WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week of Jan. 11

Jan 11, 2021

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

(1/17 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 674,637 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 6,811 from the day before.  3,862 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 33 from the day before.  8,083 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 67 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 34,781 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 529 deaths, an increase of 481 cases and 6 deaths from the day before.  

(1/16 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 667,826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 7,986 from the day before.  3,895 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 21 from the day before.  8,016 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 83 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 34,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 523 deaths, an increase of 590 cases and 12 deaths from the day before.  

(1/15 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 659,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 8,914 from the day before.  3,916 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 74 from the day before.  7,933 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 108 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 33,710 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 511 deaths, an increase of 549 cases and 3 deaths from the day before.  

(1/14 5 p.m.) Macon County Public Health has announced that it will be expanding its COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to all week days (Monday thru Friday 8:30am to 4 p.m.) starting January 21st. Macon County also updated its website so that vaccine recipients can enroll online. These expanded services come after Macon County Commissioners approved additional funding for the Health Department on Tuesday evening. The health department is hiring (apply here) and calling for volunteers (email volunteer@maconnc.org). Community organizations such as clubs and churches are also invited to help register for the vaccine. Organizations can email Tammy Keezer at tkeezer@maconnc.org. 

(1/14 4:30 p.m.) Buncombe and Henderson counties are among the first in WNC to open the COVID-19 vaccine to all health care workers and residents 65 and older under  the state's revamped vaccine plan.  In a briefing with reporters, state health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the expanded offering will look different in every county,  depending on vaccine supply and resources. “It’s a really important message, we have less vaccine in our state than the number of people eligible to get it at this moment,” says Cohen. “For those who are 65 years and older -  you could get vaccinated starting now, but that doesn’t mean vaccine is available for you today, or that an appointment is available for you today.”   The  move brings North Carolina in line with new guidelines from the federal government, announced earlier this week, which were designed to speed up vaccine rollout.

(1/14 3 p.m.) The North Carolina Healthcare Foundation (NCHF) has awarded Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital(EWCH) in Murphy more than $120,000 as part of the COVID-19 Hospital Preparedness Program. EWCH will modify the existing triage room, create a storage area and purchase additional stretchers and equipment to accommodate the potential for patient overflow.

(1/14 1 p.m.) Jackson County Schools are sending elementary students at Cullowhee Valley School back to remote learning on Friday because of a spike in COVID-19 cases among staff. The district’s eight other schools will continue on the current schedule. Students who had close contact with COVID-positive individuals at the school have been notified. Those students will quarantine and shift to remote instruction for at least seven days.

(1/14 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 650,926 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 9,853 from the day before.  3,990 people are currently hospitalized (a new high), an increase of 39 from the day before.  7,825 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 80 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 33,161 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 508 deaths, an increase of 464 cases and 5 deaths from the day before.  

(1/13 4:30 p.m.)  Western Carolina University will hold remote classes January 25th through February 12th because a peak of COVID-19 cases in Western North Carolina is expected within the next few weeks. On February 15th, classes will resume as originally scheduled in-person or hybrid. There is no change to the academic calendar.

(1/13 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 641,073 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 5,098 from the day before.  3,951 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 11 from the day before.  7,745 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 107 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 32,697 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 503 deaths, an increase of 267 cases and 9 deaths from the day before.  

(1/12 2 p.m.) As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region, Swain County Schools and Cherokee Central Schools are sending students back to Plan C – fully remote learning. Both postponed plans to return to hybrid instruction and will reevaluate the decision before the end of January.

(1/12 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 635,975 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 6,851 from the day before.  3,940 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 97 from the day before.  7,638 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 60 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 32,430 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 494 deaths, an increase of 403 cases and 6 deaths from the day before.  

(1/11 3 p.m.) Western North Carolina residents are starting to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine.  The Buncombe County health department started vaccinating residents 75 and older on Monday under  Phase 1-B of the state's COVID-19  distribution plan.   Health Director Stacie Saunders  says around 12-hundred appointments have been scheduled so far. “While that is not nearly enough  to cover the current populations in group 1-B and those remaining in phase 1-A, it is progress each week in protecting our community,” says Saunders.  Haywood and Jackson counties are also registering seniors 75 and older.    

(1/11 2:30 p.m.) Western Carolina University’s COVID-19 dashboard will resume its weekday updates on January 11th. The dashboard now features new tools to compare timeframes, populations and other details such as student testing categories. The dashboard can be found at info.wcu.edu/covidreporting.

(1/11 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 629,124 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 5,936 from the day before.  3,843 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 69 from the day before.  7,578 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 21 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 32,027 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 488 deaths, an increase of 354 cases and 3 deaths from the day before.