TRANSYLVANIA PUBLIC HEALTH
As of September 28, North Carolina is reporting 510 cases of monkeypox virus infection. A total of 25,341 cases have been reported in the US, with at least 1 case in all states. Worldwide, 66,551 cases have been identified in 106 locations; 13 locations are reporting a total of 26 deaths.
Monkeypox is a rare viral illness related to the variola virus that causes smallpox; symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox causes a rash that initially looks like pimple or blisters and may be painful or itchy. The rash will go through several stages including scabs before healing. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include: fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. Some people have other symptoms before the rash, while others may get the rash first followed by other symptoms, and others only experience a rash. Most infections last 2-4 weeks.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close personal contact, including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox, touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox, or contact with respiratory secretions. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
A majority of the cases in the current outbreak are among men who have sex with men. However, anyone who has been in close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
People who notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms should contact a healthcare provider for testing. People who have monkeypox or who are waiting on test results should avoid close contact with others. They should stay home except to seek medical care and should cover the rash and wear a well-fitting mask if they must leave isolation. People who have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox should visit a healthcare provider to help them decide if they need to be tested for monkeypox.
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox infection, but antivirals such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox, including people who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox, people who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox, people who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox, and people whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as certain laboratory, healthcare, or public health workers. The preferred vaccine to protect against monkeypox 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
To support families during the infant formula shortage, NCDHHS is making it easier for WIC participants to purchase more types of formula. Last week, the NC WIC Program began issuing benefits for more sizes of Gerber formula and for two additional Gerber formula products (Gerber Good Start Gentle Supreme and NAN 1 Pro Infant Powder). Learn more. (SPANISH) For the latest resources & guidance on the formula shortage visit ncdhhs.gov/formula.
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.
New cases in Transylvania County decreased 56% in the past 7 days compared to the previous 7 days. Community transmission remains high throughout North Carolina and most of the U.S. As of September 22, Transylvania County was in the medium (yellow) category for the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels, based on 366.44 new cases in the past 7 days per 100,000 population, 5.8 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population, and 4.2% of staffed inpatient beds in the region in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19.
Since Transylvania County is in the medium category for COVID-19 Community Levels, the CDC recommends that people who are at high risk for severe illness should consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions. The CDC also recommends the following actions for everyone: Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation. Choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others.
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.
VACCINES & BOOSTERS
Transylvania Public Health is offering all COVID-19 vaccines by appointment, including the new bivalent booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. 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 828-884-4007. APeople 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.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is currently recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should also receive an additional dose. A booster dose is recommended for everyone ages 12 or older who received their initial series or their last booster dose at least 2 months ago, and for children ages 5-11 who received their initial series at least 5 months ago.
CURRENT MASK GUIDANCE
People in areas with medium (yellow) community levels who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public. 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. Other people 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.
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, including the Transylvania County Library, Transylvania County Parks and Recreation, Jarrett’s IGA, and Sharing House.
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.
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 also available for purchase at local stores and for free at https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/nc. Health insurance providers including Medicare will pay for or reimburse the cost of test kits purchased in stores or online. For more information about insurance reimbursement, visit https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free.
For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, guidance, or vaccines, call 884-4007 during the health department’s normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm).
(Updated 9/28/22 at 1:30 pm) (Demographic data for COVID-19 deaths will be updated weekly, as needed. Last updated 9/21/22 at 5:45 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
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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.