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Avery County Has Third COVID-19 Death

By Tim Gardner

The Avery County Health Department, an entity of Toe River Health District, has released notification today of the third Coronavirus (COVID-19) associated death in Avery County.

The deceased individual was in his or her 90’s of age. 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 our communities 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.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of November 5, 2020, more than 48.1 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.22 million deaths attributed to 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.