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BCHHS Collaborates to Meet Community Needs


Buncombe County Health and Human Services Environmental Health Department (BCEH), has worked diligently to meet the needs of our residents since the beginning of COVID-19. In March, BCEH, in conjunction with multiple community partners, started offering Isolation and Quarantine housing (I & Q housing) to residents of Buncombe County who tested positive for COVID-19 but were unable to isolate safely in their own homes or to residents who are awaiting test results in order to be placed into  congregate housing. While Isolating and Quarantining for 2 weeks after receiving a positive test result or while waiting test results is essential to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, stopping life and staying in an unfamiliar place is challenging; this was especially true for one of our guests.

This particular guest was planning a trip out of town, to her home state, when the need to be admitted to I & Q housing arose. Thankfully, they were scheduled to be released from I & Q housing just days before their departure. Unfortunately, traveling takes more planning for this individual, as they have an emotional support cat that rides with them in the cabin. In order for the cat to fly, she had to get a full vet work up including a health screening and multiple shots. Unable to leave I & Q housing, the owner would have to cancel her trip if her cat could not get the full work-up she needed.

After learning about this conflict, BCEH director, Jessica Silver put out the bat signal to our close partners ASPCA and Asheville Humane Society to see if the cat could have an emergency appointment completed before the flight date. Several email exchanges later and the cat was scheduled for her appointment.

At ASPCA, the cat received all required procedures from their in-house vet and Asheville Humane Society provided the cat with supplies needed to make the flight pleasant, including a vest which is pictured below. Everyone was so excited to take time out of their stressful jobs to help this cat get the care she needed. “This cat is the sweetest little 13 year old girl and a survivor too – she lost a leg to a door some years ago and is a very content, happy little tripod” says the ASPCA. “The last few months have been an incredibly challenging time for our surgeons and staff.  As grateful as we all are to resume spay and neuter services, the current conditions are stressful at best and continue to require wholesale changes to our programs and operations.  This tiny project brought a small breath of fresh air to the team in our external training program. I mean, who can resist a three-legged cat?”

This collaborative effort is a product of an all hands on deck approach to the COVID-19 pandemic across Buncombe County. Buncombe County Health and Human Services has worked to create an interconnected safety net to support the needs of our residents and this is one of the many examples of how our staff and network, have come together to ensure that our residents are staying healthy (and make their flights) during this time.

Thank you to our partners at ASPCA and AHS. We could not have done any of this without you.

Article Information

Updated Oct 09, 2020 04:32 PM
Published Oct 02, 2020 10:30 AM

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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

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PO Box 7408
Asheville, NC 28802

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