By Tim Gardner
The Toe River Health District, which governs health departments in the North Carolina High Country counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, has released its updated coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers for the week of January 17-24, 2022. And there’s good news to report as the number of persons infected with the potentially fatal virus in the three-county region dropped in two-Avery and Mitchell.
During the time period, Avery County had 239 new positive cases compared to 242 the week (seven days) before. That’s three few cases during the past week.
Avery County includes the townships and communities of Newland, Banner Elk, Elk Park, Beech Mountain, Linville, Invershield, Pineola, Crossnore, Ingalls, Pyatte, Hughes, Minneapolis, Roaring Creek, Spear, Plumtree and Cranberry.
Mitchell County reported 210 new positive cases during the time period and 300 the week before-a whopping decrease of 90 fewer cases the past seven days.
Mitchell County includes the townships and communities of Spruce Pine, Bakersville, Penland, Minpro, Estatoe, Ledger, Red Hill, Poplar, Pigeon Roost, Loafers Glory and Buladean.
But news was not as good in Yancey County, which had 328 new positive cases detected the past seven days, compared to 295 the previous week. That’s an increase of 33 cases.
Townships and communities in Yancey County include: Burnsville, South Toe, Micaville, Newdale, Bald Creek, Cane River, Egypt, Ramseytown, Green Mountain and Pensacola.
Yancey County reported 3 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 last week. The number of COVID-19 deaths in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties combined since August 1, 2021 is 63.
A detailed breakdown of COVID-19 statistics in the three counties from the past week follows at the end of this article.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste, loss of smell, diarrhea, nausea, headache, sore throat and body aches. If you experience these symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and follow their advice. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have COVID-19 symptoms.
Medical professionals have declared that because coronavirus and its variants is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, everyone is urged to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of all respiratory illness, including COVID-19, until the vaccines are much more widely taken. Those include: Stay home as much as possible-especially stay home and quarantined when sick; practice social distancing (at least 6 feet); wear a mask when out in public; avoid contact with persons who you know are sick; cover your cough; practice good hand hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol; and cleaning frequently touched surfaces often with household cleaners.
“It’s all-important to follow the precautions and to stay quarantined if you have coronavirus or any of its variants, if you’re having symptoms of them or if you have been exposed to anyone with any form of the disease,” said Toe River Health District Director Diane Creek. “And everyone should take COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. Following all these recommendations are the best ways to avoid developing this potentially deadly ailment.”
Emphasized points by the Toe River Health District and Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County Health Departments about the COVID-19 vaccine, include:
*The vaccine is tested, safe, and effective.
*You cannot get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine.
*The vaccine will be provided free of charge to everyone who wants it.
*Two doses and a booster shot are needed for maximum immunity.
More information about coronavirus, testing for the disease and the Toe River Health District can be obtained by calling its local health departments, depending on which of those counties in which you reside or where you plan to be inoculated:
Avery Co. Health Department (828)-733-6031
Mitchell Co. Health Department (828)-688-2371
Yancey Co. Health Department (828)-682-6118.