WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Dec. 21

Dec 21, 2020

(12/27 12:15 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 516,828 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 2,898 from the day before.  3,123 people are currently hospitalized (a new high), an increase of 100 from the day before.  6,549 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 23 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 25,402 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 407 deaths, an increase of 155 cases and 0 deaths from the day before.

(12/26 12:15 p.m.) ***Note: North Carolina did not provide daily updates on 12/24 & 12/25*** North Carolina has reported 513,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 19,419 from Wednesday.  3,023 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 20 from Wednesday.  6,526 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 166 from Wednesday.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 25,247 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 407 deaths, an increase of 1,387 cases and 6 deaths from Wednesday.

(12/23 4 p.m.) Citing concern over the continued rise in Covid cases and hospitalizations,  Buncombe County and the City of Asheville issued a joint order stepping up restrictions on indoor dining and  gatherings.  Beginning January 2nd  indoor dining at restaurants will be limited to 30%,  down from  50% capacity.  Indoor gatherings with people outside of a household  will now be limited to two people, down from ten.  "The two provisions are intended to reduce the situation where people gather in close proximity within crowded indoor environments and where wearing a face covering is often impossible or not used,” said Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman.   Newman quoted research from the Centers for Disease control that found people who tested positive for coronavirus were twice as likely to have dined indoors at a restaurant. 

(12/23 12:15 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 494,511 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 5,609 from the day before.  3,043 people are currently hospitalized (a new high), an increase of 42 from the day before.  6,360 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 69 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 23,860 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 401 deaths, an increase of 372 cases and 3 deaths from the day before." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

(12/22 12:15 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 488,902 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 5,435 from the day before.  3,001 people are currently hospitalized (a new high), an increase of 184 from the day before.  6,291 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 51 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 23,488 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 398 deaths, an increase of 361 cases and 0 deaths from the day before.

(12/21 4 p.m.) COVID-19 Vaccine storage freezers are heading to Western North Carolina.  A statement from the University of North Carolina  system says all 15 of its research institutions,  which includes UNC Asheville and Western Carolina University  - will be getting ultra-low temperature freezers needed to store the vaccine. The statement notes that the additional freezers will increase vaccine storage capacity by more than 1.8 million vials - statewide. In addition,  UNC-Asheville is among the six campuses that will receive mobile freezers to support vaccine efforts in rural and underserved communities  

 (12/21 10:00 a.m.) There are now 94 COVID-19 cases associated with a holiday event held earlier this month at a church in Hendersonville, up from 85 on Friday. The Henderson County Health department says the cluster is linked to a gathering that took place over the December 5th weekend at First Baptist Church. Health officials say contact tracing is underway. A statement on the church website says in-person services and other events will be suspended for a month.

(12/21 9:45 a.m.) There is a newly identified COVID-19 outbreak at Murphy Rehabilitation and Nursing, at least one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.  There was previously an outbreak at the long term care facility in September. Cherokee County has a “critical” amount of community spread according to the statewide county alert system. There have been 21 deaths related to COVID-19 in the county.  

" class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

(12/21 12:15 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 483,467 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 4,479 from the day before.  2,817 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 69 from the day before.  6,240 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 16 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 23,127 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 398 deaths, an increase of 266 cases and 1 death from the day before.

(12/21 9:15 a.m.) The Buncombe County Register Of Deeds office will be closed this week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.  All electronic services will still be available including e-recording according to a press release.  The Register of Deeds office was already scheduled to be closed Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday for Christmas.  It will undergo a decontamination with the hopes of reopening next Tuesday December 29th.

(12/21 9:00 a.m.) Both Mission Hospital in Asheville and Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville have increased visitor restrictions because of COVID-19.  Visitors at both facilities will be limited for pediatric patients to one adult visitor at a time.  At Mission, expectant mothers can have one significant other and one trained doula if requested, while at Pardee it's one partner of a laboring mother.  The limitations went into effect Friday at Mission, and Sunday at Pardee.