By Tim Gardner
The trend of a rising number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Avery County is continuing.
Avery County Public Health officials acknowledged that the county had six new positive test results of the virus on Tuesday, which lifts its number of cases to 51 as of this morning, July 15. Nine of Avery’s residents confirmed to have COVID-19 have recovered, with the other 42 are active and still suffering from it.
The Toe River Health District governs Avery as well as Mitchell and Yancey Counties, all three of which are located in the North Carolina High Country.
TRHD staff members announced that Yancey County has had 77 positive cases. Fifty of those afflicted with the virus there have recovered and 27 of those cases remain active. Mitchell County has had 70 positive cases of its residents afflicted with COVID-19, with 48 recovering, and 21 still active.
Mitchell has also had one person die from Coronavirus.
Public health officials are working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to those who have been conformed to have COVID-19 to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the cases will be released.
“Health officials from the Toe River Health District and our affiliates will trace and test anyone we identify who was exposed to this virus,” said its Director Diane Creek. “It’s vital that citizens of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties as well as elsewhere assume the virus is circulating and take the needed precautions. Basic safety measures like social distancing, wearing a mask when in public, staying home if you are sick, and regular hand washing help limit exposure to, and slow the spread of this disease. It’s very important to practice all of these precautions everywhere you go.”
Nationally, about 8.7 percent of tests turn up positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People testing positive for the coronavirus are also skewing younger, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Since June 1, there has been more than a 400 percent increase in people aged 21 to 30 nationally testing positive for the virus, DHEC officials said.
DHEC officials say COVID-19 case counts are surging because more people are leaving their homes as businesses reopen. Fewer people are practicing social distancing and wearing masks, they said.
Coronavirus 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 symptoms of COVID-19.
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC, NCDHHS and Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County Health Departments. For more information, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 1-866-462-3821.