By Tim Gardner
Updated Coronavirus (COVID-1) numbers from the Toe River Health District as of Tuesday morning, July 28, for the three North Carolina High Country counties that operate under its regional governing umbrella–Avery, Mitchell and Yancey– are as follows:
Avery-78 positive cases (63 inflicted with the disease have recovered and 15 cases remain active)
Mitchell-106 positive cases (68 inflicted with the disease have recovered and 36 are active cases). Mitchell has also had two fatalities from COVID-19.
Yancey-94 positive cases (87 recoveries and 7 active cases).
COVID-19 graphs displaying its progression and updated information in Avery, Mitchell, Yancey and the over-all TRHD are included with this story.
Public health staff officials continue to work to complete investigations into all these COVID-19 cases and they are contacting close contacts of those afflicted with the disease to contain its spread. To protect individual privacy of those afflicted and their family members and for legal reasons, no further information about the cases will be released by the TRHD.
The COVID‑19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2). The outbreak was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020 and a pandemic on March 11, 2020. As of today, July 28, 2020, more than 16.4 million cases of COVID‑19 have been reported in more than 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 654,000 deaths; more than 9.59 million people have recovered.
The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. The droplets usually fall to the ground or onto surfaces rather than travelling through air over long distances. Transmission may also occur through smaller droplets that are able to stay suspended in the air for longer periods of time. Less commonly, people may become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face. It is most contagious during the first three days after the onset of symptoms, although spread is possible before symptoms appear, and from people who do not show symptoms.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of sense of smell. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is typically around five days but may range from two to fourteen days. There is no known vaccine or specific antiviral treatment. Primary treatment is symptomatic and supportive therapy.
Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing, maintaining distance from other people, wearing a face mask in public settings, disinfecting surfaces, increasing ventilation and air filtration indoors and monitoring and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of infected persons.
TRHD officials wish to remind everyone to wear a face covering, wait six feet apart when you are around another person or more than one person and to wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer to help combat COVID-19.
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 and you will receive immediate assistance.
Doctors, nurses and other medical field professionals stress that is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is from reliable sources like the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources and the Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County Health Departments. For further information, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 1-866-462-3821 (staffed by nurses and pharmacists 24 hours daily; 7 days per week). 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