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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 11, 2022
Cases / Hospitalizations
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 522 new cases of COVID-19, marking the second week in a row of nearly doubling the new cases over the previous week. As of 5 p.m. on January 10, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 9,170 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began.
For perspective, the peak of last winter’s COVID surge was on January 4, 2021, with a high mark of daily cases at 198. A little over a year later, we set a new high mark of daily cases yesterday with 208 recorded.
Hospitalizations of COVID patients are also up across the region, and have been steadily rising over the last month.
This week 59.6 percent of new COVID cases were unvaccinated. Nearly all of those who require hospitalization are unvaccinated.
Omicron continues to be monitored as a variant of concern. Read an updated Omicron FAQ on the Haywood County website: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/742/Omicron-FAQ
Isolation / Quarantine
The CDC has amended its isolation guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others, and avoiding high-risk people and situations..
This change is for the general public only, and it will be coming out with amended guidelines for other settings, like congregate settings and schools soon.
Proper masking with well-fitted surgical or N-95 style masks is critical to these new guidelines. Unless the person isolating with COVID stays full masked at all times around anyone else during days 5-10 of the isolation period they should continue to stay isolated from everyone.
For everyone else, masks are very much encouraged whenever you plan to be indoors in public areas. Masks are required for employees and the public in ALL Haywood County government facilities including the courthouse, libraries, and public health buildings.
Citizens who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, and encourage them to self-quarantine and get tested 5 days after their exposure to the individual who tested positive.
Return to Work
Businesses need to be mindful that having quarantined employees return to work too quickly could cause a cluster of cases in the workplace. We ask that employers rely on the honor system and encourage employees who have been exposed to quarantine for the full recommended time frame from the date of exposure to help reduce potential spread.
Some employers require a “return to work” letter from the health department for employees who have been isolating with COVID to return to the workplace. These are available upon request for anyone whose isolation has been monitored by the health department. If you do not respond to case manager calls from the health department or refuse to participate in case monitoring protocols, the health department will be unable to provide written verification of a completed COVID isolation period.
Vaccination / Boosters
Vaccination appointments are available on a walk-in basis at the health department. Initial doses of Pfizer are available for ages 5-18. All three vaccines are available for anyone 18+. Vaccine clinic hours are Monday-Friday 8-11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. If you prefer scheduling an appointment, please call 828-356-2019.
Adults are eligible for a booster when they are:
5 months past the initial doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or
2 months past the initial dose of Johnson & Johnson
It is recommended that teens, ages 12-17 receive a booster dose of Pfizer when they are eligible, 5 months after completing their initial series of doses.