By Tim Gardner
The Avery County Health Department, part of the Toe River Health District, was notified on Thursday, May 21 that an Avery County resident has tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is in isolation, according to the TRHD.
Avery County and its medical officials has been preparing for this reality and anticipated that its community would likely be impacted at some point. Public health staff have already initiated an investigation and have identified close contacts to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy and for legal purposes, no further information about the case will be released.
Avery County Health Department representatives said they will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.
Also, on May 21 two Mitchell County residents have tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). These two make a total of 8 positive cases in Mitchell County. The individuals have been and continue to be in isolation. Like Avery and Yancey counties, Mitchell is also part of the TRHD.
Total COVID-19 results, released by the TRHD as of Friday morning, May 22 are:
Avery- 531 People Tested
478 Negative Results
51 Pending Results
2 Positive Cases
Mitchell- 422 People Tested (185 tested in the Drive Through)
228 Negative Results
186 Pending Results
8 Total Positive Cases
(Of those 8 total positives, we have 3 active cases and 5 that have recovered)
Yancey- 553 People Tested
505 Negative Results
38 Pending Results
10 Total Positive Cases
(Of those 10 total positives, we have 2 active cases and 8 that have recovered)
The TRHD officers said it’s important for the community to understand that the identification of a case does not change local strategies for preventing and reducing the spread of disease. They ask that anyone sick isolate his or herself please isolate at home. Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste, loss of smell, headaches, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea and body aches. If you experience these symptoms, you are urged to call your healthcare provider immediately 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. Eighty (80) percent of coronavirus cases generate only mild symptoms.
“As our counties start opening back up it’s important to remember that CoVID-19 is still here,” added Diane Creek, Toe River Health District Health Director. “We are blessed in Avery County to have a strong community. Your public officials and county leadership have been working tirelessly to prepare for the impact of this virus. Community members can do their part by continuing to follow the guidelines, and remember that we’re all in this together, and to support one another”.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, the health department officials and other medical professionals urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of all respiratory illness, including flu and COVID-19, which 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 (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% alcohol
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces with household cleaners
Medical professionals around the world have indicated that routine use of these measures by everyone will decrease the spread of viruses and respiratory diseases in their cities, towns and communities.
TRHD and other health department officials also stated that it’s all-important to make sure the information details individuals obtain about COVID-19 is directly from reliable and knowledgeable sources like the National Center for Disease Control (CDC), North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the Toe Rover Health District (TRHD) and the Avery County Health Department. For more information, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 1-866-462-3821 (staffed by nurses and pharmacists 24 hours a day; seven days a week).