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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 26, 2021
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 261 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Jan. 15, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 3,167 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. There are 438 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 50 such uncooperative positive cases now who may be ignoring the advice to isolate from others. Since we started tracking this number there have been 199 such cases considered released, meaning all attempts to communicate with them have been exhausted and the isolation period based on positive result date has passed.
“The peak of cases post-holiday has passed and we are seeing a slight decline in active case numbers, but the caseload throughout the county remains quite high. New variants of COVID-19 are beginning to be seen in North Carolina, raising concerns that it may become even more difficult to contain the spread. Vaccination is just one of the tools we have to help end the pandemic. Mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing remain essential in this fight, ” said Interim Health Director Garron Bradish.
Registrations continue to come in but of those registered, about 75 percent have been completed in the over-75 group. Vaccinations for the next group, those 65 - 74 won’t begin until we near completion of the current group. Pre-registration for those over the age of 65 is now open, If you or a loved one need to register, please do so 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
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 on Fridays.
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 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.”