By Tim Gardner
The Toe River Health District which encompasses Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, NC Counties, were notified Thursday, July 2, that Avery County had two more individuals tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) increasing its total number of cases to 20. Six of those afflicted with the virus in Avery have recovered and 14 remain active. Six more residents have tested positive for the virus in Mitchell County. Mitchell currently has 46 positive cases (22 have recovered and 24 are active). Yancey County had two new positive cases July 2, which ups its total to 46 positive cases (41 have recovered and 5 are active).
All of the individuals with active cases are in isolation.
Public health staff has completed the investigation and they have contacted close contacts to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the cases will be released.
The Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey County Health Departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through their local media partners such as High Country Press (hcpress.com).
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported the state’s highest one-day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases July 2 with 2,099 cases.
Hospitalizations across the state are also at a record high with 951 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 2.
Of those newly reported cases, 11 percent were positive among labs that report both negative and positive tests into the state electronic reporting system – the highest percentage North Carolina has seen since late April when the state was doing more targeted testing.
NCDHHS is responding to the pandemic on multiple fronts, including surging testing and contact tracing resources in communities and populations that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
“We are seeing significant spread of the virus and it is very concerning,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “On July 2, we had the highest reported day of new cases and hospitalizations – and that should be a warning to us all as we go into the Independence Day holiday weekend. We don’t get a holiday from COVID-19.”
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. Remember that 80% of coronavirus cases generate only mild symptoms.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, the Health Department urges everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of all respiratory illness, including flu and COVID-19: Stay home as much as possible-especially when sick: Practice social distancing (at least 6 feet); Wear a mask when out in public; Avoid contact with persons that you know are sick; Cover your cough (cough into the crook of your elbow; or use a tissue and throw in trash); Practice good hand hygiene (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing); If you do not have access to soap and water use hand sanitizer that is at least 60-percent alcohol; and routinely clean frequently touched surfaces with household cleaners.
Continued use of these measures by everyone will decrease the spread of viruses and respiratory diseases.
Anyone with symptoms or anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, should be tested for 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 (staffed by nurses and pharmacists 24/7).