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Indoor mask mandate to remain in effect rest of year in Buncombe County

Matt Bush
Blue Ridge Public Radio

The mask mandate for indoor public spaces in Buncombe County will remain in effect for the rest of the year.  The county board of commissioners Tuesday extended the measure until January 3rd, 2022.

The mask mandate was scheduled to expire Tuesday.  It extends to the cities of Asheville, Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, and Woodfin.

In a statement, county public health director Stacie Saunders said COVID-19 cases continue to increase.  "The percent positivity is now consistently above 5% again, and we are likely to see a further increase after the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Saunders. “Transitioning to living with COVID-19 means doing what we can now to reduce transmission and burden of new infections. Our goal is to dampen as much as possible any surge we may see during this holiday season with the hope of achieving decreasing case rate and spread as we enter the new year.”  She and county board chair Brownie Newman are due to speak at a press briefing Wednesday to give more information.


Buncombe County gets a 'red' or 'high' ranking for transmission from the CDC, which is the highest ranking given.  Much of the rest of Western North Carolina has that ranking as well, as only Clay County has a 'yellow' or 'moderate' transmission ranking as of Tuesday evening.  Cherokee, Jackson, McDowell, and Transylvania Counties have the 'orange' or 'substantial' ranking from the CDC.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.