WNC COVID-19 Regional Community News

March 12, 2021




Friday, March 12, 2021


COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling in Western North Carolina and across the country. At the same time, COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more available across our region. However, supplies are still limited and many are having to wait for their vaccine. This monthly newsletter includes information and resources to support you and your community during the pandemic.


To receive monthly updates from the Mountain Area Health Education Center, subscribe below:

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Five Things


In this month’s news report you’ll find

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COVID-19 Trends

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Vaccine Updates

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Focus on Equity

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Community Resources

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Online Trainings

WNC COVID-19 Trends


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COVID Rates Drop (But Not Our Guard). After reaching a peak in January, COVID-19 rates are much lower in our region and the country as a whole. WNC counties are reporting positivity rates between 3.2% and 6.5%. Residents are encouraged to continue wearing a mask in public and social distancing as more infectious strains of COVID-19 have been detected in WNC including the B.1.1.7 variant.

More Vaccines Are On the Way. The federal government has approved Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine. This vaccine does not require extreme cold storage, which will help increase the number of places you can receive a vaccine. WNC received 7,000 of this vaccine last week, and supplies of all three vaccines are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

North Carolina Eases Restrictions. Governor Roy Cooper has eased some COVID-19 restrictions and announced that K-12 schools should reopen for in-person instruction, with teachers and staff now prioritized for vaccination. The statewide mask mandate remains in place, and North Carolinians are encouraged to continue practicing prevention measures until a majority of residents are fully vaccinated.


What’s the Best Vaccine?




Short answer: The one you are offered first.

All three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States - made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson - greatly reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. What’s more, all three are very effective at preventing serious outcomes like hospitalizations and deaths. And all three are more effective at preventing illness than flu vaccines in a typical year.

You can be confident the best vaccine is whichever one you are offered.


North Carolina Moves Into Phase 3




WNC resident and “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight celebrates after getting her first  COVID-19 vaccine
in February at a community vaccination event in Haywood County. Photo courtesy My Reason WNC.


More than 18% of North Carolinians have received at least one shot, and 11% are now fully vaccinated. Frontline essential workers, including teachers and school staff, are now eligible to receive the vaccine. You are considered a frontline essential worker if you work in person at a job involved in

  • Critical manufacturing
  • Essential goods
  • Food and agriculture
  • Government and community services
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Public safety
  • Transportation

On March 17, people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions and people in certain group living settings will become eligible to receive a vaccine. Adults who are at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 will become eligible on April 7. You can learn more about who is eligible on North Carolina’s website: click here for Phase 3 and Phase 4 groups.

Not sure where to get a vaccine? Enter your zip code here to find a nearby vaccine provider. You may be asked to register for an appointment in advance.


Do You Have Vaccine Concerns?




In 2020, Indigenous, Black and Latino Americans were at least 2.7 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their White neighbors. For this reason, North Carolina is making it a priority to distribute vaccines to communities of color. At the same time, a history of health injustices and other vaccine concerns may make some Black and Brown people hesitant to get vaccinated.

If you or someone you know has questions about COVID-19 vaccines, talking about concerns can help. So can learning more about how vaccines were developed and tested to ensure they are safe and effective.

The following resources have been collected by MAHEC medical librarians, healthcare providers and community partners to give you information you can use to support your health and the health of those you care about.


COVID-19 Community Resources




COVID-19 Prevention & Support


Vaccine Facts




Vaccine Locations


School Reopening Resources




Social Media/Short Videos




Community Conversation Tools


COVID-19 Online Training




COVID-19 Vaccination 101 Community Presenter Training | NCDHHS
Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Fridays from 10:00 to 11:00 am

Get the Scoop on Managing Stress Series (NC Governor’s Institute)
Tuesdays at 6:00 pm: March 16 - Asking for Help, March 30 - Physical Activity

Youth Mental Health First Aid | Vaya Health
Thursday, May 20 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (these trainings fill up fast)

Recorded Webinars & FB Live Events

COVID-19 and the Vaccine: African American Health Webinar Series |MAHEC

COVID-19 and Beyond Series for Youth (Black Coalition Against COVID)

Let’s Talk COVID-19: The Vaccine Part I and Part II | YWCA of Asheville & Buncombe County Health Department 

Making it Plain: African Americans and the COVID-19 Vaccine (Howard University)



To receive monthly updates from the Mountain Area Health Education Center, subscribe below:


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