ASHEVILLE – In the last week, North Carolina has tallied 13,153 new cases of COVID-19 and 178 people have died.
As of midday Friday, there had been 122,148 lab-confirmed cases of the illness, including 1,924 deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
There were 1,229 people in hospitals with the novel coronavirus in the state. That was down from a record 1,291 reported Wednesday and 1,239 reported Thursday.
The state-reported numbers differ slightly from the Johns Hopkins University report in the graphic above. As of about noon July 30, JHU counted 4,542,433 confirmed cases and 152,940 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the United States. JHU’s worldwide tally was 17,421,013 cases and 675,545 deaths.
As of noon Friday, NCDHHS reported that there were 1,605 cases in Buncombe County — up 261 from the week before. The state listed 46 deaths of Buncombe residents, which is three more than the week prior.
Confirmed cases in other Western North Carolina counties, according to state counts:
- Avery: 79 cases, 0 deaths.
- Cherokee: 228 cases, 3 deaths.
- Clay: 56 cases, 0 deaths.
- Graham: 23 cases, 0 deaths.
- Haywood: 276 cases, 3 deaths.
- Henderson: 1,344 cases, 53 deaths.
- Jackson: 389 cases, 3 deaths.
- Macon: 439 cases, 2 death.
- Madison: 38 cases, 0 deaths.
- McDowell: 573 cases, 8 deaths.
- Mitchell: 74 cases, 2 death.
- Polk: 132 cases, 5 deaths.
- Swain: 103 cases, 2 deaths.
- Transylvania: 121 cases, 1 death.
- Watauga: 247 cases, 0 deaths.
- Yancey: 72 cases, 0 deaths.
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Takeaways from the July 30 update
Buncombe interim health director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore offered an update July 30 on the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- Buncombe has continued to see a sustained increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in county residents daily with an average of 41 new cases reported daily over the past week. This is down slightly from an average of 43 new cases reported daily the prior week.
- Almost 58% of the county’s cases have been in individuals between the ages of 18-49.
- In Buncombe County, during the month of July, 5% percent of tests have come back positive for COVID-19. This is up from 2-3% in June.
- Based on the data, Mullendore said the public should be acting as if everyone in the community has COVID-19.
- COVID-19 testing is available through primary care providers, community health centers, urgent cares, hospital systems and pharmacies. For more information about testing locations, please visit North Carolina’s COVID-19 Find My Testing Site webpage or call 828-250-5300.
- Planning and logistics for the Buncombe County community testing sites are underway. Health officials have finalized a contract with a local lab and are hiring additional staff.
Tourism returns with some, but not all, wearing masks
Hotel occupancy is up 10% in the last month in Asheville and Buncombe. A nationwide survey shows more people are willing to comply with coronavirus health guidelines, like wearing face coverings.
But that’s not true for everyone.
Booze curfew tamps down potential COVID hot spots, puts some businesses in hot water
Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week a statewide curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants, citing a need to “double down” on policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As of Friday, restaurants must stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m. to comply with the new executive order. Cooper also said bars will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
In some regards, the order can’t come a minute too soon, with the state now seeing record COVID-related hospitalizations. But there are few winners in a global pandemic, and for some business owners the new mandate is another blow in an already tough year.
What it’s like working in restaurants during COVID-19
Speaking of restaurants: With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, workers and restaurant owners say coping with the new normal involves an array of emotions, ranging from heart-swelling appreciation of supportive locals to stressed-out anxiety.
Blue Ridge Parkway begins to open campgrounds that have been closed through COVID pandemic
The Blue Ridge Parkway has started to open some campgrounds that have been closed through the coronavirus pandemic, although many facilities and visitor centers remain closed.
According to a National Park Service news release, the parkway is opening the campgrounds “following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities.”
N.C. High School Athletic Association will move to Phase 2
The N.C. High School Athletic Association will allow public schools to move to Phase 2 on Aug. 3 in its summer guidelines for athletics, but did not remove many restrictions from its opening phase.
Buncombe County Schools to return under “Plan B Beyond”
Buncombe County Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year with a “Plan B Beyond” that emphasizes remote learning after some contentious debate and a split vote by the school board.
The decision comes as cases of COVID-19 rise at an accelerated pace in Buncombe. It also follows a July 23 announcement that Asheville City Schools will begin the school year with at-home remote learning for at least nine weeks for K-12 grades.
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