By Tim Gardner
Avery County Public Health officials announced on June 29 that three more of the county’s residents have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This brings the number of cases recorded in the county to 14. The individuals are currently in isolation, according to Toe River Health District (TRHD) spokespeople.
The TRHD governs health departments in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, NC Counties.
Avery County Health Department and TRHD staff members have completed the investigation of these latest COVID-19 cases and they have contacted close contacts to those afflicted with the virus to try to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy and for legal purposes, no further information about the cases will be released.
TRHD Director Diane Creek has commented about the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Avery County Health Department and Toe River Health District will trace, test, and contain anyone we identify who was exposed to this virus,” said Creek. “It’s vital that our residents take appropriate precautions. You or the person near you in the grocery store or at work could be unknowingly carrying the virus and spreading it throughout the community. Basic practices like social distancing, wearing a mask when in public, staying home if you are sick, and regular hand washing help to slow the spread. It’s very important to practice all of these precautions in the workplace as well.”
The National Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines close contact as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 infection for 15 minutes or longer and without protection. Based on the information provided by the individuals in close contact, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine, and/or testing.
Creek added two more all-important reminders: “If you have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell don’t wait, get tested. Also, anyone tested for COVID-19, even as a standard pre-operative precaution, needs to stay home and self-quarantine away from other family members as able until test results are received, and then follow instructions according to the test results.”
Five of Avery County’s 14 cases of COVID-19 are categorized as recovered. The other 9 remain in isolation.
The TRHD also announced yesterday that one more resident has tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Mitchell County. The individual is in isolation. Mitchell County now has 36 positive cases, 21 have recovered and 15 are active. Yancey County has 42 positive cases, 35 have recovered and 7 are active.
The Mitchell County case is related to the previous cases through a group activity, TRHD officials indicated.
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). For more information, visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and/or the NCDHHS at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.