Buncombe County COVID-19 Newsletter 12/14/20-12/18/20

December 21, 2020

Here is an overview of the most recent Buncombe County COVID-19 updates and resources. We have also included links that you can share on your social media to help spread the word about these important updates.

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Read / Share:

  • Weekly Community Update

As of Dec. 11, 2020, there have been 7,520 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County residents. We, as a community, have experienced 139 COVID-related deaths. As of Oct. 1, 2020, updates are being provided in a press release format on our website and in-person updates are provided to the Board of Commissioners at their 3 p.m. briefing on the first and third Monday of December.

  • Winter Holiday 2020 Safety Tips
    We experienced a significant spike in cases after the Thanksgiving holidays and want to prevent future surges. Check out these safety tips for the winter holidays and share them with your networks. Buncombe County Health and Human Services wants to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Please share the attached graphic outlining holiday safety tips, in both English and Spanish, with your networks.
  • COVID-19 Immunization
    Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine through answers to some common questions and concerns surrounding the topic. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice and we want you to have access to the resources necessary to make an informed decision.
  • Buncombe County Court Appearances During COVID-19
    What you need to know following Chief Justice Cheri Beasly’s Dec. 14 announcement postponing many court proceedings for 30 days.


  • Buncombe County’s Stay Safe, Stay Smart Order Update
    Executive Order 181 takes effect on Dec. 11, 2020 at 5 p.m. and is effective until Jan. 8, 2021 at 5 p.m. The executive order introduces a “Night-Time Public Closure Period” and “Stay at Home Period” in order to curb the rapid statewide spread of COVID-19.
  • I Tested Positive for COVID-19. What Now?
    With COVID-19 cases rising at rapid rates, we want our community to feel supported if they test positive. If your results indicate a positive test, check out these tips and resources on what to do moving forward. .
  • COVID-19 Testing sites in Buncombe County for December added to calendar. Visit buncombeready.org for the testing site calendar. Testing happening this week at the AB Tech. See the calendar by clicking on the link below.


  • Have COVID-19 Questions? Buncombe County COVID-19 Call Center Can Help.
    The Ready Team call center is focused on connecting people to testing, addressing concerns about public health guidance and most recent Stay Safe orders, and answering a variety of questions related to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Covered For Those Without Insurance

People who are uninsured can get tested and treated for coronavirus at no cost. If a person does not have health insurance at the time of COVID-19 testing or treatment, providers can file a claim in order to receive reimbursement from the government.

·         Spread the Word: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=18996

  • Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 with the SlowCOVIDNC App - Learn More

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released an app to aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The app tracks those you have been around and notifies you automatically if one of your contacts has tested positive for COVID-19. To ensure that all user information stays confidential, the app does not collect, store, or share personal information or location data.

  • Coronavirus Public Health Materials for Local Businesses
    Materials in both English and Spanish are available to local businesses to help with enforcement of COVID-19 safety measures. We have updated the “Occupancy Limit Signage” and the “NC Face Covering Requirement” signage today in order to reflect the most recent information.


COVID-19 Updates from NCDHHS

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  • Video - Coronavirus Briefing with NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Cohen (Dec. 10)

PRESS RELEASES since the last update include:


NEW resources since the last update include:


UPDATED guidance since the last update include:

·         NEW NCDHHS Current Business Closure Periods and Stay at Home Restrictions

·         NEW Celebrate the Winter Holidays Safely Flyer

·         Updated NCDHHS Interim Update on COVID-19 Vaccine

·         NEW Antigen Testing Pilot Application Packet

·         NEW in Spanish Winter Holiday guidance

·         Updated Interim Guidance for Safer Holiday Breaks

·         Updated Youth Sports guidance

·         Updated Schools guidance

o   StrongSchoolsNC: Public Health Toolkit - K-12 (Spanish)

o   Key Updates Summary

o   StrongSchoolsNC Infection Control and PPE Guidance (K-12)

o   Frequently Asked Questions (Spanish)

o   Celebrating Safely: Tips for the Holidays (Spanish)

o   NEW: Requirements and Recommendations for Recess, Specials, and General Activities

·         Updated NCDHHS Interim Update on COVID-19 Vaccine


UPDATED reports since the last update include:

NEW EVENTS ADDED to the community testing events page

UPDATED Contact Tracing numbers


Other News:

  • County Offices to Close for Winter Holidays
    Buncombe County administrative offices will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 28 for the Christmas holiday and Jan. 1, 2021 for New Year’s Day.
  • Buncombe County Nominations Are Now Being Accepted for the 2021 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards
    The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honors individuals, groups and businesses that make significant contributions to their community through volunteer services. Nomination of a deserving volunteer, group, or organization must be in by Jan. 21, 2021.  
  • Housing Assistance Available for Those Affected by Pandemic-Related Losses; Must be Accessed by Dec. 30  
    Attention Buncombe County residents: If you are struggling to pay your rent, mortgage, or utilities, Buncombe County’s COVID Housing Assistance Program may be able to help. The funds must be accessed prior to Dec. 30.  
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program   
    The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) uses federal funding to provide qualifying households with a one-time vendor payment to help cover heating costs.
  • Festival of Lights — Dec. 1-23 nightly from 6-9 p.m.
    The Festival of Lights is returning to Lake Julian Park this December. COVID-19 cases are on the rise and we highly recommend that only people who live in the same household should be in the same vehicle.
  • Volunteers Needed to Help Shape Community Investments Learn More
    Buncombe County is seeking volunteers with unique perspectives on community based initiatives to join the Tipping Point Grant review team. The team is comprised of nine volunteers who are appointed annually based on applications. They are responsible for analyzing grant applications against specific criteria and recommend awards for community-based, innovative grants. The deadline for applications is Dec. 30 by 5 p.m. and the posting can be found at www.buncombecounty.org/apply.