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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 25, 2022
Cases / Hospitalizations
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 767 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. on January 24, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 10,820 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. Please note that due to the holiday last Monday, today’s press release reflects new COVID cases since last Tuesday, rather than a full week’s numbers.
Weekly case numbers remain high, indicating that we have not yet reached a peak in this latest surge.
Haywood County’s new cases are roughly three times higher than last winter’s surge. The test positivity rate is at 38%; we would prefer to see it at less than 5%. Local and regional hospitals remain full, and continue to go on diversion status frequently. COVID hospitalizations are up 27 percent in the last two weeks.
Omicron continues to be monitored as a variant of concern. Read an updated Omicron FAQ on the Haywood County website: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/742/Omicron-FAQ
Haywood County Health and Human Services has partnered with Optum Serve and Lake Junaluska Assembly to offer free COVID-19 diagnostic testing to Haywood County residents.
Testing is by appointment only, please do not arrive for testing if you do not have an appointment for everyone who plans to be tested. Masks will be required to enter the testing area.
To book an appointment:
Visit: COVID-19 Test Registration (lhi.care)
Choose your location and click GET STARTED
Follow the steps for account creation and registration
Call 828-356-2019 if you have questions about booking an appointment.
COVID Testing Site Location:
Lake Junaluska Wilson Children’s Complex21 Shackford Hall RdLake Junaluska, NC 28745
Testing Site Hours:
M, T — Closed
W, TH, F — 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat, Sun — 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Cost: FREE to the patient
Learn more about COVID testing, including who should get tested: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/diagnostic-testing.html
Isolation / Quarantine
The CDC now recommends people who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for 5 days, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others, and avoiding high-risk people and situations.
This guidance was intended for the general public. In Haywood County, however, county employees and students who are isolating with COVID are required to continue to remain isolated for the full 10 days.
Proper masking with well-fitted surgical or N-95 style masks is critical to these new guidelines. Unless the person isolating with COVID stays fully masked at all times around anyone else during days 5-10 of the isolation period they should continue to stay isolated from everyone.
For everyone else, masks are very much encouraged whenever you plan to be indoors in public areas. Masks are required for employees and the public in ALL Haywood County government facilities including the courthouse, libraries, and public health buildings.
Citizens who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, and encourage them to self-quarantine and get tested 5 days after their exposure to the individual who tested positive.
Return to Work
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 full recommended time frame from the date of exposure to help reduce potential spread.
Some employers require a “return to work” letter from the health department for employees who have been isolating with COVID to return to the workplace. These are available upon request for anyone whose isolation has been monitored by the health department. If you do not respond to case manager calls from the health department or refuse to participate in case monitoring protocols, the health department will be unable to provide written verification of a completed COVID isolation period.
Vaccination / Boosters
Vaccination appointments are available on a walk-in basis at the health department. Initial doses of Pfizer are available for ages 5-18. All three vaccines are available for anyone 18+. Vaccine clinic hours are Monday-Friday 8-11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. If you prefer scheduling an appointment, please call 828-356-2019.
Adults are eligible for a booster when they are:
5 months past the initial doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or
2 months past the initial dose of Johnson & Johnson
It is recommended that teens, ages 12-17 receive a booster dose of Pfizer when they are eligible, 5 months after completing their initial series of doses.