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More community spread of COVID-19 in Haywood

Haywood County Public Health received notice of 33 new cases of COVID-19 since Oct. 23. As of 5 p.m. Oct. 29, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded 726 cases in Haywood County.

This week we are reporting a cluster at the Town of Waynesville finance office where there have been five confirmed cases plus two secondary transmissions. Over the past two weeks, Haywood County has had one of the lowest seven-day rolling case averages in the state. Other western counties (Jackson, Cherokee, Clay) have been among the highest. This week we started with one positive case on Monday and two on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, we had 15 cases followed by 13 on Thursday. Today we have already had 7 cases come in.

These cases are occurring across the county in a variety of businesses and locations indicating community transmission. Please keep this in mind when you are out at church and events.

“On a personal note, I am retiring after five years as Public Health Director in Haywood County. I want everyone to know the Haywood County Public Health Staff are dedicated Public Health Warriors who work long, tiring hours every day to protect the health of Haywood County residents. The collective abilities of this talented staff have shined as they stepped up to take on and manage the historic pandemic of our lifetime. Please join me in thanking them for all they have done and continue to do to serve you,” said Patrick Johnson, Haywood County public health director.

As of 5 p.m., Oct. 29, Haywood County’s COVID-19 working number, representing individuals who are in isolation or quarantine due to exposure, is 147 people. Of these, 40 cases are in isolation after testing positive and 107 people are in quarantine, having been identified as a close contact of a known case during contact tracing. All are being monitored by the Haywood County COVID-19 contact tracing team.

“If you have symptoms such as headache, fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell don’t wait, get tested,” said Johnson. “If your doctor isn’t providing testing, contact one of the local urgent cares. Call first for pre-emptive screening and to find out what the current protocols are for when you arrive. It’s also important to understand that anyone tested for COVID-19, even as a standard pre-operative precaution, needs to stay home and self-quarantine away from other family members as able until test results are received, and then follow instructions according to the test results.”

COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets; North Carolinians should take the same measures recommended to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, ESPECIALLY during the phased reopening. These measures include: 

Practice social distancing. To prevent community spread we need everyone to take social distancing seriously!

Wear a face covering over the nose AND mouth, especially when you will be in close contact with people.

Do what you can to NOT be a close contact with anyone

Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water for 20 seconds.

Regularly sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.

Avoid touching your face.

Cover coughs and sneezes, preferably with your elbow to avoid transferring germs to your hands.

Stay home if you are sick.

Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, NCDHHS at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, and Haywood County at https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/Coronavirus-Covid-19-Information.

Residents are encouraged to call 828.356.2019 for questions or concerns related to COVID-19.

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