By Tim Gardner
The Northwest North Carolina High Country counties that encompass the Toe River Health District have updated totals in confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and those who have recovered from the disease.
Those three counties—Avery, Mitchell and Yancey- have had 567 total cases as of this morning, (September 18). Counts of those afflicted with the disease have been tabulated and publicly released since early March 2020 when COVID-19 became a pandemic in the United States. Avery County also releases number of COVID-19 prison cases. Those figures are not included in this over-all tabulation listing.
*Avery County-194 positive cases, with 180 patients recovering from the disease. Thirteen (13) cases are active and one (1) person has died in Avery from COVID-19.
The Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution (prison), located in the southern section of Avery County, near the Avery-Mitchell county line, has had 54 COVID-19 cases since Monday, September 14.
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.
*Mitchell County-159 positive cases, with 150 patients recovering from the disease. Five (5) cases remain active and Mitchell has had four (4) COVID-19 deaths.
Mitchell County includes the townships and communities of Spruce Pine, Bakersville, Penland, Minpro, Estatoe, Ledger, Red Hill, Poplar, Pigeon Roost, Loafers Glory and Buladean.
*Yancey County-241 positive cases. 201 of those have recovered and 12 cases remain active. Yancey has had one death from COVID-19.
Townships and communities in Yancey County include: Burnsville, South Toe, Micaville, Newdale, Bald Creek, Cane River, Egypt, Possum Trot, Ramseytown, Green Mountain and Pensacola.
A most positive consideration to those totals is that 481 of 567 inflicted with COVID-19 in Avery, Mitchell or Yancey County have recovered—a gigantic 84.8 percent.
As with all COVID-19 cases in the Toe River Health District (TRHD), its representatives and Avery, Mitchell and Yancey health department officials 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, Jessica Farley, Public Relations Director for the TRHD said.
For legal reasons, no further information about those afflicted with COVID-19 will be released. But the TRHD and Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County Health Departments has, and will continue to 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).
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.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, medical professionals urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of all respiratory illness, including flu and COVID-19. Those include: Stay home as much as possible-especially stay home 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; practice good hand hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol; and cleaning frequently touched surfaces with household cleaners often.
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