By Tim Gardner
Good news: The Northwest North Carolina High Country counties that encompass the Toe River Health District (TRHD) are experiencing a significant rise in COVID-19 patient recoveries, according to data supplied by the district health organization.
Those three counties—Avery, Mitchell and Yancey- have had 576 total cases as of this morning, (September 21), but with a whopping 543 recoveries, equaling a colossal 94 percent. Counts of those afflicted/recovered with the disease have been tabulated and publicly released since early March 2020 when COVID-19 officially became a pandemic in the United States.
Avery’s tabulations of non-prisoners are released separately as community afflicted/recoveries/deaths. The TRHD and Avery County Health Department also releases the number of COVID-19 prison cases at the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. But those figures are not included in this over-all tabulation listing.
Complete tabulations include:
*Avery County-195 positive community cases, with 180 community patients recovering from the disease. Fourteen (14) community cases are active and one (1) community 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 142 active cases.
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-164 positive cases, with 150 patients recovering from the disease. Ten (10) 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-217 positive cases. 213 of those have recovered and 3 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.
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. However, the TRHD and Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County Health Departments have, and will continue to keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases and information about such through local media partners such as High Country Press (hcpress.com) that public record laws allow.
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.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, doctors, nurses and other 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