Buncombe County Community Coronavirus Update for Dec. 14, 2021

December 14, 2021

Declining COVID-19 Rates Offer Hope in Advance of the Holidays

Cases are declining in Buncombe County since the last week’s community update. Last week, we saw rates climb to 208 cases per 100,000, which was expected given that we were 10-12 days out from Thanksgiving. Since then, cases have gradually declined to 155 cases per 100,000.

The percent positivity has dropped just below 6%. Last week, the percent positivity was 6.6%. Weekly testing numbers still are steady with the last several weeks averaging between 5,000 and more than 6,000 tests performed weekly. Death rate decreased slightly from 1.1 per 100,000 to 0.8 per 100,000, and sadly, two deaths were reported to the dashboard in the last week. Hospitalizations decreased slightly but ICU utilization went up; however, both indicators are favorable at this time. 

Public Health Director Stacie Saunders says, “I am encouraged that we’ve seen a decline that seems to be holding, and I am hopeful that we will continue to see a decline, or at least a leveling, as we approach winter holidays when we may see another increase before entering 2022.”

Vaccination rates continue to increase steadily with the total population in Buncombe County at 67% partially vaccinated and 64% fully vaccinated. Regarding the eligible population, 5 years and older, 70% are partially vaccinated and 67% are fully vaccinated. If you or your child still need to get vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible in advance of holiday gatherings. Free COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone 5 and older at Buncombe County Health and Human Services between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville. No ID is required. Anyone 18 and older should get a booster six months after a two-dose series or two months after a single-dose vaccine. Learn more at www.buncombeready.org. Flu vaccines are also available to anyone six months and older.

Do spread cheer over the holidays by following the holiday guidance for large gatherings found on our website at www.buncombeready.org. As a reminder, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners extended the county-wide face covering requirement for all indoor public spaces through Jan. 5, 2022. The indoor mask requirement also extends to Asheville, Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, and Woodfin.