FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 22, 2022
Cases / Hospitalizations
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 192 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. on February 21, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 12,587 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began.
The test positivity rate remains high at 19.1% but the continued downward trend is good news. Last week’s reported two-week positivity rate was 26.9%. The preferred positivity rate is anything less than 5%.
Regional hospital and EMS systems remain strained, however, regional COVID hospitalizations have shown a 34 percent improvement over the last two weeks (150 people hospitalized with COVID this week compared to 230 two weeks ago).
Free COVID diagnostic testing is available at the testing site at Lake Junaluska. Appointments are preferred, but not required.
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. Masks will be required to enter the testing area.
COVID Testing Site Location:
Lake Junaluska Wilson Children’s Complex
21 Shackford Hall Rd
Lake Junaluska, NC 28745
Testing Site Hours (beginning Feb. 24)
M — F 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat, Sun — Closed
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 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.
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.
Masking in Haywood County Facilities
As of Friday, February 18, masking is optional, although highly encouraged, in all Haywood County public facilities with a few exceptions:
Masks will be required in all Health and Human Services Agency & Public Health facilities where the public is seen for services.
EMS staff are required to mask on all calls (KN95 or N95 on potential COVID calls). Patients on calls will be masked during care, when possible.
The Haywood County Detention Center will be following guidelines provided by the North Carolina Jail Administrator’s Association.
The Justice Center follows guidelines from the State Court System. Starting Monday, February 21, 2022, at 8:00 am, masks will be optional in that facility as well.
While masking is now optional in county facilities, we encourage everyone to continue to follow the public health best practices which we know to be effective in slowing the transmission of COVID-19.
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.