People Not Numbers:
Case Trends: Last week our seven-day rolling case average was 3.2 cases per week per 100,000, which is the 4th lowest average in the state. That’s the good news. Our neighbor, Jackson County was 52/100,000, the 2nd highest. That’s the bad news.
I’m not sure why we are seeing such a difference in our two counties, but I am concerned Haywood County’s luck may be running out, based on the number of cases that we have begun investigating and contact tracing this week. On Monday we received one positive case, two cases on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, we received the results to begin investigating 15 more cases. Thursday netted 13 more case investigations, and 7 more came in early Friday morning. (An explanation: the “total positive tests/confirmed cases” stats on our data dashboard are fed by the state data dashboard, which in turn is generated through an automatic feed from laboratories. In other words, the state system receives and counts confirmed positives automatically as soon as they are recorded by laboratories, but there is generally a lapse between positives appearing on the state dashboard and our COVID staff receiving the results from providers, at which point we begin interviewing and contact tracing.)
These cases are popping up across the county in a variety of settings and businesses. The initial case reported last week in the Town of Waynesville Finance Office officially became a cluster this week when we received positive results on our fifth case in the building. There have also been two secondary cases from this cluster (i.e. friends or family exposed by somebody who was directly exposed in this cluster), with others still in contact tracing and testing. This is a scenario that echoes our ‘It Only Takes One’ slide from a few months ago (attached). One pre-symptomatic case in an office setting who didn’t wear a mask and interacted at work with others who were inconsistent about mask usage has now caused (so far) six additional cases.
While current case investigations are trending upward, we can still right this ship with increased masking vigilance. Get behind the mask!
Finally, I am retiring after five years as Public Health Director in Haywood County. I want everyone to know the Haywood County Public Health Staff are dedicated Public Health Warriors who work long, tiring hours every day to protect the health of Haywood County residents. The collective abilities of this talented staff have shined as they stepped up to take on and manage the historic pandemic of our lifetime. Please join me in thanking them for all they have done and continue to do to serve you.