Since the start of the outbreak in Buncombe County, health care officials have conducted 14 tests, 13 of those tests have come back and one tested positive for the virus.
During last week’s community testing sites, over 350 were tested for the virus – In the first two days, 256 people were tested, 5 of those tests came back positive. On the last day of testing 100 more tests were given; those results are still pending but are expected soon.
Over 700 other tests have been conducted by other health care providers in Buncombe County since the start of the outbreak – the Buncombe Health Department will be notified of positive tests as they come.
On March 24, the Asheville Rides Transit (ART) implemented a 10-person maximum (including the driver) per bus that went into effect earlier today, March 25, and will continue until further notice. In order to accommodate this need, more buses will be added to the busiest routes, therefore, beginning Wednesday, March 25, Route 170 until further notice will NOT run a 7:30 am or 9:30 am trip.
As a reminder, ART bus service is operating fare-free for now. This measure minimizes possible exposure to drivers, riders and money handlers. Transit is a critical service and ART will attempt to do what they can to keep their drivers and riders healthy.
ART has implemented preventive control measures on buses, including:
- Riders are now required to get on and off the bus using the rear door only, with some exceptions for ability purposes.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in all buses. Additional dispensers are also placed in the station.
- Interior cleaning of buses and the station is occurring daily at a minimum, focusing on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. For example, cleaning of buses interiors is focusing on stop request push buttons, poles, handles, fareboxes, door handles, etc.
- CDC COVID-19 informational posters have been put up in all buses in English and Spanish, as well as at the transit station.
As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, City transit and ART staff have been monitoring transit usage on all routes and evaluating options in order to minimize any impacts on the system and our riders. Additional changes are likely to occur over the coming days as ridership is monitored.
The police department is modifying patrol response procedures in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect officers, personnel and residents from infection.
Effective immediately, all non-emergency calls for service will be handled by an officer of the phone, according to APD officials.
Some examples of non-emergency calls are:
- Stolen property of a value less than $1000, not including residential or commercial breaking and entering, stolen firearms or stolen motor vehicles
- Minimal damage to property
- Harassing phone calls
- Fraud, scams or identity theft
- Lost property
- Information-only reports that don’t require immediate action
For most other calls for service, APD officers will practice social distancing when providing on-scene responses by maintaining a 6-foot distance from other individuals when possible.
On March 25, the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) announced a rapid response grant round of $25,000 to quickly route funds to individuals, families and community organizations across the LGBTQ South impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With three grant categories, the round will support individuals and families in crisis, projects dedicated to supporting LGBTQ Southerners in response to COVID-19, and direct service providers doing vital work during the pandemic. To find out more about the grant round and CSE’s efforts for providing emergency assistance to LGBTQ Southerners visit Southern Equality Fund.
This grant round announcement comes a few days after CSE launched The Front Porch, a new initiative to provide daily virtual programming supporting LGBTQ Southerners, including community support groups, skill-sharing and skill-building workshops, and presentations from practitioners in their fields.
Applications opened today for a special grant round specifically focused on the pandemic’s impact on LGBTQ people across the South.
The Three Categories:
- Emergency Assistance for Individuals and Families: LGBTQ Southerners are able to apply for immediate financial support of $100. The easy application process is designed to route funds quickly to people already experiencing the health and financial impacts of the pandemic and its secondary consequences, with a focus on people and communities who are at particularly high risk. Applicants can use the funding for basic needs like groceries, rent/mortgage payments, prescriptions or medical bills, prevention supplies, and more. CSE will distribute a total of $10,000 through emergency assistance grants. Gender Benders, a longtime partner of CSE, has donated $5,000 for these grants; the group serves transgender and gender diverse Southerners through support, resources, and activism. Learn more.
- Community Response Grants: Anyone can apply for a grant of up to $500 to fund a project to meet the needs of LGBTQ Southerners in response to COVID-19. Whether it’s a project focused on connecting LGBTQ elders with meals or tech assistance, an initiative to connect people virtually to build community, an effort to address mental health challenges that will be exacerbated by social distancing, or something else, we’re looking forward to reading applications and providing support as part of this $7,500 grant category. Learn more.
- Frontline Grants to Direct Service Providers: Staff from the Campaign for Southern Equality will direct grants to frontline organizations that provide direct services to LGBTQ Southerners at high risk of being impacted by COVID-19. This $7,500 grant category will support at least three grants to community partners.
Southern grassroots organizers working to promote equality, health, safety, and/or visibility of LGBTQ people in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic can learn more about the Southern Equality Fund and complete a simple online application by clicking here.
The county school nutritionist said all hands are on deck to make sure students stay fed.
On April 7 The county will hold a public hearing regarding the creation of “One Buncombe”, a rapid relief fund designed to help individuals and small businesses who are struggling. The program would provide grants and loans through the combined use of local donations from individuals and foundations and taxpayer dollars from Buncombe, Asheville and other partners.