western north carolina

DoroT Schenk / Pixabay

North Carolina officials say all health care workers and residents 65 and older can start getting vaccinated for COVID-19 under the state's revamped vaccine plan.

Arne Müseler/ arne-mueseler.com

Buncombe County administered its first COVID-19 vaccines Monday under Phase 1B, where anyone over the age of 75 is eligible to receive one. Prior to this, healthcare workers, first responders, and congregate living facility residents received the vaccine. 

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week of Jan. 11

Jan 11, 2021
Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

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.  

When And Where Your County Is Distributing The COVID-19 Vaccine

Jan 8, 2021
Atrium Health

Cory Vaillancourt

As the events of January 6 unfolded in Washington, D.C, Western North Carolina’s newly-elected congressman, Hendersonville Republican Madison Cawthorn, hadn’t even been on the job for three full days.

Claire Donnelly / WFAE

It was difficult to find a quiet spot Tuesday afternoon in the paved lot next to Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir as dozens of people rushed to meet a deadline.

A man in a blue surgical mask sawed two-by-fours. A woman wheeled two computer carts wrapped in plastic. In the middle of all of the action stood 11 white plastic tents. Melissa Strickland pulled open the flap on one of the tents and stepped inside the state’s first COVID-19 field hospital.

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention

North Carolina health officials said on Monday that they are watching for new strains of the coronavirus in the state. One variant of the virus first spotted in the United Kingdom appears to be more contagious than previous versions, though there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or is more deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

North Carolina General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes next week.  After all the campaign rhetoric and money of 2020, the partisan makeup of Raleigh will still be the same.  And the major issue that lawmakers will take up in 2021 will be the same one that seemingly never left the headlines all last decade - redistricting.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Jan. 4

Jan 4, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

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

(1/10 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 623,188 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 8,833 from the day before.  3,774 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 97 from the day before.  7,567 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 142 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 31,673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 485 deaths, an increase of 564 cases and 12 deaths from the day before.  

Steve Harrison / WFAE

The town of Cherokee in western North Carolina has about 2,000 people. There are a few strips malls, a museum dedicated to the history of the tribe.

And there’s a casino. It’s a really big casino that’s getting bigger.

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.

Buncombe County will lower capacity limits for indoor dining and gatherings at the beginning of January, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the county at greater levels.

More than 24,000 health care workers have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in North Carolina, but state officials on Tuesday urged people to practice safety over the holidays as the number of infections mounts.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Dec. 21

Dec 21, 2020
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(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.

David Boraks / WFAE

A new report says global warming, rising sea levels and other effects of climate change will bring billions of dollars in short-term costs to North Carolina's economy and public health in the years ahead.

The report for the Environmental Defense Fund tallies potential costs of climate change over the next 20 to 30 years in eight areas, including real estate, health and safety, tourism and various industrial sectors.

NC Department Of Public Safety

North Carolina is preparing to receive 175,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine next week if it receives FDA approval in the coming days, but Gov. Roy Cooper said he has asked the federal government for more time to determine which hospital and health systems receive shipments of the vaccine each week.

Atrium Health

A Charlotte doctor on Monday became the first person in North Carolina to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Atrium Health. In a video posted to Twitter, the hospital system's Medical Director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Katie Passaretti, said she was the first to get the shot.

"I couldn't be more excited. I feel perfectly fine. I've had no issues with the vaccine," Passaretti said in the video.

WNC COVID-19 Updates Week Of Dec. 14

Dec 14, 2020
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(12/20 12:30 p.m.) North Carolina has reported 479,168 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 6,900 from the day before.  2,748 people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 98 from the day before.  6,224 have died from COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 40 from the day before.  In the 13 North Carolina counties in Blue Ridge Public Radio's listening area, there are 22,861 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 397 deaths, an increase of 461 cases and 3 deaths from the day before.

WBTV Screenshot

Six North Carolina Republican House members are backing a long-shot lawsuit filed by the Texas attorney general that seeks to stop the certification of electors in four states President Trump lost.

Steve Harrison / WFAE

American Airlines and other aviation groups say their employees are critical to distributing a vaccine and should be among the first groups to receive it.

Nonprofit Mission Made Lots Of Profits. Especially For Bosses

Dec 10, 2020

For a hospital system organized as a not-for-profit charity, Mission Health made a lot of profits.

Courtesy of Ben Guiney

Jackson County is one of six jurisdictions in Western North Carolina now considered to have ‘critical’ community spread of coronavirus, the highest such classification from the state.  BPR talked to a doctor who was recently in quarantine with COVID-19:

Dr. Ben Guiney tested positive for COVID-19 on November 28th.  He’s not sure if he got COVID working at Harris Regional Hospital or not. During his isolation, Guiney was separated from his family by his bedroom door.

Gaston County commissioners' vote to authorize $100,000 to pursue a controversial libel suit was delayed Tuesday by "a potential COVID case."

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville City Council voted Tuesday night to accept the recommendation from a task force to remove the Vance Monument from downtown Asheville's Pack Square.  But many questions remain before the 65-foot obelisk is taken away.

WSOC

A North Carolina man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 44 years is seeking a formal pardon from Gov. Roy Cooper in order to receive compensation for the time he spent behind bars.

Cooper Revamps NC Mask Mandate, Maintains Occupancy Limits

Nov 24, 2020
North Carolina Department Of Public Safety / Flickr

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Monday with tough language on enforcing the statewide mask mandate, but little action on limiting business activity that has contributed to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent months.

The newly reelected Democrat said he does not want the state to go "backward" by shutting down businesses or schools. Instead, he's holding out hope that increased compliance with existing health guidelines will stabilize the worsening trends.

UPDATE Wednesday 12:00 p.m. - Hendersonville officials have released new details about the suspect in Tuesday morning's shooting at Hendersonville Middle School. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

A task force appointed by Asheville City Council and Buncombe County commissioners voted Thursday to recommend the removal of the 65-foot high Vance Monument from downtown Asheville's Pack Square.

Blue Ridge Public Radio took home three first-place and five second-place awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that the state’s coronavirus numbers are “too high,” and the state health department has launched a hotspot map system to better pinpoint and address regional surges of COVID-19.

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