ASHEVILLE, NC – On March 15, the Department of Health and Human Services and Public Health Director Stacie Saunders posted the weekly Buncombe County COVID-19 Community Update. She began the briefing by saying that “our local indicators continue to improve as Omicron surge continues to fade here.”
- Over the past week there is a decrease in the new case rate by 51%, with fewer hospital beds occupied with COVID-19 patients, and a reduction in the death rate. The new case rate is 54 cases per 100,00 people per week. This is the lowest level since July 24, 2021. COVID-19 patients occupy only 2.5% of inpatient hospital beds and is in the favorable range. The percentage ICU beds with COVID patients has increased to 16.7% yet is still in the favorable range.
- Percent positivity is less at 4.7% compared to 6.5% last week.
- 66% of the total population have received their full primary vaccination series. This is unchanged from February 22 but below the goal of at least 70%.
- 57% of fully vaccinated people have received boosters. This is unchanged from last week.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommend:
- Get vaccinated and boosted when eligible. Stacie Saunders says, “COVID-19 is still circulating and will be for some time. Now is the time to get the vaccine dose you are missing.”
- People with any COVID symptoms or exposure to someone with COVID should get tested
- People who are positive for COVID-19 or do not feel well should stay home and away from other people to keep from spreading it to others
Vaccination sites and testing sites can be located through the North Carolina and Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services. COVID-19 vaccinations are available at the Health Department Immunization Clinic at 40 Coxe Ave. from Monday to Friday between 8 AM and 4:30 PM on a walk-in basis.
The CDC’s safety guidelines and prevention recommendations are now based on the level of COVID-19 risk for each county and its impact on hospital resources. The risk level for Buncombe County is low for the week ending on March 17. A person with medical conditions who are at high risk for severe illness should speak with their health care provider about preventative measures. Mask wearing is recommended for persons with a positive test, having symptoms, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 no matter what the county risk level is. Governor Cooper has issued an executive order requiring everyone to wear a mask in “high risk” settings like health care facilities, nursing homes, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com