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 11 am on May 14, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services tallied 16,507 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. That’s an increase of 691 cases, or 4.4% since the May 13 numbers were released.
NCDHHS counted 615 deaths statewide, an increase of 18, or 3%, from the May 13 report.
Buncombe County announced on its coronavirus case dashboard that the county had 108 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of 2:23 p.m. May 13. Four people had died in Buncombe from COVID-19.
On May 14, at 5 am, DuPont State Recreational Forest will begin the first phase of its reopening plan.
- The forest trails will reopen daily until 10 pm, but gathering areas will remain closed.
- Holmes Educational State Forest opens to the public at 9 a.m.
- Minimal services, facilities and assistance will be available for visitors.
- Parking is limited to Fawn Lake Access Area, Guion Farm Access Area and Corn Mill Shoals Access Area.
- All picnic areas, swimming areas and waterfronts will remain closed.
Other closed areas:
- High Falls Access Area
- Hooker Falls Access Area
- Lake Imaging Access Area
- Visitor Center and office
- Triple Falls Trail and staircase
- Base of High Falls Trail
- Wintergreen Falls
- The area at the base of Bridal Veil
- Three Lakes Trail
- Hooker Falls
- Fawn Lake
- Lake Dense
- Lake Alford
Visitor behavior will be a key factor for providing continued public access and preventing additional closures during this period of phased reopening, the N.C. Forest Service said.
According to the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services, residents who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will be eligible for free viral testing, regardless of their insurance status.
The testing will be available on:
- May 12, from 1-4 pm at the Hillcrest Community Center (100 Atkinson St.)
- May 14 from 1-4 pm at the Buncombe County Schools Central Office (175 Bingham Road)
Although the testing sites are open to any Buncombe County resident experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they are intended for people without direct health care access, people who can’t afford a COVID-19 test and people who have limited access to a health care provider testing for COVID-19, the release said.
Other ways to get tested:
- Check Buncombe County’s digital ‘self-checker’ for symptoms – It can be accessed via a red link on the Buncombe coronavirus response page. It takes about 5-7 minutes to complete and is only for residents of the county who are 18 or older.
- Get tested for COVID-19 is through a primary care provider.
- Get tested through MAHEC Family Health Center at Biltmore, Mercy Urgent Care and Range Urgent.
On May 8, Parks and Recreation staff began the process of reopening City of Asheville Parks that were closed as a part of Buncombe County’s original Stay Home, Stay Safe declaration.
Parks being reopened include:
- Dog parks
- Boat accesses
- The fishing pond located at Azalea Park
- The disc golf course at Richmond Hill Park
- All parking lots associated with parks
- All bathrooms and buildings located within parks
Community members are still encouraged to exercise at home and run or walk in their own neighborhoods instead, a news release from the city said, and to try to visit city parks that are “traditionally less crowded” or visit during off-peak hours.
On May 13, Beaver Lake, the privately-owned recreation area off Merrimon Avenue reopened to the public. Guests at Beaver Lake require a permit to fish, boat or walk their dog on the grounds.