Hooked on Haywood: County’s expanded outdoor programming offers new ways to explore

“My name is Tommy Thomas. I’ve been fly fishing 30, maybe closer to 40 years now,” says the man wearing a reel of fishing line as a necklace, by way of introducing himself to the couple dozen people gathered for a morning fly fishing class May 7 at Lake Junaluska Dam.

Investment continues flowing into Haywood County

There’s not yet a lot of information about the latest economic development announcement made by Haywood County commissioners — the fourth in four weeks — but coupled with the previous three, “Project Surrey” pushes total spending commitments in the county to nearly $60 million since early April. 

Spectators allowed at Haywood graduations

Graduation ceremonies will be allowed as many spectators as school sporting events this spring, after the Haywood County Schools Board of Education authorized Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte to use spectator rules for non-athletic, end-of-year programs and ceremonies. 

Decision time coming for Haywood budget

Although the recommended budget won’t be presented for another two weeks, Haywood County Manager Bryant Morehead took the opportunity on May 3 to present commissioners with a picture of what it might look like — on the heels of a historic revaluation that saw property values increase by nearly 20 percent countywide.

Transparency concerns hobble DWA contract renewal bid

Despite more than three decades of service to Waynesville’s downtown municipal service district, the organization charged with managing it now finds itself in the fight of its political life. 

Haywood school board approves budget

Haywood County Schools Local Expense Budget is set to look very similar to years past, with the COVID-19 Pandemic causing only a few exceptions. 

Growing pains at Haywood Community College

In preparing for Haywood Community College’s first post-pandemic budget, President Dr. Shelley White presented a stable operating budget but asked for substantial capital spending in line with the school’s growth.

Prosperity brings expansion, incentives for Haywood businesses

Things are going so well at two of Haywood County’s best-known industrial employers that they’re both hiring and expanding, making them eligible for the county’s economic development incentive plan. 

Haywood County COVID-19 update

“To date, over 18,000 people in Haywood County are at least partially vaccinated. Mass vaccination efforts have been running smoothly, despite challenges with weather, location changes, and the sheer volume of the task. From the moment of the first vaccine arrival in Haywood County to now, the goal has always been to vaccinate everyone that wants to be in a timely and efficient way. To that end, we are constantly refining the process and this week we are pleased to announce a change that we believe will make appointment scheduling even easier moving forward,” said Haywood County Vaccine Coordinator Garron Bradish.

In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the user experience Haywood County will transition from its current COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system to a system by which citizens can self-schedule for available vaccine appointments beginning April 14.

 

Transition to self-scheduling —

What’s New:

  • Beginning April 14 citizens visiting the existing pre-registration portal (https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine) will now be able to schedule their own vaccine appointment from available dates and times. No more registering and waiting for a phone call.

  • During the transition period, a limited amount of self-schedule appointment times will be available. That number will steadily increase as we finish vaccinating people who were pre-registered prior to the new system implementation.

What stays the same:

  • The website address for vaccine appointments will remain the same as it has been: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine  Visitors to this link will see the new portal instead of the pre-registration form beginning April 14, until that date, citizens can still use the existing form to pre-register.

  • Haywood County will continue to prioritize appointments for those on the existing pre-registration list, based on registration date until that list is completed.

  • Those needing assistance with scheduling their vaccine appointment or follow-up questions about vaccine appointments are encouraged to call the Haywood County COVID Vaccine hotline at 828-356-2019.

  • The primary vaccination site will remain at the Smoky Mountain Event Center, with the exception of the week of April 5 when we will furlough for Spring Break.

Important to know: 

  • Citizens are urged NOT to double register. If you already pre-registered prior to April 14, DO NOT use the self-scheduling portal to book an appointment. Health and Human Services already have your registration and you will receive a call to schedule your appointment time in the order in which registrations were received. Those on the pre-registration list will be prioritized during the transition period that is expected to last a few weeks.

 

Where to find COVID-19 vaccine information:

  • For vaccine appointment or registration questions call: 828-356-2019

  • Please do not call the health department’s main number for COVID-19 vaccination questions, use the hotline number instead.

  • For general COVID-19 information visit https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/COVID-19-Information

Vaccinations by the numbers:

Total first shots given so far: 18,041* 

*This figure now includes federal vaccination programs through pharmacies.

First shots given this week at Haywood County drive-through events: 800+

 

Currently vaccinating: 

  • Haywood residents of all eligible groups (1-4)

 

Currently registering: Haywood Residents 18 and up

To register online visit: haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine

or by phone at 828-356-2019 (hours of operation for the phone line are Monday - Friday 8 a.m - 5 pm..) 

 

Vaccination groups completed:

  • Long term care facility residents and staff

  • Hospital and doctor’s office staff

  • Health Department, Emergency Services, and Vaccine Clinic staff

  • County and municipal critical staff

  • Haywood residents ages 75+

  • Haywood residents 65+

 

Vaccination groups nearing completion:

  • Haywood County educators

 

What to know for Group 3 & 4 in Haywood County —

  • Vaccination eligibility is open to everyone in Groups 3 & 4. Appointments will still be required.

 

Vaccination capacity: The county expects to receive an allotment of 400 Moderna doses this coming week. Since Haywood County will not have its mass vaccination clinic during the week of Spring Break, that allotment will be transferred to Range Urgent Care in Asheville under a vaccine exchange program to supply vaccines to providers best able to distribute them in a timely manner. 

 

Haywood County is also receiving 400 doses of Johnson & Johnson, which will be used throughout April at mobile clinics.

 

Accepting First Dose Appointment: 

  • Time and location details for first dose appointments go out through an automated phone/text/email system. Listen carefully for appointment location and time.

  • Do not accept the appointment for the initial dose if you cannot commit to being available on the day your second dose should be given. Second doses are due 21 days or 28 days after the first dose, depending on the vaccine given, which we will not know until the day of the clinic. If you plan to be out of town or having a scheduled surgery or some other conflict you should wait and not start the vaccine until you can receive all doses here in Haywood County, on time.

  • If you decline an appointment, your name remains on the list to be called for a future first dose clinic. You do not have to register again.

 

Second dose information:

  • Over 800 people received second doses this week, completing their COVID-19 vaccination regimen. For most people, full immunity potential is reached about two weeks after receiving the second dose. For J&J vaccine, the full benefit is reached 4 weeks after the single dose. It is important to continue wearing masks and following other COVID protocols even after immunity is reached.

  • Second doses are allocated separately dependent on the number of first doses given. So far, second dose allocations appear to be arriving right on schedule and we anticipate no issues here.

  • The second appointment dates for Moderna are due 28 days after the initial dose. Appointments for Pfizer are due 21 days after the initial dose. (If you have been vaccinated already, your second appointment date can be found on the back of your vaccine card.)

  • Time and location details for second appointments will go out via the same phone system through which you received your first appointment. 

 

Organizations dispensing vaccine*:

  • Haywood County Health and Human Services 

  • Haywood Regional Medical Center (partnering with HHSA for distribution)

  • Blue Ridge Community Health: 100 doses per week

  • Walgreens: 100 doses per location per week

  • Ingles: Canton

 

*All organizations are offering vaccinations by appointment only.

 

Mass Vaccination Clinics:

  • Haywood County Health and Human Services, Haywood County Emergency Services, and Haywood Regional Medical Center are partnering on the weekly vaccine clinics.

  • The clinics serve those on the pre-registry list who have been contacted with an appointment time and are NOT open to the public or to walk-ins. 

  • Instructions on how to participate will be given when appointment times are scheduled.

  • About 800 people received their first shots at mass clinic events this week in Haywood.

  • Huge thanks to all the volunteers, churches, and individuals who contribute to the success of these events. 

 

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and the prioritization goals visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

 

At each step of the way,  Haywood County Health and Human Services is committed to providing updates and guidance to make sure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have their chance.

 

Key Points about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • The vaccine is tested, safe, and effective

  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine

  • The vaccine will be provided free of charge to everyone that wants it.

  • For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, two doses are needed for maximum immunity.

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

  • There is no vaccine mandate.

  • Continuing the 3Ws will be critical until the vaccine is widely taken

 

Summary of Key Updates this week:

  • There will be no mass vaccination event next week due to Spring Break.

  • In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the user experience Haywood County will transition from its current COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system to a system by which citizens can self-schedule for available vaccine appointments beginning April 14.

  • The Haywood County mass vaccination appointments will continue to be located at the Smoky Mountain Event Center (fairgrounds).

Compromise on new jail project urged

Bob Clark • Guest Columnist | The request to the Haywood County commissioners from the Sheriff’s Department for $15 million to expand the county jail helped create a great opportunity for the commissioners. That opportunity arose when a significant, broad-based and factual public response was made questioning whether some of that money wouldn’t be better spent to help people stay out of jail as well as out of our clogged court system.

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