In Buncombe County, the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday afternoon confirmed 12 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 4 out of state travelers, and the case count is expected to increase, as stated by Dr. Jennifer Mullendore during a community briefing on Tuesday.

"As we are now seeing community spread of Covid across NC and locally, guidance to healthcare providers of on testing Covid-19 has changed," said Mullendore. "Testing is no longer recommended to those with mild illness — a fever and cough that can be managed safely at home. The concern is if people with mild illness due to Covid-19 or another respiratory illness leave their home to get tested, they could spread their illness to others."

Mullendore encourages anyone who has a fever and cough or difficulty breathing to contact healthcare providers.

"Many are now using phone triage and telehealth services to assess patients and they can help answer your questions," she said on Tuesday.

Mullendore said that as BCHHS conducts its investigations, they continue to find that Buncombe has what appears to be local transmission of Covid-19.

"Therefore it remains important that every one of us does our part to protect ourselves, our family and friends, our customers, coworkers and our entire community," Mullendore said. "Each of us has a significant role to play in changing the course of this illness in our community. I thank those of you who have stepped up and are following our guidance. And for those of you who have not got on board, this is the time."

"For all of us, even if we feel healthy, now is not the time to leave our home and socialize with others, stay home," she added. "Pay attention to your health every day, if you have fever or cough or if you just don't feel well, stay home. It doesn't matter if you have Covid-19 or not. We don't want you  to spread your germs to others."

Everyone is encouraged to continue washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, and clean and disinfect surfaces touched frequently.

"These practices are our front lines of defense in protecting ourselves from Covid-19," she said. 

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.

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.

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