COVID-19 UPDATES AND GUIDANCE

13th COVID-19 Case Reported in Transylvania County

Transylvania Public Health was notified of an additional case of COVID-19 late last night. This is the 13th lab-confirmed case among Transylvania County residents. This person has been hospitalized and Transylvania Public Health is working to conduct contact tracing.

As of 5/29/20, there have been a total of 466 tests for COVID-19 reported among Transylvania County residents; 427 negative, 13 positive, and 26 pending results.

Resources for Phase 2 – 5/28/20

The following resources have been developed by Transylvania Public Health, based on NCDHHS guidance for Phase 2:

For more information about Phase 2 of North Carolina’s plan to ease restrictions, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#phase-2-easing-of-restrictions.

12th COVID-19 Case Reported in Transylvania County

Transylvania Public Health was notified of an additional case of COVID-19 this morning. This is the 12th lab-confirmed case among Transylvania County residents. This person has been hospitalized and Transylvania Public Health is working to conduct contact tracing.

As of 5/22/20, there have been a total of 420 tests for COVID-19 reported among Transylvania County residents; 391 negative, 12 positive, and 17 pending results.

10th and 11th COVID-19 Cases Reported in Transylvania County

Transylvania Public Health has been notified of 2 cases of COVID-19. These are the 10th and 11th lab-confirmed cases among Transylvania County residents. At this time, both cases are isolating at home and Transylvania Public Health is actively conducting contact tracing.

As of 5/21/20, there have been a total of 418 tests for COVID-19 reported among Transylvania County residents; 382 negative, 11 positive, and 25 pending results.

NC to Enter Phase 2 on Friday, May 22

Gov. Cooper announced today that we will entering Phase 2 of the plan to ease restrictions in North Carolina starting Friday, May 22 at 5:00pm. However, the rising trend in new cases means that we must be very cautious and make a more modest step in moving forward. The new Executive Order will include “Safer at Home” guidance to limit unnecessary trips. Group gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. Restaurants can open for dine-in business at 50% capacity. Personal care businesses like hair salons and barber shops, tattoo parlors, and pools will be able to open with limitations. Certain businesses will remain closed, including bars, night clubs, gyms and indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, bowling alleys, and public playgrounds. Child care facilities can open for all children. Click here for more information.

NCDHHS also launched an updated COVID-19 Dashboard on their website. The interactive dashboard features an enhanced map and sections on COVID-like illness, cases, testing, hospitalizations, contact tracing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and congregate living settings. Cases and deaths can now be filtered by demographic information (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender and age). There is also a section on weekly reports that currently includes presumed recoveries and risk factors for severe illness for North Carolinians.

9th COVID-19 Case Reported in Transylvania County

Transylvania Public Health has been notified of another case of COVID-19, in a school-aged child. This is the 9th lab-confirmed case among Transylvania County residents. At this time, the family is isolating at home and Transylvania Public Health is actively conducting contact tracing related to this case.

As of 5/20/20, there have been a total of 395 tests for COVID-19 reported among Transylvania County residents; 367 negative, 9 positive, and 19 pending results.

8th COVID-19 Case Reported in Transylvania County

Transylvania Public Health has been notified of an additional case of COVID-19, in a preschool-aged child. This is the 8th lab-confirmed case among Transylvania County residents. At this time, Transylvania Public Health is actively conducting contact tracing related to this case.

As of 5/18/20, there have been 8 positive and 300 negative tests reported among Transylvania County residents; an additional 10 tests are pending results at this time.

Resources for Phase 1 – 5/12/20

The following resources have been developed by Transylvania Public Health, based on NCDHHS guidance for Phase 1:

For more information about Phase 1 of North Carolina’s plan to ease restrictions, including Executive Order 138 and frequently asked questions, visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-guidance#phase-1-easing-of-restrictions.

NC to Enter Phase 1 on Friday – 5/6/20

Phase 1 of easing restrictions will begin Friday, May 8 at 5pm.

The Stay at Home order is still in place, but people can now leave home for commercial activity at any business that is open. Gatherings of more than 10 people are still generally prohibited (with a few exceptions) but people can attend small outdoor social gatherings of no more than 10 people. Everyone is encouraged to wear cloth face coverings when outside the home and in contact with others.

Retail businesses can operate at 50% capacity with cleaning and social distancing guidelines in place. Restaurants and bars may only serve customers for drive-through, take out and delivery. Personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms remain closed. Teleworking is still encouraged if possible.

Childcare facilities can open for parents who are working or looking for work, and day camps for children and teens can open. Worship services can be held outdoors if social distancing is observed. Parks are encouraged to open, but playgrounds remain closed. Visitors at long term care facilities are not allowed.

To see Executive Order 138, frequently asked questions, and more information about Phase 1, visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-guidance#phase-1-easing-of-restrictions.

Additional Cases In Transylvania County Workplace – Updated 5/5/20

On April 29, two out-of-county residents who work in Transylvania County tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Both people are employees of Mountain International on Old Hendersonville Highway. Based on a nurse investigation of possible exposures, public health officials believe they were exposed outside of the workplace. At this time, no other employees are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Leadership at Mountain International notified all employees that a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier today.

The infected workers are recovering at home in Buncombe County. Public health staff in Buncombe County are conducting contact tracing for these workers, while Transylvania Public Health nurses are assisting with identifying any close contacts in the workplace.

In a written statement, Mountain International owners Jerry Gaddy and Bruce Rau said, “We at Mountain International are and have been taking the virus very serious. We have exercised social distancing, disinfecting breakrooms/bathrooms, washing hands, wearing masks, and taking temperatures daily. Due to the virus affecting our staff, we have implemented the additional preventative measures, disinfecting/sanitizing all manufacturing equipment at the end of every day, providing hand sanitizer, and have contained shipping/receiving department from outside personnel entering the building.”

The workers who tested positive were sent home when they developed symptoms and will not return to work until they meet the CDC guidelines: at least 7 days since symptoms began AND at least 3 days with no fever without fever-reducing medications AND other symptoms have resolved.

According to the current CDC guidance, any close contacts of the workers who tested positive (people who have been within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) should self-quarantine at home for 14 days after their last exposure. All employees should monitor symptoms and immediately go home if they develop a fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19, including shortness of breath, chills and shaking, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

To rapidly identify any additional cases among workers who have not yet developed symptoms, Blue Ridge Health provided testing for all employees at Mountain International. All employees tested negative for COVID-19.

“We appreciate the collaboration of Mountain International and Blue Ridge Health in working to protect the health of the employees at this worksite and the community,” said Transylvania County Health Director, Elaine Russell. “Transylvania Public Health will continue to provide guidance and technical assistance as we navigate the impact of this virus together.”

For more information, visit www.transylvaniahealth.org/COVID-19 or call 828-884-4007 to speak to a local public health nurse about COVID-19.

Transylvania Restrictions on Lodging to Expire – 4/28/20

Transylvania County Commissioners voted Monday to allow Resolution #10-2020 To Enact Additional Measures to the March 20 State of Emergency Declaration Resolution to expire April 30. This resolution closed all lodging facilities, including campgrounds and direct-reservation facilities (such as AirBnb and VRBO) with rentals or leases for less than 15 days in duration and allowed county meetings to be conducted remotely or cancelled. Commissioners will consider providing input to state agencies/leadership about reopening state parks and forests at their next meeting. 

CDC Expands List of COVID-19 Symptoms – 4/27/20

The CDC has expanded its list of symptoms for COVID-19. In addition to fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, symptoms also include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Most people with mild symptoms can recover at home. Your healthcare provider will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19, but getting a test will not change your treatment. If you have these symptoms, you should monitor and self-treat your symptoms. Separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible. Wear a cloth face covering to prevent the spread of illness to others in your household. Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces in your home every day according to CDC guidance.

Get medical help right away if you have persistent chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, blue lips, or confusion. Call your healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Be sure to tell the operator that you  have (or might have) COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

For more information, call 828-884-4007 to speak to a local public health nurse about COVID-19.

Schools to Continue Remote Learning – 4/24/20

Governor Cooper announced that K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Private and parochial schools will make their own decisions about closures with consideration for social distancing requirements. Decisions on summer school and summer camps will depend on meeting health guidelines. Planning efforts are underway to safely reopen in the fall, including student spacing, staggered schedules, use of common areas, and sports. Transylvania County Schools will continue teaching, student support, and meals through the last day of the school year on June 3. Information about grading and promotion, graduation, and picking up student belongings will be coming from school principals.

He also announced a recommended plan to invest $1.4 billion in emergency funds, mostly from the state’s share of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The budget is intended to fund immediate needs in public health and safety, education and other state government services, and assistance to small businesses and local governments and would be appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly in its upcoming session.

Stay at Home Order Extended to May 8 – 4/23/20

Today, Governor Cooper announced that we have seen good progress in flattening the curve but we are not ready to lift restrictions yet. He extended the Stay at Home order until May 8 and outlined a 3-phase plan to ease restrictions, based on seeing downward trends (or sustained leveling) in symptoms, cases, and hospitalizations, as well as increased testing capacity, ability to track contacts of cases, and availability of PPE supplies.

As we move through the phases, if trends start going up, we may need to revert to stronger restrictions. At this time, we only see downward trends in COVID symptoms, so we are at least 14 days from entering Phase 1.

  • Phase 1 (after meeting benchmarks for 14 days): the Stay at Home order would remain in place with modifications to allow leaving home for retail businesses (with social distancing and other protocols). Parks would reopen. Face coverings would be recommended in public. A 10-person limit on group gatherings and restrictions on group living facilities like nursing homes would remain.
  • Phase 2 (after 2-3 weeks in Phase 1): the Stay at Home order would be lifted, but high-risk people would be encouraged to stay home as much as possible. The limit on group gatherings would be higher, and restaurants, bars, entertainment facilities, and places of worship would be allowed to open with strict protocols and reduced capacity. Playgrounds would open. Restrictions on group living facilities like nursing homes would remain.
  • Phase 3 (after 4-6 weeks in Phase 2): There would be fewer restrictions on high-risk populations, but restrictions on group living facilities like nursing homes would remain. The limit on group gatherings would be even higher. Restaurants, bars, entertainment facilities, and places of worship would be allowed to open with increased capacity.

For more information, contact Transylvania Public Health at 828-884-3135 or info@transylvaniahealth.org

Guidance for Returning to Work and Activities – Updated 4/21/20

Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms of COVID-19. Below you will find guidance on returning to work and other regular activities after you have been sick.

FOR EMPLOYEES

If you are sick with COVID-19 or if you think you might have it, you should stay home except to get medical care.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people with mild symptoms can recover at home. Your healthcare provider will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19, but getting a test will not change your treatment.

You should monitor and self-treat your symptoms. Separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible. Wear a cloth face covering to prevent the spread of illness to others in your household. Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces in your home every day according to CDC guidance.

Get medical help right away if you have persistent chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, blue lips, or confusion. Call your healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Be sure to tell the operator that you  have (or might have) COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

You can return to work and other activities when: 

  • It has been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms AND
  • You have been without a fever for 3 days without any fever reducing medication AND
  • Your other symptoms have improved.

After you have recovered, continue to stay home except for essential work, to gather supplies, to care for others, and for outdoor exercise. Avoid groups of people, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other individuals, and practice washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You can also wear a cloth face covering when in public.

FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS: When you return to work after having symptoms of COVID-19, you must wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after symptoms first began, whichever is longer. You must also follow strict hand and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. You should not care for severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., transplant, hematology-oncology) until 14 days after your symptoms first began. Self monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation from your medical provider if symptoms come back or get worse.

FOR EMPLOYERS

Employees who appear to have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.

Employers should NOT require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Under current CDC guidance, people with mild illness who are able to recover at home may not need to be tested.

If sick person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in your facility within the past 7 days, follow the cleaning and disinfection recommendations from the CDC.

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other employees should then self-monitor for symptoms. See additional guidance for critical infrastructure workers.

Your employee can return to work when: 

  • It has been at least 7 days since your employee first had symptoms AND
  • Your employee has been without a fever for 3 days without any fever reducing medication AND
  • Your employee’s other symptoms have improved.

All employers should be implementing social distancing measures required by NC Executive Order 121 for essential businesses, which includes maintaining 6 feet of distance from other individuals, washing hands or using hand sanitizer as frequently as possible, regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible. 

FOR HEALTHCARE FACILITIES: Employees who return to work after having symptoms of COVID-19 must wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after symptoms first began, whichever is longer. They must follow strict hand and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette as usual, and should not care for severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., transplant, hematology-oncology) until 14 days after their symptoms began. Employees should self monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation from their medical provider if symptoms come back or get worse.

FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

When patients contact you regarding mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19, please advise them to stay home except to seek medical care and separate themselves from others in their household. You can consider testing for any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected. Please recommend appropriate self-care treatment options.

Patients should be counseled to call you or call 911 if they have worsening signs or symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g. increasing fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, altered thinking, cyanosis). Healthcare workers with COVID-19 symptoms should notify their occupational health program about their symptoms.

Please advise patients that they can return to work when: 

  • It has been at least 7 days since they first had symptoms AND
  • They have been without a fever for 3 days without any fever reducing medication AND
  • Their other symptoms have improved.

FOR PATIENTS WORKING IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS: People who have symptoms of COVID-19 can return to work in healthcare settings if they meet the criteria above OR if they have no fever without fever-reducing medicines AND improvement in other symptoms AND two consecutive negative tests collected at least 24 hours apart. Patients with lab-confirmed COVID-19 without symptoms should be excluded from work for 10 days from their first positive COVID-19 test, unless they have developed symptoms since the test. All healthcare workers must follow return to work practices and restrictions. For more information, see guidance for healthcare workers returning to work from the CDC.

For more information, contact Transylvania Public Health at 828-884-3135 or info@transylvaniahealth.org

Additional Case of COVID-19 Reported – 4/17/20

Transylvania Public Health was notified of another case of COVID-19 in a Transylvania County resident, for a total of 7 cases. The person is isolating at home and communicable disease nurses have completed contact tracing.

As of today, Transylvania County has been notified of 115 tests for COVID-19: 7 positive, 107 negative, and 1 pending results. We know that the current numbers of lab-confirmed cases do not represent everyone with the virus in our community, since testing is not recommended at this time for people with mild symptoms. 

Public health officials continue to recommend preventative measures to limit the spread in our community, including staying at home to the extent possible, limiting group sizes, maintaining 6 feet of distance between other people, washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with a product that destroys human coronaviruses. Cloth face coverings are recommended by the CDC for use in public settings. Visit the CDC website for more guidance about face coverings.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), stay at home, isolate yourself from others as much as possible, and self-treat symptoms. If you experience trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, blue lips, or confusion, call your healthcare provider or dial 911.

To speak with a local public health nurse about COVID-19, call 884-4007. 

Steps to Ease Restrictions – 4/16/20

Thank you for all you’re doing to help slow the spread in North Carolina. We know that many people are eager to see things get back to “normal.”

In North Carolina, decisions to ease stay-at-home orders will be based on increased availability of tests to diagnose COVID-19; increased capacity to track contacts of people who are diagnosed with COVID-19; and trends showing a reduction in the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the virus. Restrictions will not disappear all at once, but will happen with incremental changes over time. Click here for more details about North Carolina’s plan.

Nationally, President Trump presented a three-phased approach to help state and local officials make decisions about reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. Areas can move into each phase to lessen restrictions when there have been fewer symptoms and cases for 14 days and have capacity for treating all patients and testing healthcare workers. In all phases, everyone should continue to practice good hygiene, stay home when sick, and follow state and CDC guidance. View the White House guidance here.

Support for Mental Health and Resilience – 4/10/20

In this time of change, it’s common to feel stressed or anxious. It may be especially hard for people who already manage feelings of anxiety or emotional distress. Recognizing how you’re feeling can help you care for yourself, manage your stress and cope with difficult situations. Even when you don’t have full control of a situation, there are things you can do. Here are some tips from NAMI on ways to stay informed, take action, maintain healthy social connections, and find resources for support.

Be selective about how you consume news. It’s generally a good idea to stay engaged and informed, but watching or listening to the same news constantly can increase stress. Set limits on when and for how long you consume news and information, including through social media. Always verify sources and make sure they are reputable, especially before sharing anything.

Follow healthy daily routines as much as possible. Simple actions–like making your bed and getting dressed–can help you feel more in control of your own well-being. Remember to prioritize sleep, hygiene (especially handwashing), and eating nutritious food.

Take care of yourself through exercise and movement. You may be less physically active than usual. It’s important to keep movement as part of your daily life, whether it’s exercise or light movement like stretching and making sure you’re not sitting down too long. Physical activity is a great way to care for your body and improve your mental health by releasing chemicals that help us better manage stress and anxiety. Many ways to move more are free, don’t require any equipment, and can be done at home, such as walking, dancing to music, working in the yard, or free videos online.

Practice relaxing in the present moment. Mindfulness involves focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It can reduce your stress and may help people manage some mental health symptoms. There are many types of meditation, but mostly they involve finding a quiet, comfortable place where you can observe your thoughts and focus on your breath. It can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Breathing exercises often involve controlling and slowing your breath. It can help calm your body and your mind and may be especially helpful in managing feelings of anxiety and panic. Grounding exercises can help you notice the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations around you rather than being absorbed in your thoughts. There are lots of online resources to help you try some of these techniques.

Do meaningful things with your free time. When you can, do things that you enjoy and that help you relax, like reading a book, learning a new skill, creating art, journaling, playing games or puzzles, cooking, gardening, or doing tasks around your home.

Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks. Physical distancing (also called social distancing) can change how you usually interact with people you care about. There are many ways you can build a feeling of connection, even if you can’t see people in person or go places you usually would, such as regular phone calls, emails, social media contacts, video calls, virtual activities, offering to help if you can, and asking for help when you need it.

Connect to a spiritual or religious community. Connecting with a spiritual or religious community can be helpful to find strength and consolation in times of distress, loss, grief and bereavement.

Find a mental health community. Being in contact with people who can relate to your experiences can be helpful. It can help you learn information, find resources that suit you and feel supported by people who understand. While you may not have in-person access to support groups, mental health providers, and other support systems, there are online resources that can help. Explore online support communities from NAMI, 7 Cups, Emotions Anonymous, Support Groups Central, The Tribe, For Like Minds, 18percent, or Psych Central.

There are also many resources available by phone and text:

  • The Hope4NC Helpline at 855-587-3463 is available 24/7 and connects North Carolinians to additional mental health and resilience supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis, in partnership with all seven of the state’s LME/MCOs and REAL Crisis Intervention Inc. in Greenville, NC.
  • The Hope4Healers Helpline at 919-226-2002 provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response, in partnership with the North Carolina Psychological Foundation. Hope4Healers is available 24/7; callers will be contacted quickly by a licensed mental health professional for follow-up.
  • United Healthcare’s free emotional support helpline at 866-342-6892 is available 24/7 for anyone dealing with stress or anxiety related to COVID-19, regardless of insurance.
  • The NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) is available Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET for mental health resources or email info@nami.org. For those in crisis, text NAMI to 741741 to chat with a trained crisis counselor.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24/7 to speak with a trained crisis counselor if you or someone you know is in crisis, whether they are considering suicide or not.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or text LOVEIS or AMORES to 22522 offers 24/7 confidential support for people experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
  • RAINN‘s safe and confidential sexual assault hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) is available 24/7 to connect individuals to a local service provider who can provide a variety of free resources.

New NC Executive Orders – 4/9/20

On April 8, Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order 130, which provides more access to health care beds and equipment, expands the pool of health care workers, and orders essential childcare services for workers responding to the crisis. On April 9, he signed Executive Order 131, which adds new social distancing policies for retail stores, mandatory protective measures for long-term care facilities, and eliminates hurdles to processing unemployment claims. View NC Executive Orders.

Additional Case of COVID-19 in Transylvania County – 4/7/20

Transylvania Public Health has been notified of another case of COVID-19 in a county resident. This is the 6th case in Transylvania County. The person is isolating at home.

At this time, Transylvania County has been notified of 96 tests for COVID-19: 6 positive, 75 negative, 13 pending, and 2 cancelled by the lab.

Public health officials continue to recommend preventative measures to limit the spread in our community, including staying at home to the extent possible, limiting group sizes, maintaining 6 feet of distance between other people, washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with a product that destroys human coronaviruses. Cloth face coverings can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Visit the CDC website for more guidance about face coverings.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), stay at home, isolate yourself from others as much as possible, and self-treat symptoms. To speak with a local public health nurse about COVID-19, call 884-4007. If you experience trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, blue lips, or confusion, call your healthcare provider or dial 911.

New CDC Guidance on Face Coverings – 4/4/20

Today, the CDC announced updated guidance recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This change comes after recent studies have shown that people who do not have symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

Face masks can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. If you choose to wear a face covering, please follow these guidelines:

  • People can use simple cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. If you want to make your own mask, use a tightly-woven cotton or a non-woven breathable fabric. Many patterns and instructions are available online if you want to sew a mask.
  • DO NOT wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
  • Cloth face coverings should be worn over your mouth and nose. They should fit snugly across the bridge of your nose and your cheeks. The purpose is to capture droplets that come out as you cough, sneeze, talk, and breathe.
  • Avoid touching the front or the inside of the face covering. Avoid touching the parts of your face covered by the face covering.
  • Change the face covering when it becomes wet.
  • Remove the face covering by untying or remove the ear loops and holding the face covering by the straps. Wash your hands before and after removing the face covering.
  • Clean any surface where you have laid the face covering down, as it may spread virus particles to any surfaces it touches.
  • Wash cloth face coverings in a washing machine with hot water and completely dry on medium or high heat.​ Wash your hands after laundering the face covering.

In addition, you should continue to take the following precautions at all times:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Avoid groups and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before and after encounters with other individuals or touching surfaces that are
    touched often such as doorknobs, tables, light switches and faucets.
  • Avoid face to face interactions with individuals with signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection, including fever, cough and sore throat.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.

How You Can Help – 4/3/20

While you stay home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, here are some ways you can help make a difference.

Donate Supplies. Vendors and manufacturers can donate medical supplies and personal protective equipment to aid the state’s response. Send an email with your company’s information to VendorHelp.COVID19@dhhs.nc.gov. In Transylvania County, you can drop off donations at the Transylvania County Library.

Support Food Banks. North Carolina food banks are in desperate need of donations. Visit feedingthecarolinas.org or contact Transylvania County’s Hunger Coalition to learn how to give to food bank near you.

Give Blood. Healthy, eligible blood donors are encouraged to find opportunities to give blood to help support a stable blood supply throughout the pandemic. Consider scheduling an appointment today.

Volunteer as a Health Care Worker. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen has called for volunteer health care workers. You can register through the State Medical Response System as clinical, clinical support or non-clinical support volunteers.

Updated Risk Assessment Guidance from CDC – 4/1/20

The CDC recently updated its guidance for risk assessment for COVID-19 based on increased community transmission in many parts of the county and the growing evidence of transmission risk from people without symptoms or before symptoms start.

Household members and other close contacts of people who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and monitor their own symptoms for 14 days after the sick person has recovered.

  • Close contacts include:
    • household members
    • intimate partners
    • someone providing care in a household without using recommended infection control precautions
    • someone who had close contact (less than 6 feet) for a prolonged period of time (more than 10 minutes)
  • Sick with COVID-19 includes:
    • people who have tested positive
    • people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Exposure timing:
    • from 48 hours before the sick person’s symptoms began
    • until the sick person meets criteria for discontinuing home isolation (at least 7 days since symptoms began AND 3 days with no fever AND other symptoms getting better)
  • What to do:
    • Stay home until 14 days after your last exposure to a sick person
    • Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others at all times
    • Self-monitor for symptoms: check temperature twice a day and watch for fever, cough, or shortness of breath
    • Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness (unless they live in the same home and had same exposure)
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

All US residents should recognize the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 in the community.

  • Everyone should:
    • Be alert for symptoms: watch for fever, cough, or shortness of breath and take temperature if symptoms develop
    • Practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet of distance from others and staying out of crowded places
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

Additional Cases in Transylvania County  – 3/31/20

Two additional cases of COVID-19 in Transylvania County residents were reported to the state on March 31. The cases are under investigation at this time by local public health.

Changes to COVID-19 Surveillance in NC – 3/31/20

To get a more complete picture of COVID-19 in our state, North Carolina plans to use evidence-based surveillance tools, including what is known as syndromic surveillance. Syndromic surveillance refers to tools that gather information about patients’ symptoms (such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath) and do not rely only on laboratory testing.

In North Carolina, as well as in other states and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health scientists are modifying existing surveillance tools for COVID-19. These tools have been used for decades to track influenza annually and during seasonal epidemics and pandemics. These include the following:  

  • The Influenza-Like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet). ILINet is a network of clinical sites across the country, including in North Carolina, that is coordinated by the CDC. ILINet sites report data each week on fever and respiratory illness in their patients. They also submit samples (swabs) from a subset of patients for laboratory testing at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. This network will now test for COVID-19 in addition to influenza. 
  • Emergency department (ED) surveillance based on symptoms (syndromic). In North Carolina, we receive ED data in near real-time from all 126 hospitals in the state using the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT). This is an effective way to track respiratory illness, including COVID-19. Specifically, we will use NC DETECT to track trends in respiratory illness across the state and over time.  
  • Data on severe illnesses. Public health scientists will use a variety of sources to track hospitalizations related to COVID-19. These include data reported directly by hospitals (including current numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19) and more detailed data from a network of epidemiologists in the state’s largest healthcare systems (including total hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions for respiratory illness).  Deaths due to COVID-19 have also been added to the list of conditions that physicians are required to report in North Carolina.

North Carolina will continue to track and post the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Physicians and laboratories are required to report all positive tests results must be reported to the state. However, it is important to recognize that there are many people with COVID-19 who will not be included in daily counts of laboratory-confirmed cases, including:

  1. People who had minimal or no symptoms and were not tested.
  2. People who had symptoms but did not seek medical care.
  3. People who sought medical care but were not tested.
  4. People with COVID-19 in whom the virus was not detected by testing.

Therefore, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases through testing will increasingly provide a limited picture of the spread of infections in the state as COVID-19 becomes more widespread and the number of people in the first three groups above increases.

County Buildings to Close Monday – 3/28/20

Access to Transylvania County Government buildings will be restricted to the general public starting Monday, March 30. This applies to the Community Services, Election Center, Animal Services, Tax and Register of Deeds, and Administration buildings.  The main entrance doors will be locked and anyone needing services from departments in those buildings will be directed to call the appropriate department for guidance. 

  • For Public Health, including administration, women’s health, birth control, STDs, and immunizations, call 828-884-3135.
  • For Environmental Health, call 828-884-3139.
  • For WIC Services, call 828-884-1753.
  • For Vital Records, call 828-884-1743.

To speak with a public health nurse about COVID-19, call the TPH nurseline at 828-884-4007.

 

Statewide Stay at Home Order – 3/28/20

Thank you to everyone that has been working hard to help slow the spread of COVID-19 illness within our community. We understand that this can be inconvenient, frustrating, and costly, but we also know that these efforts do work. We appreciate the sacrifices that you’re making to keep yourself and others safe.

On Friday, the governor issued a Stay At Home order for the entire state of North Carolina that will go into effect on Monday, March 30 at 5 pm. Everyone in North Carolina is ordered to stay home except for work at essential businesses and for essential activities such as getting food and medicine, health and safety, and to help others. It bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other. This is a mandatory order that will remain in effect until April 29, but can be extended.

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations that are deemed essential as defined by the Order do not need any documentation from the State to continue operations. See Executive Order 121 and Guidance Document for the list of essential businesses. Employees are not required to have specific documentation to report to work under this Order. Businesses that were closed under previous executive orders 118 (dine-in at restaurants and bars) and 120 (entertainment and personal care) shall remain closed. Other non-essential businesses must close by Monday at 5 pm.  Non-essential businesses are still allowed to continue minimum basic operations, but must comply with social distancing requirements. Businesses are encouraged to get social distancing and telework plans in place immediately.

At this time, Transylvania County has not further restricted travel or ordered business closures beyond the state guidance. We will keep you informed of any changes to county restrictions and any steps you need to take.

Essential businesses and non-profit organizations that are allowed to continue operating must abide by the mass gathering and social distancing requirements: no more than 10 people gathered in any indoor or outdoor space, maintaining at least a six foot distance from other individuals, washing hands using soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible.

Third Case Reported in Transylvania County – 3/27/20

Transylvania Public Health was notified of a third case of COVID-19 in a county resident. This patient is isolated at home. Communicable disease nurses are contacting people who had close contact with this person.

Public health officials continue to recommend preventative measures to limit the spread in our community, including staying at home to the extent possible, limiting group sizes, maintaining 6 feet of distance between other people, washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with a product that destroys human coronaviruses.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), stay at home, isolate yourself from others as much as possible, and self-treat symptoms. Testing for mild symptoms is not recommended at this time. Call your provider is you have concerns about your symptoms, or if you are in a group at higher risk for severe illness. If you experience worsening shortness of breath, trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion, or blue lips, call 911. To speak with a public health nurse about COVID-19, call 828-884-4007.

Stay Home, Save Lives – 3/27/20

If you think you might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the best thing you can do is stay home and recover.

When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to others like critical health care workers and people at high risk for severe illness. Staying home really can help save lives. 

This new fact sheet from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services can help you know what to do if you are sick.

If you who have COVID-19 or believe you might have it, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible.

Testing is not recommended for people with mild symptoms. When people with mild illness leave their homes to get tested, they could expose themselves to COVID-19 if they do not already have it. If they do have COVID-19, they can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk and health care providers who will be needed to care for people with more severe illness. In addition, because there is no treatment for COVID-19, a test will not change what someone with mild symptoms will do.

Finally, with a nationwide shortage on personal protective equipment, supplies need to be preserved to allow health care providers to care for people who need medical attention. Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high-risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, health care workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19.

If you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor right away. More serious symptoms can include worsening shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion, or blue lips. In the case of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

You can go back to your normal activities when you can answer YES to all the following questions:

  • Has it been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms?
  • Have you been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?
  • Are your other symptoms improved?

To stay up to date on COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus or text COVIDNC to 898211. To speak with a local public health nurse about your concerns, call 828-884-4007. Call 2-1-1 (or 888-892-1162) for general questions or for help finding human services resources in your community.

Additional Case Reported in Transylvania County – 3/25/20

Transylvania Public Health was notified of a second case of COVID-19 in a county resident, associated with travel. North Carolina also reported the first deaths from COVID-19, in a Cabarrus County resident and a Virginia resident.

Public health officials continue to recommend preventative measures to limit the spread in our community, including staying at home to the extent possible, limiting group sizes, maintaining 6 feet of distance between other people, washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with a product that destroys human coronaviruses.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), stay at home, isolate yourself from others as much as possible, and self-treat symptoms. If you experience trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, blue lips, or confusion, call your healthcare provider or dial 911.

Updated Testing Recommendations – 3/23/20

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services revised its recommendations for testing on March 23 due to community spread of COVID-19.

People with mild symptoms (fever, cough) consistent with COVID-19 do NOT need testing and should stay at home to recover. Testing should be limited to people with symptoms that require hospitalization or whose treatment would change based on the diagnosis, as well as people in high-risk settings like nursing homes and healthcare providers.

If you have a fever and cough or trouble breathing, stay at home and contact your healthcare provider by phone. People who develop symptoms of difficulty breathing, chest pain, blue lips, or confusion should call their healthcare provider or 911. Do not go to the emergency room unless you are experiencing a true medical emergency.

Updated Definitions of People at High Risk for Severe Illness – 3/23/20

CDC revised its definition of people at higher risk for severe illness to include:

  • People ages 65 and older
  • People living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People with existing health issues such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart disease with complications, immunocompromised including cancer treatment, severe obesity, or not well controlled diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease

Pregnant women should be monitored by their providers since they are known to be at higher risk for other severe viral illnesses.

All people at higher risk are urged to stay at home as much as possible. Everyone should practice social distancing, minimize group activities, and wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water.

Additional Changes in North Carolina – 3/23/20

Governor Roy Cooper issued two new Executive Orders on March 21 and 23 to limit the spread and assist with the response to coronavirus in North Carolina.

Executive Order 120 extended the closing of public schools until May 15, lowered the limit for the number of people at public gatherings to 50, and ordered the closure of public places such as gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, hair and nail salons, and similar businesses starting Wednesday at 5 pm. The order also restricts all visitors to nursing homes and group homes, except for situations such as end of life. (Read Executive Order 120)

Executive Order 119 waives certain restrictions on child care, limit in-person DMV services to enact social distancing measures, and waive some requirements for commercial driver’s licenses. (Read Executive Order 119)

In addition, the US Forest Service announced that all national forest campgrounds and associated day-use areas will be closed from March 23 until at least May 15. The Blue Ridge Parkway began limiting backcountry camping permits on March 22.

Transylvania County Reports First Coronavirus Case – 3/22/20

Transylvania Public Health received notice early Sunday evening that a Transylvania County resident has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The person is doing well and is in isolation at home.

The Transylvania County resident has not had close contact with a confirmed case and has had no relevant travel history. Transylvania Public Health nurses are identifying close contacts of this person to monitor fever and respiratory symptoms. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.

This is the only case of COVID-19 identified in Transylvania County to date. As of Sunday, March 22, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was reporting 255 cases across the state.

“We have been planning and preparing for cases of COVID-19 in our community,” said Transylvania County Health Director Elaine Russell. “We encourage the public to prepare for the likelihood of local community spread here, because that is what we have seen happen in other areas.”

“Transylvania County has been actively preparing resources to support ongoing critical county services should community spread become a reality. We are committed to continuing to serve out citizens through this crisis,” said Transylvania County Manager Jaime Laughter.

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, all residents should take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Practice social distancing efforts
  • Avoid large groups and public gatherings, especially for older adults and those with existing chronic health conditions
  • Stay informed with information from trusted sources

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our people,” Russell continued. “Now, more than ever, it is important to practice good hand hygiene and social distancing efforts, especially to protect our elders and more vulnerable individuals.”

If you develop a fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider. Stay at home and do not go out until your symptoms have completely resolved for at least 72 hours. If you need medical attention, contact your provider for further guidance.

For more information, visit www.transylvaniahealth.org/COVID-19 or call 2-1-1.

Transylvania County Declares State of Emergency – 3/20/20

On Friday, March 20, Transylvania County Commissioner Chair Mike Hawkins announced that he was declaring a State of Emergency for the county, with assent from the City of Brevard and Town of Rosman.

In his letter, Hawkins explained that an emergency declaration is a tool which gives government some flexibility in responding to unusual circumstances. Circumstances in Transylvania County have not changed significantly. Hawkins said the declaration was merited in the county’s current COVID-19 response execution, due to the complexity of the response planning taking place.

Read the State of Emergency Declaration for Transylvania County.

The state and federal governments have both declared states of emergency, along with 67 other NC counties.

Slow the Spread: Social Distancing Guidance – 3/18/20

To slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce the number of people infected, organizers of events that draw people together should cancel, postpone, or modify these events or offer online streaming services.

President Trump has asked people to limit gatherings to 10 people or less at least until the end of March.  The CDC and NC DHHS recommend that gatherings be less than 50 people. For now, Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order (enforceable by law enforcement) remains at 100 people. All guidance is subject to change.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Use good judgement. Limit group sizes, and limit the number of groups you interact with. Practice social distancing by staying approximately 6 feet from other people whenever possible. Wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizers, and practice proper respiratory etiquette including coughing into your elbow.

Community and faith-based organizations whose members may include high-risk populations (over age 65, underlying health conditions, or weakened immune systems) should take extra precautions to protect these individuals from potential exposure. Encourage these individuals to stay home as much as possible. Consider options like connecting by phone, using other technologies that support social distancing, and/or facilitating small group meetings.

Additional guidance:

NC to Close Restaurants and Bars; Expand Unemployment Benefits – Updated 3/20/20

Governor Cooper announced a new executive order in response to COVID-19. Starting at 5 pm today, restaurants and bars will close for dine-in customers but will be allowed to continue takeout and delivery orders. UPDATE 3/20/20: To clarify, state officials have confirmed that onsite consumption of food is not allowed, indoors or outdoors, pursuant to the Order of Abatement

Grocery stores will remain open. The governor asked people to not stockpile food and leave some for those who cannot afford to buy a lot of food at once.

The executive order also included an expansion of unemployment insurance to help North Carolina workers affected by COVID-19. This order (1) removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits, (2) removes the requirement to look for another job during this time, (3) allows employees who lose their jobs or have hours reduced to apply for unemployment benefits, (4) waives requirement that part of the application process be in person, and (5) directs that unemployment losses won’t be counted against employers.

Secretary Mandy Cohen clarified that the limit on community gatherings to be enforced by law enforcement would remain at 100 people, but that people should use good judgement in choosing to attend or host events and should maintain social distancing of approximately 6 feet. NC DHHS and the CDC recommend limiting gatherings to less than 50 people, and President Trump asked people not to gather in groups larger than 10 people for the next 10 days.

Testing Options – Updated 3/20/20

If you develop a fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider to request testing. COVID-19 tests are available as needed at this time, but testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.

If you are tested for COVID-19, you will be expected to self-isolate at home at least until the test results come back. Stay at home and do not go out until your symptoms have completely resolved unless you need medical attention.

UPDATE 3/20/20: Both drive-through testing sites in Buncombe County and the drive-through site in Henderson County have suspended operations for now. 

BUNCOMBE COUNTY: Starting Tuesday, March 17, two drive-through COVID-19 screening sites will be available in Buncombe County. Testing sites will be located at Biltmore Church in Arden and at UNC-Asheville on WT Weaver Boulevard. The sites will be open from 1pm to 6 pm on Tuesday. Based on the availability of testing supplies, the sites will operate daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Testing is available to community members experiencing symptoms, regardless of income or ability to pay. Learn more from Buncombe County Health and Human Services.

HENDERSON COUNTY: Starting Monday, March 16, a free drive-through COVID-19 screening site will be available in Henderson County. Call the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline (828-694-8048), open 8:00am-8:00pm, to determine if symptoms qualify for flu and / or COVID-19 testing. If a patient meets screening criteria, they will be asked to drive to Blue Ridge Community College and follow the signs for screening. If patients arrive without having met screening criteria, they will be asked to pull out of the line and call the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline. Learn more from Pardee.

STATEWIDE, INCLUDING TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY: Testing is available from commercial laboratories, hospital laboratories, and the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH).

Patients must meet one of the following criteria to be tested by the NCSLPH:

  1. Fever OR lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) AND close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
  2. Fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) AND a negative flu test

Patients are recommended to meet the following criteria for providers to order testing from other laboratories:

  1. Fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) AND a negative flu test

For more information on testing in North Carolina, visit the DHHS COVID-19 Testing webpage.

Governor’s Executive Order – 3/14/20

On Saturday, March 14, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Executive Order prohibits mass gatherings that bring together more than 100 people in a single room or space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or other confined indoor or outdoor space, including parades, fairs and festivals. Violations of the order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The ban on gatherings does not include airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and spaces where people may be in transit. Office environments, restaurants, factories, or retail or grocery stores are also excluded.

The order also directs all K-12 public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for at least two weeks. The two-week period allows time for North Carolina to further understand the impact of COVID-19 across the state and develop a plan for continued learning for students should a longer closure be needed.

Governor Cooper has appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed. The working group will focus on issues including nutrition, health, childcare access for critical health care and other front-line workers and learning support for children at home.

The order also urges everyone to maintain social distancing recommendations of approximately 6 feet from other people whenever possible and to continue to wash hands, utilize hand sanitizers and practice proper respiratory etiquette.

Updated guidance for specific groups is available on the NC DHHS website and is linked below.

Mitigation Measures – Effective 3/13/20

NC DHHS is making the following recommendations to reduce the spread of infection while we are still in an early stage in order to protect lives and avoid strain on our health care system. NC DHHS is making these recommendations for the next 30 days and will re-assess at that point.

The following recommendations pertain to persons statewide, effective Friday, March 13, 2020.

SYMPTOMATIC PERSONS

If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. Persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.

HIGH RISK PERSONS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS

People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

People at high risk include people:

  • Over 65 years of age, or
  • with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or
  • with weakened immune systems.

WORKPLACES

Employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible.

Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart.

Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.

MASS TRANSIT

Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.

MASS GATHERINGS, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL EVENTS

Organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, or modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.

CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES

All facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit.

If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19.

Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.

SCHOOLS

We do not recommend pre-emptive school closure at this time but do recommend that schools and childcare centers cancel or reduce large events and gatherings (e.g., assemblies) and field trips, limit inter-school interactions, and consider distance or e-learning in some settings.

Students at high risk should implement individual plans for distance or e-learning.

School dismissals may be necessary when staff or student absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a student or staff member.

For more information, contact Transylvania Public Health at 828-884-3135 or info@transylvaniahealth.org

CURRENT CASE COUNTS

(Updated 5/29/20 at 11:45 am)

Transylvania Public Health was notified of an additional case of COVID-19 late last night. This is the 13th lab-confirmed case among Transylvania County residents. This person has been hospitalized and Transylvania Public Health is working to conduct contact tracing.

As of 5/29/20 at 10:50 am, North Carolina DHHS is reporting 26,488 cases* in all 100 counties in North Carolina; 680 people are currently hospitalized across the state, and there have been 859 deaths in 77 counties (Alamance, Anson, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Macon, Martin, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pender, Person, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Stanly, Surry, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson, and Yadkin).

There are 149 ongoing outbreaks in group living facilities in 53 counties (Alamance, Anson, Ashe, Bertie, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Mecklenburg, Moore, New Hanover, Northampton, Orange, Pasquotank, Pender, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Rutherford, Scotland, Stokes, Swain, Union, Vance, Wake, Wayne, Wilkes, and Wilson); 5,250 total cases and 537 total deaths have been associated with outbreaks at these facilities.

(*Cases reflect positive test results from the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospital and commercial labs. Not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so this does not represent the total number of people in North Carolina who have or had COVID-19. Out-of-state residents will not be reported in NC statistics.)

For more information about cases in North Carolina, visit the NC DHHS COVID-19 Case Count website. For more information about cases in the U.S., visit the CDC COVID-19 Case Count website.

NEW! Resources for Phase 1

The following resources have been developed by Transylvania Public Health, based on NCDHHS guidance for Phase 1:

For more information about Phase 1 of North Carolina’s plan to ease restrictions, including Executive Order 138 and frequently asked questions, visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-guidance#phase-1-easing-of-restrictions.

 

Questions about the coronavirus outbreak? It’s important to get information from trusted sources! Here are some we recommend…

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:

  • Dial 828-884-4007 to speak to a local public health nurse about COVID-19.
  • Dial 211 for assistance with needs related to COVID-19.
  • Text COVIDNC to 898211 to sign up for regular alerts about COVID-19.

 

NEW! Updated Guidance: LEARN MORE about what you can do to prepare and respond with specific guidance from the NC Division of Public Health for:

 

 

TRUSTED WEBSITES:

 

FACT SHEETS: