BCHHS Public Health Provider Alert: Updates on COVID-19 response and Buncombe County Community Testing Sites

March 20, 2020

  1. As you may have heard yesterday afternoon, there is now documented community transmission of COVID-19 in North Carolina with a case identified in Wilson County. Data from NC and elsewhere in the US indicate that we are moving into the acceleration phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As of 9:30 this morning, NC is reporting 137 cases of COVID-19. We are still at 1 case associated with Buncombe County, but expect the number to rise as results of pending tests return in the coming days.
  • As a state and county, we have already put into place actions as if we knew we had community spread – school closures, reduction in size of mass gatherings, closure of restaurants and bars to dine-in service and, most recently in Buncombe County, closing businesses in which there is close contact between employees and customers (hair salons, spas, etc.).
  • These efforts are made in an attempt to decrease the number of people who will get sick at the same time so that we avoid excessively burdening you, our local health care providers and health systems.

 

  1. Buncombe County Community Testing Sites are NOT open today.
  • As we continue into this phase of response, testing for people with mild illness will become less important.
  • Most people who become ill with COVID-19 develop a mild illness and can recover safely at home.
  • Keeping ill people at home helps reduce the chance that people are exposed to the illness.
  • As a result, and in an effort to ensure the most effective use of our resources (PPE, healthcare personnel), we have decided to not open our Buncombe County community testing sites today.
  • As we transition in this new phase, it is likely that testing for COVID-19 will focus on hospitalized patients, healthcare personnel and residents of congregate living settings.

 

For the most up-to-date information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/coronavirus/providers.html

 

Please review guidance from the NC DHHS and CDC if at all possible before contacting me or the Communicable Disease nurses with questions. We are experiencing a very high call volume and trying to return calls/emails as quickly as possible.

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