By Tim Gardner
As of Tuesday morning (August 18), health departments that comprise the Toe River, NC Health District–Avery, Mitchell and Yancey– have had a combined 412 public health cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) since totals of the disease started being tabulated and publicly released in March 2020.
Avery County had 7 new positive cases Monday, increasing its total to139. 99 afflicted have recovered from the disease and 40 are active cases. Of the seven new positive cases, four of those confirmed with the disease had been tested in other counties. Those four were quarantined in other counties, and were notified Monday that they had contracted COVID-19. Their quarantines have ended, so they are included in the recovered numbers.
Avery County includes the townships and communities of Newland, Banner Elk, Elk Park, Beech Mountain, Linville, Invershield, Pineola, Crossnore, Ingalls, Pyatte, Hughes, Minneapolis and Cranberry.Yancey County had 9 new positive cases Monday, increasing its total to 143 cases. 115 afflicted with the disease have recovered, 27 cases remain active and the county has had one death from COVID-19.
Townships and communities in Yancey County include: Burnsville, South Toe, Micaville, Newdale, Bald Creek, Cane River, Egypt, Ramseytown, Green Mountain and Pensacola.
Mitchell County had one person test positive for COVID-19 on Monday, which increases its total to 130 positive cases. 120 of those afflicted in that county have recovered, 6 remain active cases and Mitchell has had four deaths from COVID-19.
Mitchell County includes the townships and communities of Spruce Pine, Bakersville, Penland, Minpro, Estatoe, Ledger, Red Hill, Poplar, Pigeon Roost, Loafers Glory and Buladean.
The Mitchell County Health Department, was notified Monday of that fourth CoVID-19-associated death in Mitchell County. The individual, in his or her 60’s, was hospitalized at the time of death.
“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 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 requirement and social distance to reduce the spread of this virus.”
The Toe River Health District (TRHD) and health department officials from the three counties are working to complete investigations and are in the process of contacting close contacts to those diagnosed with COVID-19 to try to help contain the spread of disease, according to Jessica Farley, Public Relations Specialist for the TRHD.
To protect the family’s privacy and for legal reasons, no further information about the deceased patient will be released.
But the TRHD and Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County Health Departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases and information about such that public record laws permit through local media partners such as High Country Press (hcpress.com).
As of Monday, there have been 1,935,472 COVID-19 tests performed in North Carolina. The state has had 145,516 persons confirmed to have the disease and 2,348 deaths from it.
However, there was some encouraging news Monday concerning COVID-19. While the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported an additional 563 cases of the disease across the state, it was the smallest daily increase since late May. The daily record was 2,481 new cases reported in mid-July.
Only one additional death was reported Monday—the person from Mitchell County. Since March, there usually have been several deaths reported daily in the state.
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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. A large majority (approximately 80 percent) of coronavirus cases generate only mild symptoms.
Farley commented: “If you have symptoms such as headache, fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell don’t wait, get tested. If your doctor isn’t providing testing, contact one of the local urgent cares. Call first for pre-emptive screening and to find out what the current procedures are for when you arrive. It’s also crucial to understand that 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. Then they follow instructions from medical professionals according to the test results.”
If you’re a resident of, or a visitor to either of three counties in the Toe River Health District and have questions about COVID-19, you are requested to call its local health departments:
Avery Co. Health Department (828)-733-6031
Mitchell Co. Health Department (828)-688-2371
Yancey Co. Health Department (828)-682-6118
Additionally, make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming from reliable sources such as the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). For more information, please visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and/or the NCDHHS at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.