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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Dec. 11, 2020
In the three days since the last press release on Dec. 8, 2020, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 107 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Dec. 10, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 1,507 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. In the last week, the county has added 221 new cases. There are 259 people isolating with COVID. The health department is monitoring these cases.
The surge continues in Haywood County, as well as across the state and across the nation. Outbreaks continue in long term care facilities throughout Haywood County, and there have been seven additional COVID-19 deaths attributable to these outbreaks since Tuesday.
While these outbreaks comprise about 43 percent of our current caseload, the majority of cases are in the community, with the most common theme being exposure through family members either bringing the virus home from work or exposing extended family at holiday gatherings.
During this period of increased caseload, the health department has suspended monitoring cases in quarantine, and therefore will not report a COVID-19 working number until further notice. The health department is continuing to conduct case investigations and monitoring of positive cases and asks that the positives notify their close contacts of exposure. 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 tested positive and you have friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, encourage them to self-quarantine and 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. “Since we have placed a hold on monitoring close contacts, we can’t currently provide quarantine documentation for employers. Businesses need to be mindful that having quarantined employees to 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 recommended time frame of 14 days from the date of exposure to help us reduce the spread during this surge of cases.”
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.