By Tim Gardner
The Avery County Health Department, an entity of Toe River Health District (TRHD), has released notification today of the fourth Coronavirus (COVID-19) associated death in Avery County.
It is the second reported COVID-19 death in the county in less than a week.
The deceased individual was in his or her 80’s of age and was hospitalized at the time of death, according to the TRHD. To protect the family’s privacy and for legal reasons, no further information about the deceased will be released by the health department or health district
“We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” said Toe River Health District Health Director Diane Creek. “This virus (COVID-19) continues to spread within the communities the TRHD serves (Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, NC) and has the potential to cause fatal results to anyone infected. This is why it is important for everyone to comply with the face covering and social distancing requirement and reduce the spread of this virus.”
According to data from the County of Avery Government as of November 4 (updated once weekly), 734 Cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been documented In Avery County. Those include 376 community cases (regular residents) and 358 congregate cases (at Avery-Mitchell and Mountain View Correctional Institutions-Prisons and other non-regular residential settings). 634 of those infected with the disease have recovered. As of Nov. 4, there were 97 Active Cases of COVID-19 in Avery County. That includes 81 community cases and 16 estimated in the Avery-Mitchell and Mountain View Correctional Facilities.
The Avery-Mitchell and Mountain View Correctional facilities are located in the far Southern part of Avery County, near the Mitchell County line. But since both facilities are located in Avery County, their statistics are counted in Avery.
Also, as of Nov. 9, there have been 294,860 cases across the State of North Carolina, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Included in that figure is 4,615 deaths and 1,169 currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
The disease mainly spreads through the air when people are near each other long enough, primarily via small droplets or aerosols, as an infected person breathes, coughs, sneezes, sings, or speaks. It can spread as early as two days before infected persons show symptoms (presymptomatic), and from asymptomatic (no symptoms) individuals. People remain infectious for up to ten days in moderate cases, and two weeks in severe cases.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The incubation period is typically around five days but may range from one to 14 days. There are several vaccine candidates in development, although none have completed clinical trials. There is no known specific antiviral medication, so primary treatment is currently symptomatic.
Health department and other medical professionals urge everyone to remember to practice the 3 W’s at all times: Wear, a face covering when out in public and you cannot physically distance yourself from others, Wait at least 6 feet away from others and Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water. It is also imperative for those testing positive to Stay at Home until further advised by the physician or a health department official.