In trying times, the cream rises to the top

If it feels like we’ve seen this all before, it’s because we have. All of a sudden, we are all characters in our very own dystopian movie, with a virus on the loose that has already killed thousands of people around the world and has the potential to kill millions, a feckless President whose utter ineptitude has made a bad situation much worse, and a country that by the beginning of this week was on the verge of complete lockdown.

Fontana Regional Library branches closed

All Fontana Regional Library locations in Macon, Jackson, and Swain counties will be closed to the public through March 31, although phone calls will be answered.

Schools mitigate COVID-19 closures

As schools shut down across the state as part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order, public school systems are trying to mitigate the impact on local families. 

Organizations step up the fight against COVID-19

Of all the socioeconomic and educational weaknesses lain bare by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 perhaps none is more disturbing than the fact that the closure of public schools has resulted for many children not just in a loss of education, but also a loss of nutrition. 

WNC health officials prepared for COVID-19

Just in the last week, the number of COVID-19 cases reported in North Carolina has grown from seven cases to 40, but as of March 17 no confirmed cases have been reported in Western North Carolina. 

Casino responds to coronavirus with two-week closure

For the first time in its 23-year history, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos is closed. 

NYC resident tests positive for COVID-19 in Macon

A New York resident that tested positive for COVID-19 is being monitored and following isolation orders in Macon County. The test, conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, is presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

WCU, community colleges adjust plans ahead of COVID-19

Students at Western North Carolina’s institutions of higher learning will see impacts to their spring semester experiences as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Riley Howell race postponed

A race scheduled for April 4 honoring hometown hero Riley Howell has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns. 

Bad choices will make things worse

By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | There are over 200 cases of coronavirus that have appeared in Italy, with three deaths as of Feb. 21. It’s possible patient one had symptoms for five days before seeking help. 

Currently, there are over 500,000 people in North Carolina who have no medical insurance, and several thousand are here in the mountains. Careful health surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that people with no medical insurance delay seeing a medical provider for financial reasons. Is it inconceivable that someone with a highly contagious disease could remain under the radar, and without knowing it, spread the infection, because a visit to the ER and lab test could cost them $300 or more out of pocket.

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