April 10, 2020
Buncombe County Media Release: Second COVID-19 Death in Buncombe County
A U.S. military Veteran in his 80’s who was admitted to the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville has become the hospital’s first inpatient to pass away from COVID-19 complications. The veteran passed away April 9, 2020.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the Veteran,” said Stephanie Young, Director of the Western North Carolina VA Health Care System. “The Western North Carolina VA Health Care System family is saddened to lose one of our nation’s heroes. We would like to extend our most heartfelt sympathy to the family and all whose lives have been touched by this Veteran.”
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) reports this as the second Buncombe County resident to die from COVID-19 associated illness. To protect the privacy of the family, no further information about this patient will be released by BCHHS nor the Charles George VA Medical Center.
“COVID-19 continues to take a toll on our community. We are sad to announce this second COVID-19 related death and our thoughts are with the family at this time. Unfortunately, we believe that this will not be the last time that we are confronted with this kind of information.” said Interim Public Health Director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore.
It remains important for people in Buncombe County to take the guidance from public health professionals seriously. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people at high risk for severe medical consequences, including death are:
- People 65 years of age or older
- People of any age who have a high-risk condition that includes:
- chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- heart disease with complications
- weakened immune system
- severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, kidney failure or liver disease
- pregnancy – pregnant women should be followed closely by their healthcare providers since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness.
Buncombe County and all of its municipalities continue to be under a Stay Home, Stay Safe order for all people in Buncombe County. It is imperative that we all comply with the directives of the order, which include no gatherings of any number of people outside of a single household or living unit for any reason and strict guidance to eliminate all non-essential travel, services, or exposure to people outside of your immediate family unit.
At this time, there are a total of 37 lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, including two deaths, in Buncombe County.
Buncombe County First Responders Promote Community Preparedness
Will first responders know how many people are in your home in case of an emergency? Make sure they know how many kids, elderly, pets, and other critical information they might need when time is of the essence. Getting that valuable information to first responders is now easier for everyone in Buncombe County thanks to a new online platform. On behalf of all firefighters in Buncombe County and the City of Asheville, Asheville Fire Department Division Chief Dan Flinn announced the launch of Community Connect. “This saves lives. If we already know how many people we are looking for ahead of getting to a home, it makes our jobs safer and increases the chance of a better outcome,” said Flinn.
Community Connect is an online platform that allows you to share an overview of your household. To share your vital household information with first responders, visit buncombeready.org and click Community Connect. Your overview will inform first responders how many people are in your home (including pets), members of your household who have special needs or medical conditions, locations of bedrooms, where to shut off utilities, and other potentially life-saving information.
Start your profile at Community Connect.
For media inquiries regarding Community Connect, contact Chief Flinn at (828) 552-1353.
Buncombe County Superseding Declaration of Local State of Emergency documents:
Buncombe County: Buncombe County Public Health and Buncombe County Courts will be providing updates to community partners today at 2:30 pm today via Facebook Live @Buncombegov. Please send your questions to [email protected] by 12:30 pm. We will attempt to address the most frequently asked questions during our updates.
The President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. For more information, please following this link: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Updated 3/27/2020 at 9:35pm
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper executed a Stay at Home Order to become effective Monday, March 30 at 5:00pm. You can view or download the Executive Order here:
Updated 3/26/2020 at 2:04
Please see the document below for answers about what you or others in your family feel sick:
Updated 3/25/2020 at 3:49pm
The Town of Weaverville is receiving numerous calls from those who question whether their business is included in Buncombe County’s Stay Home Stay Safe declaration. Please see the following information and direct those questions accordingly per the County’s directive:
If the function of your business is not covered in the documents provided in the earlier update, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business from Buncombe County Government.
FOR ANY BUNCOMBE COUNTY BUSINESS LOOKING FOR EXEMPTION DURING SHUTDOWN Buncombe County has a process to evaluate businesses and allow them the ability to continue operations as an essential business IF they are deemed to be essential by following this process. Businesses not explicitly covered in this guidance are assumed to be non-essential until they are confirmed as essential by Buncombe County Government.
Send email to [email protected]
- In the email, provide the following:
a. Business Name
b. Point of Contact, including:
ii. Email address
iii. Phone number
iv. Mailing address
c. Nature of their business and why they should be deemed essential
d. Business website address Please be aware that this is a new process and Buncombe County is experiencing a high volume of requests, so the response could be delayed. Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.
Updated 3/25/2020 at 3:00pm
Buncombe County has enacted the following Supplemental Declaration for Stay Home, Stay Safe:
Sign up to receive emergency texts directly from Buncombe County for breaking health and safety news. Text BCALERT on your smart phone to 888-777 to receive alerts on important information such as floods, communicable disease, county office closings, and relevant traffic safety notifications OR visit buncombeready.org
Updated 3/23/2020 at 9:30am
Implementation of New Weaverville ABC Store Rules
Until further notice, the Weaverville ABC Store has implemented new store rules in order to protect its customers and staff from COVID-19 and keep the store open:
- The store will be open to customers from 10 am to 7 pm.
- If you are sick or under a quarantine or isolation order, do not come in the store. You can call 645-3399 and we can try to assist you.
- No more than 5 customers are allowed in the store at a time.
- Customers are not allowed to handle any products. Staff will be assisting customers by pulling bottles off of shelves and handling all merchandise through checkout. It is advisable to know what you want to purchase prior to entering the store.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation. Please continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of your families.
Updated 3/22/2020 at 3:00pm
BCHHS Media Release: March 22, 2020
Buncombe County Announces Additional COVID-19 Infections in Buncombe Residents
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has identified additional cases of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in Buncombe County residents. These additional cases mean that there are now three known cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County residents and one COVID-19 case associated with a traveler to Buncombe County.
First COVID-19 Case Associated with Buncombe County:
The individual, a resident of New York State, visited Asheville March 10-13, 2020, at which time they developed symptoms of COVID-19. They were tested by BCHHS Communicable Disease staff and immediately traveled on to Macon County for isolation. BCHHS Communicable Disease staff notified the individual’s close contacts and provided them with appropriate guidance.
Second Confirmed Case:
The second confirmed case, announced on March 21, 2020, is a Buncombe County resident who was tested on March 16, 2020. Since being tested for COVID-19, they have been in isolation. The source of this individual’s infection is unknown at this time. BCHHS Communicable Disease staff continue to identify, notify and interview this individual’s close contacts. All asymptomatic contacts are instructed to stay at home and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following their last contact to the case. Symptomatic close contacts are being sent for testing for COVID-19 and instructed to isolate themselves at home until further direction from BCHHS Public Health.
Third Confirmed Case:
The third confirmed case, announced March 22, 2020, is a resident of Buncombe County who was a close contact to the traveler from New York State. They became symptomatic on March 15, 2020, the date they were tested. The individual has been isolated at their home since they were tested. BCHHS Communicable Disease staff have notified all their close contacts and provided them with appropriate guidance.
Fourth Confirmed Case:
The fourth confirmed case, announced on March 22, 2020, is a resident of Buncombe County who had recent out-of-state travel, which is suspected as being the source of their infection. This person became symptomatic on March 15 and was tested for COVID-19 on March 17. They have been isolated at home since they developed symptoms. BCHHS Communicable Disease staff have notified all their close contacts and provided them with appropriate guidance.
All Buncombe County residents who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 are doing well under home isolation and remain cooperative with BCHHS Public Health staff. Further details about these individuals will not be released by BCHHS Public Health to protect their privacy.
Over the weekend, results have returned from over 100 COVID-19 tests performed by Buncombe County staff last week at community testing sites. Only one case of COVID-19 has been identified through this testing thus far. Over 200 additional test results are pending at this time.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever and cough or difficulty breathing), please call your healthcare provider for evaluation. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call a local urgent care or Buncombe County Public Health at 828-250-5300. Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19, and please do not go to the emergency department unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care.
Key steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission include:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about COVID-19. Visit buncombecounty.org for up-to-date local news and prevention measures. State and national information on COVID-19 can be found on North Carolina’s COVID-19 webpage and www.cdc.gov/covid19.
Updated 3/21/2020 at 3:50pm
Town of Weaverville: In our further efforts to discourage gatherings and to encourage social distancing to ensure our residents and visitors safety, Town parks will be closed at 5pm until further notice. This applies to all Lake Louise Park and Main Street Nature Park amenities, including but not limited to trails, walkways, playground equipment, picnic tables, shelters, open areas, fishing, etc. Please know that this hasn’t been an easy decision, but the decision has been made with the best interests of our public at the forefront. Please continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of your families.
Updated 3/19/2020 at 7:41pm
Further Clarification to address Frequently Asked Questions about Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration
In light of new information today regarding the presence of community spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, local jurisdictions should enforce the more stringent Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Governor’s Order of Abatement.
In Buncombe County, the Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration limits public gatherings to no more than 10 people. This order applies to all of Buncombe County and its six municipalities and went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19.
The intent of this Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Buncombe County through social distancing. Social Distancing is a specific strategy, proven by data to severely lessen the impact of high consequence pathogens by minimizing the opportunity for close contact encounters.
The declaration achieves this goal by mandating the closure of specified businesses and entertainment venues.
This Declaration applies to gyms and fitness centers (include: martial arts studios, cross-fit gyms, dance studios) indoor pools, spas (spas include: massage parlors, medical spas, nail salons, beauty parlors, hair dressers, even one chair salons, barber shops) and tattoo parlors, movie theaters, live performance venues, and arcades (including bowling alleys, indoor recreation centers, climbing gyms, trampoline parks, escape rooms).
This is not an exhaustive list. If your business or service delivery requires you to be within 6 ft. of another person for a duration of 10 minutes or more, then it is likely that it falls within the Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration.
This Declaration does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware stores, gas stations, farmers markets, and food distribution sites selling prepared food. These are locations where the public are not generally in close contact with other patrons.
This local Declaration also mandates that there will be no public gatherings of Ten (10) persons or more. This limitation on gatherings to 10 people does not include normal operations at medical facilities, recovery groups, airports, bus and train stations, shopping malls, office environments, factories, and child care centers.
Essential health and safety services are exempt from this Declaration. Again, this is an effort to be proactive and to save lives. This next week is absolutely critical in Buncombe Counties fight against the spread of COVID-19. These enhanced measures we are implementing now are vital in reducing the impact the disease will have on our community in the long-term. Buncombe County Public Health will re-evaluate these measures ongoing on Friday, March 27, 2020.
More information at www.buncombecounty.org
Updated 3/19/2020 at 6:45pm
View or download today’s Supplemental Declaration of Local State of Emergency by Buncombe County and All Municipalities:
Press Release from Buncombe County:
***Revised to clarify outdoor dining is outdoor gathering***
County Declaration Mandates Expansion of Social Distancing, Closes Certain Businesses
As part of Buncombe County’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be increased measures as part of a Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration. The intent of this declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Buncombe County through social distancing. “Social Distancing is a specific strategy proven by data to severely lessen the impact of high-consequence pathogens by minimizing the opportunity for close contact encounters,” explained County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Fletcher Tove. “The declaration achieves this goal by mandating the closure of specific businesses and entertainment venues and limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people.” This order applies to all of Buncombe County and its six municipalities and is effective Thursday, March 19 at 5 p.m.
Buncombe County Public Health has determined an imminent hazard exists, and this is a critical step aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing contact within a range of six feet for a duration of at least ten minutes. This Declaration applies to gyms, fitness centers and exercise facilities, indoor pools, spas, movie theaters, live performance venues and arcades.
This declaration does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware markets, gas stations, farmers markets, and food distribution sites selling prepared food. “These are locations where the public are not generally in close contact with other patrons,” said Tove.
Also, the limitation on gatherings of 10 people does not include normal operations at medical facilities, airports, bus and train stations, shopping malls, office environments, factories, and child care centers.
Please be aware, this order is more restrictive than Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 118 in regards to restaurant, bar, and brewery operations, in that it also limits outdoor gathering to 10 people or less, regardless of available space.
Buncombe County thanks you in advance for understanding this order is imperative to protect our community’s most vulnerable people while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Updated 3/19/2020 at 3:15pm
- A Supplemental Declaration of Local State of Emergency by Buncombe County, with the consent of the Town of Weaverville, has now been signed into effect prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more indivuduals immediately and requires closure of pools, spas, and gyms at 5pm today.
Updated 3/18/2020 at 1:45pm
- As we practice social distancing, the Town encourages you to to remember our local businesses and restaurants. Although restaurants have been ordered by Governor Cooper to close their sit-down dining, they are open for take-out and delivery.
- Beginning Friday, March 20, 2020, the Weaverville ABC Store will be adjusting its hours to open from 10:00am-7:00pm.
- There remains only one known case of COVID-19 associated with Buncombe County, who remains quarantined in Macon County. Buncombe County and other medical care providers have tested over 260 persons as of 6pm on 3/17/2020. This testing continues and test results are expected within 3 – 4 days.
Updated 3/17/2020 at 4:37pm
Some of today’s developments regarding COVID-19 preparedness:
- Two drive-though COVID19 testing sites have opened in Buncombe County. Testing sites are located at Biltmore Church in Arden and at UNC-Asheville on WT Weaver Boulevard. Based on the availability of testing supplies, the sites will continue to operate throughout the week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.
- North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper ordered that restaurants and bars end dine-in service. Businesses may still provide take-out and delivery.
- Those interested in getting text updates from Buncombe County may text BC Alert to 888-777 or review information at buncombecounty.org/bcready
Updated 3/17/2020 at 10:15am
Town of Weaverville Mayor Al Root has delared a State of Emergency for Weaverville as defined in N.C. General Statute166A-19.22(b)(1). The Proclamation can be downloaded here:
An excerpt of this Proclamation follows:
WHEREAS, the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can spread from person to person and result in serious illness or death; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020; and
WHEREAS, on March 10, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order Number 116 declaring a State of Emergency for the State of North Carolina based on the public health emergency posed by COVID-19, and, on March 12, 2020, Buncombe County followed suit and declared a Local State of Emergency; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Weaverville has the authority pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166-19.22 to declare a Town-wide State of Emergency; and
WHEREAS, the Town’s ability to declare a State of Emergency has been vested in the Town’s Mayor pursuant to Section 8-32 of the Town of Weaverville Code of Ordinances; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned, in consultation with local health officials and emergency management officials, has determined that it is necessary and appropriate to act to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents of and visitors to the Town of Weaverville remain safe and secure;
NOW, THEREFORE, by the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of North Carolina as the Mayor of the Town of Weaverville, IT IS ORDERED:
- Section 1: State of Emergency – I hereby declare a State of Emergency as that term is defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.3(6) and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.3(19) for the Town ofWeaverville based on the public health emergency posed by COVID-19.
- Section 2: County Emergency Declaration – The Town of Weaverville, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.22(b)(2) consents to extending the Declaration of Local State of Emergency issued by Buncombe County on March 12, 2020, to the entirety of the Town of Weaverville.
- Section 3: Limitation on Organized Assemblies on Town-Owned Property – Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.31(b)(1) and Section 8-32(b)(3) of the Weaverville Town Code, it shall be prohibited for any organized group of 50 persons to assemble or gather on property owned by the Town of Weaverville until this Declaration has been rescinded. The prohibition shall be construed to include events hosted on Town-owned property that are expected to attract 50 or more people. This prohibition applies only to assemblies on Town-owned property and does not purport to regulate or limit any such gatherings on privately owned property.
- Section 4: Term and Future Modifications – The State of Emergency declared herein shall continue until it is expressly rescinded and may be amended by issuance of a subsequent proclamation as conditions warrant.
- Section 5: Dissemination – The Town directs that copies of this Proclamation be disseminated to the mass communications media for publication and broadcast, and that a copy of this Proclamation be posted at Town Hall and other Town-owned buildings as appropriate.
THIS the 17th day of March, 2020.
Signed: Allan P. Root, Mayor
Attest: Derek K. Huninghake, Town Clerk
Updated 3/16/2020 at 5:36pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Selena Coffey, Town Manager
Town of Weaverville
Phone (828) 645-7116
TOWN OF WEAVERVILLE RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Weaverville, March 16, 2020 – The Town of Weaverville has implemented proactive measures as a precaution to limit transmission of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19, including closing its buildings to public access and prohibiting gatherings in the community room and recreational facilities (playground equipment, outdoor fitness equipment, pavilions, picnic sheds and the Nature Park stage) normally used for that purpose, until further notice. Town services such as fire protection, law enforcement, water services, and garbage collection will continue uninterrupted. Administrative (finance, water billing, tax collections, zoning, etc.) can be accessed electronically or by phone. Please consult the Town’s website at www.weavervillenc.org or call (828) 645-7116 at Town Hall with questions or for more information. You may also contact the respective departments listed below for their services:
Weaverville Fire Department: (828) 645-3500
Weaverville Police Department: (828) 645-5700
Weaverville Public Works: (828) 645-0606
Thank you for your cooperation as we all do our best to protect our family, friends, and neighbors, during this unprecedented time.
Updated 3/16/2020 at 10:32 am:
NOTICE: Town Hall is making precautionary adustments for those who come in-person to Town Hall to pay water bills, taxes, etc. We would like to ask that those who come to pay these bills in-person to begin using the drive-up drop box which is located in the parking lot behind Town Hall. We have also ordered a drop box to be installed in front of Town Hall and we hope to have this in place as soon as possible. If you need a receipt for your payments, please call us at (828) 645-7116. You may also pay online or via mail per this link to the Town’s website: https://weavervillenc.org/departments/paying-town-bills/. Thank you for your understanding.
Updated 3/12/2020 at 5:52pm:
Weaverville’s Mayor Al Root authorized joining Buncombe County’s collaborative Declaration of Local State of Emergency for our Town. Although we are yet to have a confirmed or presumptive case of COVID-19 in Buncombe County, this Declaration allows Town government the ability to impose restrictions or prohibitions in our jurisdiction to safeguard the well-being of our public. You may view or download the Declaration here:
There are NO presumptive positive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County. The Town continues to colloborate with the County’s Management and Emergency Preparedness Team in its COVID-19 prevention and preparedness planning, alongside all other municipalities within the County. We continue weekly conference calls on this matter and the Town will continue to keep you, our public, updated as we receive new information. We encourage you to review and stayed updated by following this link: https://www.buncombecounty.org/Governing/Depts/Health/news_detail.aspx?newsid=18491
While there currently are no cases of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in Buncombe County, N.C. at this time, it is time for all of us to prepare for its potential arrival. Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) Public Health Preparedness is available as a resource to support the Town’s efforts to prevent exposure and spread of acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in our community. The following information has been provided for our community.