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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 23, 2021
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 128 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 3,797 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began.
With our resources and energy shifting primarily to the COVID-19 mass vaccination effort, some of our priorities and procedures have had to shift as well. Among these are some modifications to the Haywood County COVID-19 dashboard.
We are now joining the majority of other counties in the state in relying more heavily on data documented and provided by NCDHHS to populate the local dashboard, rather than continuing to devote a substantial portion of staff time each day to sorting and data-crunching internal records.
This is being done to ensure that we are sharing the most timely and accurate data that we have available while the staff is busy with vaccination efforts. In earlier stages of the pandemic, there was limited county-level data being supplied by the state, prompting a reliance on internal case tracking records to populate the data dashboard with isolated and released numbers. Since our internal tracking records are created through manual data entry based on lab results and case contacts that take time to acquire, the information lags behind state numbers. We continue to maintain internal tracking records as a key component in our COVID case management processes. The state now provides such in-depth county-level data through electronic reporting that their numbers provide the most accurate data available.
While you’ll see a few changes to the dashboard, much will remain the same.
We are no longer providing the isolated and released numbers, but an accurate daily picture of the COVID-19 burden on Haywood County can be obtained by reviewing the number of cases in the last seven days, as well as the daily new cases bar graph.
Other information that you’ve come to expect, such as case count by zip code, testing numbers, weekly case demographics information, total COVID deaths, and deaths by age group will remain the same. We have also added running totals of first and second-dose vaccines.
“Here at the Haywood County Public Health Department, we want to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to our citizens. These changes increase transparency and more closely match the data provided by NCDHHS at the state level in the fight against COVID-19,” said Interim Health Director Garron Bradish.
Haywood County is currently vaccinating citizens over the age of 65. Pre-registration is open for anyone over the age of 65. If you or a loved one need to register, please do so at https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine or by calling 828-356-2019.
If you have a question about your registration, the vaccination process, or need to change something on your registration please call the hotline at 828-356-2019. This is the only number that will be able to answer your Haywood County COVID vaccine questions.
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 that are eligible to begin pre-registering for the vaccine will be notified through the health department’s weekly vaccine information updates on Fridays.
“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.”
Where to find COVID-19 vaccine information:
To register for vaccination go to: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine
For vaccine appointment or registration questions call: 828-356-2019
Please do NOT call the health department’s main number for COVID-19 vaccination questions, utilize the hotline instead.
For general COVID-19 information visit https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/COVID-19-Information