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Toe River Health District Confirms First Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Mitchell County

By Tim Gardner

The Toe River Health District, which encompasses Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties, has released information that at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, a Mitchell County resident tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is currently in isolation, according to the TRHD.

Mitchell County public health officials have already initiated an investigation and will be identifying close contacts to contain the spread of dangerous disease. To protect individual privacy and legal reasons, no further information about the case will be released, according to the TRHD.

Mitchell County Health Department and TRHD officials stress that it is important to understand that the identification of a case does not change strategies for preventing and reducing the spread of disease. The priority is to please isolate yourself at home if you are sick. Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you experience these symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and follow the advice you are provided. 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 percent of coronavirus cases generate only mild symptoms.

Diane Cheek, Mitchell County offered the following remarks about COVID-19: “It’s especially important to be proactive at this time and there is no need to be afraid. Everybody is worried and their lives have been disrupted. We are blessed in Mitchell County to have a strong community. Our public officials and county leadership have been working tirelessly to prepare for the impact of this virus. Community members can do their part not only by following the guidelines, but by remembering 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 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 stay home when sick
• 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
Routine use of these measures by everyone will decrease the spread of viruses and respiratory diseases in our community.

For more information about COVID-19, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 1-866-462-3821 (staffed by nurses and pharmacists 24/7), or visit the Center for Disease Control’s website for information and frequent updates at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.