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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Dec. 8, 2020
In the four days since the last press release on Dec. 4, 2020, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 114 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Dec. 7, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 1,400 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began.
The outbreaks at Autumn Care of Waynesville, Haywood Nursing & Rehabilitation, Maggie Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation, Spicewood Cottages, and Silver Bluff continue to cause concern. As the case counts grow exponentially, hospital wait times are also increasing.
Some county and municipal services are starting to see an impact as cases rise among staff, causing those who are close contacts to need to quarantine.
The burden on public health staff and emergency responders is also increasing as the need for more case investigations and emergency calls go up.
“At this time, public health staff will continue with case investigations of positives. However, at this point, we will be asking those who test positive to reach out and alert anyone they feel may be a close contact. We will continue to provide, upon request, isolation release letters to those who test positive,” said Interim Health Director, Garron Bradish.
A close contact is identified as anyone who spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a positive while not wearing a mask, within the time frame of 2 days prior to symptom onset (or test date if asymptomatic) to the date that the positive person goes into self-isolation.
“If you have friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, encourage them to get tested 5-6 days after their exposure to you. Our end goal is to reduce community spread, so one day we can all be together again,” said Bradish.
As of 5 p.m., Dec. 7, 2020, Haywood County’s COVID-19 working number, representing individuals who are in isolation or quarantine due to exposure is 476 people. Of these, 222 cases are in isolation after testing positive and 254 people are in quarantine, having been identified as a close contact of a known case during contact tracing. All are being monitored by the Haywood County COVID-19 contact tracing team.
COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets; North Carolinians should take the same measures recommended to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/individuals-families-communities/individuals-and-families
Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, NCDHHS at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, and Haywood County at https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/Coronavirus-Covid-19-Information. Residents are encouraged to call 828-356-2019 for questions or concerns related to COVID-19.