Buncombe County health and Human Services

NCDHHS

More than 24,000 children in North Carolina have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine according to state health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.  The lower-dose Pfizer COVID vaccine got the green light for 5- to 11-year-olds  late last week.   

"The data shows that the lower dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine protects children from serious illness and there were no serious side effects," said Dr. Cohen during a media briefing on Wednesday .

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Several health departments  and vaccine providers across Western North Carolina are rolling out the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot  to people 65 and older and others now eligible.  Buncombe, Henderson, and Haywood Jackson,  Madison, and McDowell counties are among those offering the booster shot.  Meantime,  there are lots of questions about just who is qualified to get the extra dose.

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BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.

(5/13 12 p.m.)

Buncombe County health officials are reporting the first confirmed COVID-19 cases in  long-term care facilities in the county. 

cdc.gov

North Carolina health and public safety officials jumped ahead of President Trump’s news conference to update the state’s coronavirus preparedness efforts.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports

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North Carolina now has a  task force dedicated to help residents say safe and informed about COVID 19 – the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 1,000 in China.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

NCDHHS

Buncombe County Health and Human Services has confirmed the first flu-related death in the county during the 2019-2020 flu season.  According to a BCHHS press release, the death occurred in an adult under age 65.   No further details about the case have been released. According to the North Carolina Division of Public Health, as of December 28, 2019, there have been 10 flu-related deaths in North Carolina residents. 

2020 will ring in a new vaccine requirement in North Carolina.  It's  the first ever targeting high school students. BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

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It's been a month since health officials announced the Legionnaires' outbreak linked to the Mountain State Fair.  

WNC Ag Center

 

Update:  10/18   NC health officials report a fourth person has died in the Legionnaires' outbreak linked to the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher.  No details about the patient have been released.  So far, 141 cases have been confirmed.

@ncstatefair

 

Update 10/16:  On the heels of the Legionnaires' outbreak linked to September's Mountain State Fair in Fletcher,  health officials are taking proactive measures as the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh prepares to open tomorrow.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

CDC

Update 10/10:  State health officials have confirmed a second death in the Legionnaires' outbreak  connected to September's  Mountain State Fair in Fletcher.   Eighty-eight people have been hospitalized.

allbacteria.com

Update:  10/10

State health officials have confirmed a second death in the Legionnaires' outbreak  connected to the Mountain State Fair in September.   Eighty-eight people have been hospitalized. 

WNC Ag Center

10/3 Update:  4 p.m.

State Health officials have released preliminary findings of their investigation into the source of the Legionnaires' outbreak at the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, September 6-15. 128 cases of the severe lung infection have now been confirmed. One person has died. State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore told reporters during a phone conference that fairgoers who were diagnosed were much more likely to report being in the Davis Event Center - an indoor facility.

"The second thing that has come out of the data so far is that people who were diagnosed were much more likely to be walking by hot tub displays when in the Davis Event Center, " says Dr. Moore, "Then a third finding we think is relevant is that people who developed Legionnaires disease attended fair in latter half of fair compared to people who didn’t get sick."

Picture of the Flatiron building, a seven-story building in downtown Asheville with some older architectural trappings and window designs. A tree borders the left side.
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Around one in four Buncombe County residents reported having more than a week of poor mental health in a month, according to a 2018 report by the county's Health and Human Services Department. Finding and affording a therapist are two barriers for treatment, but historically marginalized communities also face cultural stigma and a lack of providers who share their experiences.


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President Trump this week renewed his pledge to battle the country’s opioid epidemic. Trump spoke at a national drug abuse conference in Atlanta.  Here in Western North Carolina, students are working to raise awareness about the epidemic. BPR’s Helen Chickering reports from  A.C. Reynolds High School, where students organized an opioid education summit. 

The chicken pox outbreak at the Asheville Waldorf School has triggered a legal challenge.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(Update: 11/29/18) The chicken pox outbreak that began at an Asheville private school in late October is far from over according to the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services.  The latest numbers show 37 students at the Asheville Waldorf School along with 4 people in the community have contracted the virus.  Health officials are not releasing details about the additional cates, saying only rhat they are connected to the  outbreak at the school .  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a chicken pox outbreak is not declared over until 42 days have passed without a new case. 

In a statement on its website, the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services says based on the timing of the most recent case in the community, the outbreak will continue into 2019.  The state health department says it's the largest chicken pox outbreak in the NC since the vaccine was introduced in 1995.  

The Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services says the chicken pox outbreak at an Asheville private school has now spread to more than 30 students. (update: 11/19/2018 - 36)   And as BPR’s Helen Chickering reports,  the school has a history of high vaccine exemption rates.

BPR

State health officials have extended the immunization deadline for public school students to November first - to give more time to families impacted by Hurricane Florence.  Meantime, in Western North Carolina, health officials are facing a different kind of vaccination challenge – the growing number of parents who are choosing not to immunize their children.   BPR’s Helen Chickering has been following the newly formed immunization coalition as it works to reverse that trend.  She checked in with them in September, during one of their meetings.

Jason deBruyn WUNC

The latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show for the 2017-18 school year, Buncombe County once again had the highest number of unimmunized students, who opted for a religious exemption.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Many visits were easy, following the simple routine of parents bringing their tots in for their shots.

Health officials have confirmed four cases of pertussis, (whooping cough) in Buncombe County. Three other cases have been identified, which health officials say are connected to the four lab-confirmed cases.           BPR's Helen Chickering spoke with Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services medical director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore about pertussis, the cases and what health officials are doing to help stop the respiratory illness from spreading.  

Here’s more from Buncombe County Health and Human Services: