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COVID-19 Update

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COVID-19 Information for Buncombe County Community


Updated 3.21.20

Click here to see our most recent community briefing.

Update on March 20

Buncombe County Confirms First Case of COVID-19 in Resident


Update on March 16, 2020 to note first case of COVID-19 in visitor to Buncombe County and emphasis on social distancing. 

  • On March 16, Buncombe County announced the first known case of COVID-19 in Buncombe County. The individual is in isolation in Macon County and is being cooperative of all public health requests.

  • It is important that we all do our part to slow the spread in our community. Members of the community are asked to avoid or postpone any nonessential public gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes ANY large social gatherings of 50 or more people. All people are asked to stay as isolated as possible to prevent further spread into the community. 

  • Governor Roy Cooper has ordered all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to COVID-19. 

  • We are actively setting up testing sites where all members of our community who meeting testing criteria can come for COVID-19 testing.  

What to do and when to seek medical evaluation and advice:

  • If you or your child have fever AND cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or an urgent care if you do not have a healthcare provider.
  • Do NOT show up at your healthcare provider’s office or the urgent care without calling first.
  • Do NOT go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve the most critically ill.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and tell them your symptoms.
  • If you do not have a healthcare provider and cannot afford to be seen at an urgent care, call 828-250-5109 to speak with a Communicable Disease (CD) nurse at BCHHS. Leave a message and a CD nurse will return your call as quickly as possible.

There are many different types of human coronaviruses.
There are many types of human coronaviruses. The most common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these common human coronaviruses at some point in their lives. Common human coronaviruses can sometimes cause pneumonia or bronchitis, most commonly in people with chronic heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the common human coronaviruses that cause mild illness.

How does COVID-19 spread and who is at risk?
Coronaviruses are thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Public Health Response:
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always a public health concern. The public health response in the United States is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and reducing the introduction of this virus in the United States to reduce the spread and the impact of COVID-19. 

As a part of our mandated role in protecting public health, BCHHS has plans, procedures, and supplies in place, year-round, to address a range of emerging public health threats. As an accredited public health department, we must meet requirements that include routine training, education, and ongoing policy and preparedness plan review to ensure that we are ready for public health emergencies. 

What to do and when to seek medical evaluation and advice:

  • If you or your child have fever AND cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or an urgent care if you do not have a healthcare provider.
  • Do NOT show up at your healthcare provider’s office or the urgent care without calling first.
  • Do NOT go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve the most critically ill.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and tell them your symptoms.
  • If you do not have a healthcare provider and cannot afford to be seen at an urgent care, call 828-250-5109 to speak with a Communicable Disease (CD) nurse at BCHHS. Leave a message and a CD nurse will return your call as quickly as possible.

Don’t forget flu and basic hand hygiene:
The steps to preventing coronavirus transmission are similar to the steps to preventing other respiratory illnesses, like the flu. These include:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

These actions will also protect people against influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory infections that are common in North Carolina and the U.S. this time of year. Here is a link to some very helpful information that can be used to help inform others of these key steps. 

Remember: flu is still circulating in our community. Protect yourself and others by getting immunized if you have not already. The flu vaccine is available at the BCHHS Immunization Clinic, located at 40 Coxe Avenue in Downtown Asheville. They offer walk-in immunizations Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (we ask that clients check-in by 4:30 p.m.) Pharmacies and primary care providers also offer the flu vaccination. 

Organizations, Institutions, Faith Communities, and Industries:
It is important that you consider how you and your organization are responding to the changing dynamics associated with this pandemic. The CDC offers interim guidance for businesses and employers on planning and responding to COVID-19 at this link

While we encourage you to read the article, key takeaways are:  

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Emphasize respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes) and hand hygiene
  • Perform routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, phones, workstations, etc.)
  • Inform employees to take precautions when traveling or attending public events

BCHHS Public Health Preparedness is here as a resource. If you have additional questions about preparedness planning for your business or industry, please email us at ready@buncombecounty.org.  

This information from the CDC is incredibly helpful to a wide range of community partners. Here is an infographic that can help to inform your planning for COVID-19. 

As a member of the public, I have more questions. Who can I call?

  • General information about COVID-19 in North Carolina can be found by visiting this link or calling the NC Division of Public Health hotline at (866) 462-3821. They will answer your question or triage your concern accordingly.

  • We encourage the public to follow the CDC’s website for accurate and timely information on COVID-19.

  • It is our goal to provide information to our community as it becomes available. We will continue to update our website with relevant information and will continue to offer media briefings and Q&A on a regular schedule. 

Table: News Item Documents
File NameSizeTypeDate & Time Added
Stop the Spread 81 KB 03/15/2020 5:00 AM
Stop the Spread- Spanish 158 KB 03/15/2020 5:00 AM
COVID-19 Business Response Planning 336 KB 03/03/2020 11:54 AM
Public Signage Stop Spread of Germs- Englis 2 MB 03/03/2020 11:54 AM
Public Signage Stop Spread of Germs- Spanish 2 MB 03/03/2020 11:54 AM

Article Information

Updated Mar 25, 2020 12:36 PM
Published Feb 27, 2020 07:57 PM

News List

Locate & Contact

Health & Human Services

Contact

Stoney Blevins
Health & Human Services Director
P. (828) 250-5588

BCHHS Administration
35 Woodfin Street
Asheville, NC 28801
P. (828) 250-5500
F. (828) 250-6235

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mailing Address

Health & Human Services
PO Box 7408
Asheville, NC 28802

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