Lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County continued to rise dramatically over the last week. Based on the data on the state’s COVID dashboard, there have been 992 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County residents as of noon July 16.

This is an increase of 215 cases from the same time last week. More than 55% of lab-confirmed cases in our county have been in people between the ages of 18-49.

"We are seeing many cases tied to household contacts, coworkers, vacations with family and friends, attendance at parties and other gatherings," said Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, Interim Public Health Director/Medical Director Buncombe County. "Sadly, 42 county residents have died as a result of their infection, including 37 residents of four local long-term care facilities."

However, with the long time it continues to take to get results, if you are tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19 or because you were a close contact to someone with COVID-19, you should stay at home, away from others, including those in your household, while you await your test results

Additionally, because this virus so easily spreads within households, if you were tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19, everyone in your household should stay home as much as possible until your results are known.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been outbreaks at 12 long-term care facilities in Buncombe County, including 10 with active outbreaks.

The increase in outbreaks in these facilities is a reflection of the increased spread we are seeing in our community.

Over 20,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed on residents of Buncombe County and staff who work in LTCFs in Buncombe County since the start of this pandemic response

In NC as a whole, 9% of COVID-19 tests performed are coming back positive

"In Buncombe County, over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a greater percentage of tests come back positive for COVID-19," said Mullendore. "This indicates that we are seeing more spread of the infection in our community."

Two weeks ago, 2% of COVID tests on county residents came back positive for COVID, last week it was 4%. Currently, 5% of tests on county residents are coming back positive.

"We all must take actions to protect ourselves and prevent further spread,"Mullendore said. "It is up to each one of us to keep ourselves, our families, our friends and coworkers and the most vulnerable in our community safe."

  • If you meet any of the following criteria, we are recommending that you get tested for COVID-19:
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, whether or not you have symptoms
  • People in the following groups who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not you have symptoms:
  • Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
  • Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
  • Persons from historically marginalized populations (meaning Black and Indigenous People and People of Color)
  • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
  • Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, construction workers, food processing plant workers, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
  • People who attended mass gatherings of any type, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing.

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