Buncombe County continues to see a significant growth in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Since Aug. 3, trends have not improved. The local cases per 100,000 per week has increased six-fold compared to one month ago with current rate at 261 cases per 100,000 people per week. About 90 new cases per day are entering the public health work flow, up from 51 new cases per day just two weeks ago. The current percent positivity is 8.5% positivity rate compared to 7.2% on Aug. 3.
Buncombe County is experiencing an upward trend in COVID-related hospitalizations. As of now, Buncombe County has 62% of our total population at least partially vaccinated and 58% of our total population fully vaccinated. Looking at vaccine rates by age, the highest rates are in those that are who are 65 or older with younger age groups seeing some upward trend in rates over the last week.
Masks Required Indoors in Buncombe County
At its Aug. 18 emergency meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency requiring residents and visitors in any indoor spaces in public spaces to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. Effective immediately, indoor public spaces include business establishments, offices and workplaces, public transportation facilities and vehicles, and any indoor place the public is invited and allowed to enter and gather. The order applies to all people who are at least 5 years old, and face coverings are recommended for all people over the age of 2.
The mask requirement currently extends throughout unincorporated Buncombe County as well as the municipal limits of the City of Asheville, the Town of Montreat, the Town of Woodfin, and the Town of Weaverville.
Worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights are exempt from the requirement of this order.
Click here to read the full order.
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Additional Dose Recommended for Moderately and Severely Immunocompromised Individuals
New recommendations from the CDC advise people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine series (two doses) to begin receiving an additional third dose to better protect themselves from COVID-19. The CDC recommends an additional dose for people in the following categories:
- Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Individuals must self-attest they qualify for the additional dose by having a condition or taking a medication that causes them to be moderately to severely immunocompromised.
Buncombe County Health & Human Services vaccine administration takes place at the Buncombe County Health Department, 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville. Walk-in vaccines are available between Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn more at buncombeready.org. Additional vaccine providers can be found by visiting covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines. In addition, Buncombe County is coordinating multiple mobile vaccine events Aug. 18-23. Click here for details on those events.
Visit the Find my Testing Place website to find COVID-19 testing locations in Buncombe County or to request a free, at-home COVID test. Individuals who are showing symptoms or believe they have had close contact to COVID-19 should get tested.
For more information about COVID-19 and vaccines in Buncombe County, go to buncombeready.org.