TRANSYLVANIA PUBLIC HEALTH
This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, an annual observance in December to remind everyone that there’s still time to get vaccinated against flu. Public health experts encourage everyone 6 months and older to get their annual flu shot, and vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including young children. Millions of children get sick with flu every year, and thousands will be hospitalized as a result. Since flu viruses are constantly changing and protection from vaccination decreases over time, getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent flu. Flu vaccines are the only vaccines that protect against flu and are proven to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
Transylvania Public Health is offering flu vaccines by appointment in our clinic. Regular flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, while high-dose flu vaccines are recommended for people ages 65 and older. Appointments can be made up to 2 weeks in advance; they are filling quickly at this time, but more appointments are added daily. Appointments can be made online using the link below by calling 828-884-3135. If desired, individuals can receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster at the same time that they receive a flu vaccine.
Other precautions that can help protect against the spread of flu and other viruses include staying home when you are sick until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours, washing hands frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can also help keep flu infections from becoming more serious. For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.
New cases in Transylvania County increased 35% in the past 7 days compared to the previous 7 days. As of December 1, Transylvania County remains in the low (green) category for the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels, based on 40.72 new cases in the past 7 days per 100,000 population, 2.2 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population, and 3.1% of staffed inpatient beds in the region in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19. Based on data from November 30, community transmission was moderate in Transylvania County; transmission is currently high in 21 counties in North Carolina and over half of counties nationwide.
VACCINES & BOOSTERS
Since COVID-19 spread has increased during the last two winters, it’s important to take steps now to protect against serious infection, including staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.
The CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older receive the new bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines, at least 2 months after their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or 3 months after having COVID-19. The Pfizer booster is available for adults and children ages 5 and older and the Moderna booster is available for adults and children ages 6 and older. The original vaccines continue to be recommended for primary series vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should also receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of their primary series to increase immune response.
Transylvania Public Health is offering all COVID-19 vaccines by appointment. Appointments can be made up to 2 weeks in advance online using the link below by calling 828-884-4007. People who have received previous doses of any COVID-19 vaccines should bring their previous vaccination card(s) if available.
COVID-19 vaccines are also available in Transylvania County from Blue Ridge Health Center-Brevard Health Center, Gordon’s Family Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart Pharmacy, and some private providers. Specific availability of each vaccine may vary; contact each vaccine provider for more information about which vaccines they are currently offering.
For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, guidance, or vaccines, call 884-3135 during the health department’s normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm).
Testing is recommended for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and for anyone who has been a close contact to someone with COVID-19 5 days after their last exposure. Testing is available in Transylvania County at private healthcare providers, CVS, Mercy Urgent Care, Pardee Urgent Care, and Walgreens. (Please note that Transylvania Public Health does NOT offer COVID-19 testing for the general public.) Additional testing locations can be found at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing.
At-home test kits are available for purchase at local stores and for free by mail and for pick up at local organizations: for more information about home tests, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/home-covid-19-tests. In addition, health insurance providers including Medicare will pay for or reimburse the cost of test kits: for more information about insurance reimbursement, visit https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free.
ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE GUIDANCE
People who have been exposed to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine, but should wear a well-fitting high quality mask for 10 full days and be tested for COVID-19 on day 5 even if they don’t develop symptoms. This is consistent with previous guidance for people who were up to date on COVID-19 vaccine, but now applies regardless of vaccination status. People who develop symptoms should isolate immediately and get tested for COVID-19.
People who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in the home. This is when people are likely most infectious. If they must be around others at home or in public, they should wear a well-fitting high quality mask. People with symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider to see if they are eligible for oral COVID-19 medications that can lower the risk of severe illness, but must be taken within 5 days of symptoms starting. If COVID-19 symptoms worsen after they have ended isolation, those people should restart isolation at day 0 and talk to a healthcare provider.
After 5 days, people who have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medications and whose other symptoms are improving (or who never had symptoms) can end isolation but should continue to avoid being around people who are more likely to get serious illness from COVID-19 until at least day 11. They should wear a well-fitting high quality mask through day 10, or until they have 2 negative antigen tests taken 48 hours apart.
People who had moderate illness (those who experienced shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) or severe illness (those who were hospitalized) due to COVID-19 as well as people who have a weakened immune system should continue to isolate through day 10. People with severe illness or have a weakened immune system should consult a healthcare provider before ending isolation.
The current guidance for people with symptoms, a positive test, or an exposure to someone with COVID-19 is available on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html.
CURRENT MASK GUIDANCE
People in areas with low (green) community levels may choose to wear a mask at any time for additional protection against the COVID-19 virus. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings and may be required by local or state authorities. People who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider wearing a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public for additional protection. People who have household or social contact with someone at higher risk for getting very sick should consider wearing a mask around them and self-testing before contact.
Some face coverings provide additional protection against the COVID-19 virus. This includes masks with tighter woven fabric and more layers, as well as N95 respirators, which offer the highest levels of protection if worn correctly and consistently. Free N95 respirators from the state stockpile are still available as supplies allow at locations throughout the community; call 884-4007 for details.
However, anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test, or an exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask around other people.
As of November, North Carolina is reporting 674 cases of mpox virus infection (previously known as “monkeypox”). A total of 29,630 cases and 20 deaths from mpox have been reported in the US. Worldwide, 82,147 cases have been identified in 110 locations and 65 deaths have been reported in 16 locations.
People who notice a new or unexplained rash or other mpox symptoms should contact a healthcare provider for testing. People who have had close personal contact with someone who has mpox should visit a healthcare provider to help them decide if they need to be tested for mpox. Antivirals such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, including patients with weakened immune systems.
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who may be more likely to get mpox, including close contacts of someone with mpox, people with a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks who was diagnosed with mpox, people with multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known mpox, and people whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as certain laboratory, healthcare, or public health workers. The preferred vaccine to protect against mpox is JYNNEOS, which is a 2-dose vaccine that takes 14 days after the second dose to reach maximum protection. At this time, vaccinations and/or boosters are not recommended for the general public.
For more information, visit the CDC website on Monkeypox.
FORMULA SHORTAGE UPDATE
Some families are still experiencing concerns with finding infant formula. For the latest resources and guidance, visit ncdhhs.gov/formula or contact our local WIC office at 884-3242. To support families during this shortage, WIC participants can purchase more types of formula by issuing benefits for more sizes of Gerber formula and for additional Gerber formula products (Gerber Good Start Gentle Supreme and NAN 1 Pro Infant Powder). Learn more. (SPANISH)
NCDHHS is warning families and caregivers not to purchase Mother’s Touch Formula or give it to infants under their care. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Mother’s Touch Formula does not meet the nutrient requirements for infant formula and is not fully tested for potentially harmful bacteria. Learn more.
(Updated 12/7/22 at 2:20 pm) (Demographic data for COVID-19 deaths will be updated weekly, as needed. Last updated 11/9/22 at 2:50 pm) For more information about cases in North Carolina, visit the NC DHHS COVID-19 Case Count website. For more information about cases...read more
Transylvania Public Health is partnering with Transylvania County Schools to offer flu vaccinations at county schools. Only injectable flu shots are being offered this season, and FluMist will not be offered by Transylvania Public Health for 2022-2023. The flu can be...read more
Due to a North Carolina law, all students are required to receive the MCV vaccine before starting 12th grade or 17 years of age. The vaccine will be offered to 11th graders school during the week of April 18. Transylvania Public Health school nurses will administer...read more
SUMMER AT THE TOWN POOL WITH FRIENDS ON A HOT SUMMER DAY.
A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY LUNCH FOR ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE CO-WORKERS.
MATCHING TATTOOS WITH YOUR COUSINS, JUST LIKE YOU ALWAYS SAID YOU WOULD.
You might not know it, but memories like these are made possible by Transylvania Public Health. We inspect places like public and private pools, restaurants, hotels and even tattoo parlors to help keep them clean and safe for everyone in Transylvania County to use.
We also keep Transylvania County safe by offering immunizations, screening for health concerns, encouraging good nutrition, and more. Good public health is the backbone of a thriving, healthy community. Transylvania Public Health is already doing a lot to keep you healthy. Get to know us – there’s a lot more we can do for you.
LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY.
PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITY.
Transylvania County is known for its natural beauty, making it a popular tourist destination and more importantly, a place for families to grow and thrive. We’d venture to say that without clean water, a healthy population, and a well-immunized community, this wouldn’t be so.
Transylvania Public Health is committed to keeping our county beautiful and its people healthy. We’re a quiet but steady partner in economic development, an outspoken player in community health and promotion, and a valued member of any health crisis or disaster preparedness team.