By Tim Gardner
Although there was only a slight surge in confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases during the past week in the Northwest North Carolina High Country counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties, there was still an average of more than one a day in Avery and Yancey and almost two per day in Mitchell.
The three counties have had 445 total cases as of this morning, (August 12), compared to 412 a week ago. Counts of those afflicted with the disease have been tabulated, updated and publicly released since early March 2020.
The Toe River Health District, which governs Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, counties, released the following details of those positive cases counts:
*Avery County-149 positive cases. 138 of those diagnosed have recovered from the disease and 11 are active cases.
Avery had ten new COVID-19 cases this past week.
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-143 positive cases. 131 of those diagnosed have recovered and 8 remain afflicted with the disease. Mitchell has had four deaths from COVID-19.
Mitchell almost doubled its cases total from a week ago rising from 130 to 143.
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-153 positive cases. 139 of those have recovered and 13 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, Ramseytown, Green Mountain and Pensacola.
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, according to Jessica Farley, Public Relations Specialist for the TRHD.
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 is keeping 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