April 2 Update

Mitchell County Health Department Update

Latest April 2 Update:

April 2, 2020 District Numbers

Remember, no matter what the specific case count is in our district, community transmission is present in our state and region. When you choose to follow precautions like avoiding unnecessary outings, maintain distance from others, wash your hands often, disinfect spaces, and stay home when you are sick, you are choosing to protect yourself and everyone around you. That’s how we will win this war on our invisible enemy!

Avery – 50 People Tested
39 Negative Results
11 Pending Results
0 Positive Results

Mitchell – 44 People Tested
41 Negative Results
1 Pending Results
2 Positive (1 positive we have had + 1 new positive
from direct contact)

Yancey – 43 People Tested
24 Negative Results
19 Pending Results
0 Positive Results

All three of our health departments have tests and are continuing to test. We would prefer that it be an individual that fits into one of the categories above.

Why test people in these groups?
These individuals are the most likely to expose others. They are in group settings or they are people that could be admitted to the hospital. We would need to know if they have COVID-19 to protect them and everyone with which they come in contact. Essentially, we do NOT want healthcare workers having COVID-19 and exposing all their patients! Nor do we want a sick person in a hospital (or someone who could potentially end up there) spreading it to doctors and nurses, causing a shortage of healthy health care providers. We need to keep as many health care providers healthy as possible to not only care for COVID-19 patients but also to continue care for people with heart attacks, strokes, cancer, mothers giving birth, etc.

There are a couple of reasons for this. We have extremely accurate tests, but we don’t have enough tests to test the entire population. If we ran out of tests and needed to test someone in a vulnerable category, we could not. For example, if an EMS worker had a potential exposure, we want to test them quickly to see if they get a negative result and could come back to work quickly and help us should a call come in.

We also want to test a sick child whose condition is worsening and may have to be admitted to the hospital. We need to know if they have COVID-19 to protect existing patients in the hospital as well as the doctors. If we know that the child has COVID-19 we can admit them to an isolated room for everyone’s protection.

Most people recover well from COVID-19 without medical intervention. If a person has mild symptoms we don’t really need to test those persons. They just need to self-isolate at home and get better.

If we tested people with mild symptoms (and they really had COVID-19), as they left their homes, they could be accidentally exposing you or me on their way to get tested. They would also be potentially exposing health care workers. We just don’t want that. We need all our healthcare workers healthy and well and able to care for sick people.

So, whether someone tests or not, it doesn’t change the cure.

• Isolate at home
• Rest till you recover
• Contact your health provider should you have any questions or your symptoms worsen.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Anyone with more serious symptoms should call their doctor or 911 right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call your health department.
Avery Co. Health Department (828)-733-6031
Mitchell Co. Health Department (828)-688-2371
Yancey Co. Health Department (828)-682-6118

(as of evening of 4/1)

Second Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Mitchell County
Ledger, NC (April 1, 2020). The Mitchell County Health Department, part of Toe River Health District, was notified at 3:45 today that a Mitchell County resident has tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is in isolation.

Public health staff have already initiated an investigation and will be identifying close contacts to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the case will be released.

The Mitchell County Health Department will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.

It is important for the community to understand that the identification of additional case does not change our local strategies for preventing and reducing the spread of disease. Above all else, please isolate yourself at home if you are sick. Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you experience these symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and follow their advice. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms of COVID-19. Remember that 80% of coronavirus cases generate only mild symptoms.

“It’s especially important to be proactive at this time,” added Diane Creek, Mitchell County Health Director. “We are blessed in Mitchell County to have a strong community. Your public officials and county leadership are continuing to work to prepare for the impact of this virus. Community members can do their part by following the guidelines, and by remembering that we’re all in this together, and to support one another”.

Update from Mountain Community Health Partnership:

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Update from Mountain Community Health Partnership: – We have received notice of a second confirmed positive case in Mitchell county. This is a case with direct contact to the initial Mitchell County case, patient zero, thus the 2nd patient had already been isolated and quarantined. Mountain Community Health Partnership (MCHP) is working very closely with the Mitchell County Health Department to track all possible exposures from this case. The Health Department will reach out and advise those who have had contact with these cases. So if you were exposed you will receive a call from the Health Department. This has been a tireless effort on the part of the Health Department and MCHP to go above and beyond the CDC recommendations for quarantine in order to isolate as many contacts as is possible and to limit community spread.

The second patient has been quarantined since patient zero’s test came back positive. This step allowed us to limit exposures and thus limit as much spread as possible. Combined with the preemptive decision to close our lobbies, move patients to Telehealth visits and to temporarily close our Spruce Pine and Bakersville locations, MCHP has been able to protect our patients and staff from additional exposure. There were plans to reopen the Bakersville Health Center this week, but with this additional case we are postponing the reopening while reassessing how to best move forward. We want to provide as much information to the public as possible and at the same time protect the privacy of our patients and staff. Everyone needs to remember that the best defense to this disease is to STAY HOME and if you’re an essential service provider and need to be out, then practice good prevention techniques.

Our Celo Health Center remains open and has not been impacted by any cases or quarantines.
Our staff from the Mitchell County sites are still available by phone to manage your healthcare needs throughout this public health crisis.

Please remember that now we moved our clinic to a virtual clinic, with lots of telehealth options, we are still here and available by phone to continue to manage your needs throughout this public health crisis. Know that our providers, staff and organization have deep concern for all our patients and will always put the health of this community first. This disease has drastically affected the entire country and Mitchell County is not spared but we are strong, and we will get through this together.

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