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Coronavirus Cases Again Continue to Decrease in All Three Toe River Health District Counties

By Tim Gardner 

For the fourth straight reporting period, the number of persons infected with the potentially fatal coronavirus (COVID-19) sharply declined in the High Country counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey. 

On Monday, the Toe River Health District-the governing body of health departments in those counties- released its updated coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers for the February 20th through February 26th, 2022 time period. 

During that span, Avery County had 68 new positive cases compared to 109 the seven-day period before. That’s 41 fewer cases.

Avery County includes the townships and communities of Newland, Banner Elk, Elk Park, Beech Mountain, Linville, Invershield, Pineola, Crossnore, Ingalls, Pyatte, Hughes, Minneapolis, Roaring Creek, Spear, Plumtree and Cranberry.

Mitchell County reported only 25 new positive cases during the same time period after recording 57 the previous week-a decrease of 52 cases. 

But on a dismal note, Mitchell County health officials reported two COVID-19-related deaths during the past week.

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 had 42 new positive COVID-19 cases diagnosed the time period, compared to 89 the previous week. That’s 47 fewer cases.

Townships and communities in Yancey County include: Burnsville, South Estatoe, Micaville, Newdale, Bald Creek, Cane River, Egypt, Ramseytown, Green Mountain and Pensacola.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties combined since August 1st, 2021 is 76.  

On February 14th, the Toe River Health District changed the procedures its representatives conduct COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing for the public. All individuals tested will receive a phone call or text message from Community Care of North Carolina. The message will more than likely be automated. If you have tested positive, the message will give you quarantine guidance. If you are a contact of a tested individual, the message will notify you that you are a contact and give you guidance. The phone numbers may be from out of the region. Those called will not be asked for social security numbers or any financial information.  If you get a call asking for that information, Toe River Health District officials request that you hang up on the caller as that particular phone call is a scam.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 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, you are urged to call your healthcare provider and follow advice given. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have COVID-19 symptoms. 

Further details about coronavirus, testing for the disease, vaccinations and the Toe River Health District can be obtained by calling its local health departments, depending on which of those counties in which you reside, are visiting or where you want to be inoculated: Avery County Health Department (828)-733-6031; Mitchell County Health Department (828)-688-2371; and Yancey County Health Department (828)-682-6118.