COVID-19 News Update: 10/23/20

October 23, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 10/23/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information. 

Here are the COVID-19 stats for Buncombe County and North Carolina

Buncombe County 

  • Positive cases: 3,794
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 3,598

North Carolina as a whole 

  • Positive cases: 258,292
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 238,939

North Carolina to remain paused in Phase 3

Governor Roy Cooper announced this week that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.

“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Governor Cooper. “Wearing a mask shows you care about people. Wearing a mask is an easy way to protect our communities and look out for each other. Confronting the virus head on and doing our part as individuals is good for our health and good for our economy.”

Local COVID-19 rates spiking at rates previously unseen since July

 Local COVID-19 infections are spiking at the same rates seen during the first surge back in July, Buncombe County’s top health official said, with cases appearing to be linked to lack of basic precautions.

“As our communicable disease teams are doing the case investigations, they’re not finding any one particular location or facility site that folks are visiting more than others,” Health Director Stacie Saunders told Buncombe’s Board of Commissioners during an Oct 20 pandemic update. “But what they are finding is that people are out and about. Sometimes with symptoms.”

Saunders gave the latest county report as much of the world is watching a second wave of infections rise up at the same time the northern hemisphere moves into the heart of flu season.

In Mission Hospital the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had also risen to July’s highest levels, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. William Hathaway. Mission’s and the county’s numbers overlap but don’t cover the same population since the health department tracks infections among residents, while Mission has patients from in and outside the county.

“What you see that is concerning to me is we are approaching If not, surpassing our peak of patients that we have hospitalized in July,” Hathaway said.