COVID-19 News Update: 10/30/20

October 30, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 10/30/20. 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: 4,212
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 3,794

North Carolina as a whole 

  • Positive cases: 271,830
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 258,292

North Carolina issues new executive order to prevent evictions this winter

From the Mountain Xpress

Winter is coming, and Gov. Roy Cooper wants to keep North Carolinians from ending up in the cold. Per Executive Order 171, signed with the concurrence of the Council of State on Oct. 28, more state residents will be protected under a federal evictions moratorium through the end of the year.

Cooper said the order would clear up legal confusion about whether the moratorium, issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, covered tenants who live outside of federally subsidized housing. EO 171 explicitly states that all renters who meet certain income-based criteria qualify for temporary immunity from evictions.

The order also requires landlords to notify their tenants of the CDC moratorium before initiating eviction proceedings. “Confusion over who this order protects has caused inconsistent enforcement and unwarranted evictions in some parts of the state,” Cooper’s office noted in a press release announcing the move.

Asheville to seek $890k in additional COVID relief

From the Citizen-Times

The city will seek an additional $889,456 in federal pandemic aid to prevent evictions and homelessness.

The City Council plans to vote Nov. 10 on the request for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security aid. The new money would bring the city’s total CARES Act receipts to $3.5 million.

Asheville’s elected officials discussed the aid package at an Oct. 27 meeting where Councilman Brian Haynes called for new restrictions on hotels and other businesses in light of recent case spikes.

“I really feel like we’ve reached that point. And that we need to seriously have that discussion,” Haynes said.

The latest round of CARES money would go through the city’s Community Development Block Grant funding stream. The city has already used $615,934 in CARES money through that stream for homelessness aid and rental assistance, Asheville Community Development Director Paul D’Angelo told council members.

“Those initiatives have begun, and while they are so far successful, current community needs are anticipated to far exceed the available funding from that initial round,” he said, adding that rental assistance continues to be the main request from people calling into the 211 social services help line.

COVID surging in North Carolina

From Carolina Public Press 

Monday ended North Carolina’s deadliest seven-day period for COVID-19, with another 223 people dead from the disease caused by the new coronavirus. To date 4,245 have died — well beyond even a bad flu year in just 10 months. Each week seems to set a new milestone for North Carolina’s coronavirus metrics. More than 1-in-10 of the state’s 266,136 cases recorded since the start of the pandemic have been reported in the past two weeks. While the virus was largely in urban areas in September, the latest numbers show the virus has now gripped rural areas, both in North Carolina and nationwide.

That’s not surprising to Dr. William Hathaway, chief medical officer for Mission Health/HCA Healthcare North Carolina Division in Asheville, who keeps a close eye on the numbers and hospitals around the region. “It hasn’t by any means overwhelmed us. But the trends — you never know which day is going to be the exponential explosion versus just a few more cases, so yes, it has us very concerned.”

An explosion in positive cases is typically followed by people seeking treatment at the hospital a week or two later, which, after another week, is then followed by more deaths due to the virus. Doctors around the globe have since lowered those case fatality rates, and hospitals in North Carolina, including Mission, are poised to rapidly increase the number of intensive care unit beds if needed.

City of Asheville extends COVID-19 shelter program

From WLOS 

The city of Asheville’s program to shelter the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended. The city has been using FEMA money to pay for the program at the Red Roof Inn in West Asheville. At their meeting Tuesday night, council members voted to extend the program through the beginning of February 2021.