Jackson County fire chief dies from COVID

The COVID-19 death count in Jackson County nearly doubled over the holiday season, increasing from 10 as of Nov. 25 to 18 as of Jan. 4. One of the lives lost was that of 66-year-old Darrell Woodard, a fixture in the community who led the Savannah Fire Department as chief for 36 years. 

Anti-mask, anti-vax views raise concerns

One of the loudest voices against masks and vaccines during recent public comment sessions in Haywood County also serves on a nonprofit health care board that’s charged with managing more than $12 million of taxpayer money meant to support public health. 

First COVID-19 vaccines make it to WNC

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun in Western North Carolina with the first doses going to healthcare workers and emergency medical technicians and paramedics on the frontlines. 

Food insecurity triples in WNC

Food insecurity in Western North Carolina has nearly tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic as people struggle to put food on the table. 

Waynesville passes State of Emergency ordinance

A routine update to the Town of Waynesville’s State of Emergency ordinance finally passed on Dec. 8 after being tabled for weeks due to an uproar among anti-mask citizens who embarked on a marathon series of public comment sessions in fear that the town was also planning to enact a mandatory mask-wearing edict.

‘Darkest before the dawn’: Sylva doctor contracts COVID amid rising cases, hospitalizations

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Sylva resident Ben Guiney was spending the morning decorating the Christmas tree with his wife and daughter, pondering the possibility of a mountain bike ride to take advantage of the unseasonably warm day. 

COVID-19 vaccine begins to roll out

The first COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered overseas as FDA approval is still underway in the U.S. 

COVID-19, a difficult problem for nursing homes

As the holiday season progresses, Western North Carolina has seen a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases. This rising spread has made its way into long-term care and assisted living facilities, where the elderly are at a higher risk for contraction and death. 

People urged to comply with contact tracing efforts

County health officials are urging residents to comply with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts if contacted by the health department. 

Gov. Cooper presents grim coronavirus numbers, new restrictions

Calling the stakes dire and the situation “a matter of life and death,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new modified “stay at home” order and threatened additional restrictive measures if the startling increase in the state’s coronavirus numbers doesn’t subside.

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