PEOPLE, NOT NUMBERS:
· Case trends: Numbers are going up in Haywood County. Increases from last Thursday to this Thursday:
o Cumulative case totals rose from 726 to 783
o Number of people in isolation went from 40 to 63
o Number of people in quarantine went from 107 to 128
We are currently seeing case patterns of older people catching the virus from family and friends and then staying sicker longer, some requiring hospitalization due to the severity of their symptoms.
There seems to be a common belief among a lot of folks that dropping your COVID guard around extended family and friends is safe. Unfortunately, that’s just not true, as this week’s case patterns show.
With the holidays coming up, be aware that we need to exercise all of the now-familiar precautions any time we’re going to be in close contact with people who don’t live in our immediate households, including visits with extended family and friends. If you’re going to be closer than six feet from one another for longer than fifteen minutes, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. If you’re not going to wear a mask, keep your distance. Wash your hands frequently, and disinfect surfaces.
For guidance on how to have a COVID-safe holiday season, visit the CDC’s special web page devoted to the subject: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#thanksgiving
We all have severe COVID fatigue at this point, but we need to remain vigilant and do everything that we can to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors, even if it means sacrificing some gatherings this year to ensure everyone’s safety.
· COVID-19 testing
o Please be aware that the Haywood County Health Department only offers diagnostic COVID-19 testing for individuals identified as close contacts by positive cases during contact tracing. If you are identified as a close contact, you will receive a call about testing. Most insurance plans cover the cost of testing, and limited funding is available to cover the cost of testing for uninsured close contacts.
o For information about free testing events, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place/pop-testing-sites
o Other COVID-19 testing is available at multiple locations in Haywood County. We encourage you to call your primary care provider if you are symptomatic or want testing for work or travel. If your primary care provider can’t test you, urgent care offices throughout Haywood County are providing COVID testing. Call the urgent care location in advance for their current guidance about screening, eligibility, and availability, as testing supply and protocols are subject to change. There is normally a charge for testing, which is covered by most insurance plans. Uninsured Haywood County residents can call 828-452-6620 to see if they are eligible to have testing covered by a new state program called NC Medicaid Optional COVID-19 Testing Program.
o Other resources:
§ The Find My Testing Place tool on the NCDHHS website: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place
§ Testing info pinned to the top of the Haywood County Health and Human Services Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/haywoodcountync.gov