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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 5, 2020
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 327 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Jan. 4, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 2,332 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. There are 284 people isolating with COVID-19. The health department is monitoring these cases.
The health department is continuing to track the trend of people who refuse or ignore case monitoring or contact efforts. There are 34 (up eight from last week) such uncooperative positive cases now who may be ignoring the advice to isolate from others.
“These numbers indicate that there was considerable spread among the community over the recent holidays and that people still aren’t taking this pandemic as seriously as they could be. We are still at least several months away from seeing a positive impact from vaccine distribution and we urge everyone to continue practicing every possible safety measure to prevent the spread of this virus,” said Interim Health Director Garron Bradish.
As the vaccine rollout continues groups of individuals eligible to begin pre-registering for the vaccine will be notified through the health department’s weekly vaccine information updates.
This week we begin pre-registration for full-time Haywood County citizens over the age of 75, regardless of health condition.
Eligible persons may register at: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine or by calling 828-356-2019
For more information on the vaccine and the general order of distribution visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines
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.”