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 this morning on April 20, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services counts 6,764 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state. That’s an increase of 271 cases since the April 19 numbers were released. NCDHHS tallies 179 deaths statewide, up 7 deaths since April 19.
Buncombe County reported 47 lab-confirmed positive cases as of April 17. Three people have died in Buncombe County from COVID-19.
Buncombe County food stamp applications are up 1,000%. An unprecedented number of unemployment insurance applications has brought North Carolina’s online application portal down. Many Western North Carolinians are turning to Food and Nutrition Services, formerly known as food stamps, to feed themselves and their families.
Thirteen people have died in Henderson County due to complications surrounding COVID-19. NCDHHS says there are currently four ongoing outbreaks in congregate living facilities in Henderson County as of April 20— three in nursing homes and one in a residential facility. In congregate living settings an outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases in the same facility.
Ashville citizens flooded the City Council with calls to open hotels to the homeless and others in need during the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials say that could lead to more infections. Instead, the city is housing 50 people in Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. In extreme cases, people without homes can stay in hotels, officials said, along with medical and public safety workers. Half of the council’s hour-long April 14 meeting consisted of phoned-in public comments and responses by officials. Thirteen of the 14 prerecorded callers spoke on the topic of hotels, saying they should be open to the homeless or other people left vulnerable.
At the request of Mayor Esther Manheimer, Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball said that medical and public safety personnel can stay in hotels at a “significantly reduced rate” that’s paid by the nonprofit Dogwood Health Trust, which uses money from the sale of Mission Hospital. Local officials explored having people without homes stay in hotels, Ball said, but it wasn’t recommended by Interim County Health Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore.
“It’s purely a voluntary program. So anybody can come in and leave,” the assistant city manager told the Associated Press. “So being able to monitor and check medical stats and temperatures where people were in hotel rooms became very problematic. It was also problematic to be able to monitor to make sure people were not gathering in those rooms in significant numbers.”
Officials have opted for the Harrah’s Cherokee Center, where volunteers are more easily able to monitor the health of occupants. Ball said if someone who is homeless is suspected to have COVID-19, they are quarantined in a hotel while they await test results.
Steady Collective Mobile Outreach:
Firestorm Books & COOP: Tues, 4/20/20, 1:30pm-4:00pm
Haywood St. Congregation: Weds, 4//21/20, 10:30am-12:00pm
AHOPE: Fri, 10:00am-12:00pm, 4/24/20
Pisgah View (across from community center): Fri, 5/1/20, 12:00pm-1:30pm
* Syringes for intravenous & intramuscular (steroids, hormones, insulin) use
Asheville Humane Society’s Community Solutions Program can help with pet care. They already deliver pet food to Haywood Congregation and AHOPE and are looking to most effectively distribute other supplies to those in higher need during Covid-19. Call 828-761-2008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the following programs:
Pet food/supply assistance
Pet behavior help
Pet-friendly housing guide
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (ASPCAA)- Call their Hotline @ 1-800-738-9437, between 8am-8pm. Pick-up is drive-thru only; Do not arrive early; Do not bring your pets; call hotline if you are running late. Have someone else pick up your order if you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus. (Updated 4/14/20)
Emmanuel Lutheran Church is conducting a “Drive Up/Open Trunk” Food Bank for any community member in need. They will be open from 12pm to 2pm on Sunday. Drive to the back of the church and open your trunk. They have fruits, vegetables, dry goods, meats, eggs, etc. Donations from the Manna Food Bank, ALDI’s and others makes this possible.