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.

Wearing a red and black plaid jacket, Poet and Jackson County Resident Louise Morgan Runyon looks at a grove of trees.
Courtesy Foxfire Museum

For some artists, the pandemic was a time for creation and reflection. As part of BPR and Foxfire Museum's oral history project Jackson County poet Louise Runyon shared her poetry about pandemic - and her family connection to Western North Carolina. 

She was interviewed by Foxfire Museum curator Kami Ahrens in March 2021.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Dec. 28

Dec 28, 2020
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(1/3 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 564,924 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 6,487 from the day before.  3,576 people are currently hospitalized (a new high), an increase of 97 from the day before.  6,910 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 18 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 28,178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 436 deaths, an increase of 348 cases and 1 death from the day before.

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into the lives of high school seniors all over the U.S - including athletics, where many seniors have been left in limbo as they try to determine where and how to take the next step. That's certainly the case for one such high school senior in Asheville. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County has modified its local ‘stay home stay safe’ order so that it aligns with the new statewide order in North Carolina that allows many retail businesses to reopen Friday at 5 p.m.  

Asheville resident Peter Landis was one of the first confirmed 'community spread' cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County.  The 71-year-old retired journalist was told on March 23rd he had tested positive, one week after he had been tested at his primary care physician's office.  Landis had not traveled in recent months, and said he was not in contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19.  He has since recovered, and spoke with BPR's Matt Bush over the phone to discuss his symptoms of the virus, and what he wants people to know about his experience.  You can hear the whole interview above.

Haywood County Issues Restrictions On Movement

Mar 26, 2020
Cory Vaillancourt

Haywood County became the latest in Western North Carolina to impose restrictions on movement due to COVID19, with an order going into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents of Haywood County and all four of its municipalities can still go to grocery and convenience stores, seek medicines or medical care, order take-out, bike, hike and jog, care for loved ones in other households and tend to the needs of pets, among other things.

Distillers Begin Producing Hand Sanitizer

Mar 25, 2020
Elevated Mountain

As the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to ripple through North Carolina’s economy, businesses and manufacturers are doing whatever they can to stay afloat – and some of them are getting pretty creative.

Find  COVID-19 resources and the latest case count  in North Carolina here and testing information here.

(4/9 4:30 p.m.)  The number of customers permitted in retail and grocery stores will be limited to ensure social distancing starting Monday at 5 p.m. under a new executive order issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.