COVID-19 News Update: 11/20/20

November 20, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 11/20/20. 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: 5,075
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 4,675

North Carolina as a whole 

  • Positive cases: 328,846
  • Last week’s number of positive cases: 303,454

New CDC guidance says stay home for Thanksgiving

From the CDC:

More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

If you decide to travel, the CDC recommends doing the following:

Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.

Read their full guidance report here. 

NCDHHS reports the highest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases yet

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 4,296 new cases reported.

“Today, NC’s daily case count jumped to the highest number we’ve seen yet — 4,296. We have to double down on our efforts to slow the spread of this virus,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet on Thursday.

The record-high day follows several days of increasing trends in new cases, the percent of tests that are positive and hospitalizations. The weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Summary report released today on the number of people visiting the emergency department with COVID-like illness also showed an increase.

COVID cluster identified in Asheville Fire Department

More than a dozen Asheville firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the fire department. Nine of them attended a multi-week training session at the Buncombe County Training Center in Woodfin in late October and early November.

Eight of the 17 positive firefighters didn’t attend the training, and experts have emphasized COVID-19 is spreading through the community.

“We have the firefighters socially distance and wear masks while we do the training,” Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette said.

North Carolina introduces new COVID-19 alert system

Governor Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) announced a new COVID-19 County Alert System to pinpoint counties with the highest levels of viral spread and offer specific recommendations to bring numbers down. This system will help give local leaders another tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to slow viral spread. The map will be updated every four weeks.

The system uses metrics informed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and North Carolina’s key metrics to categorize counties into three tiers:

  • Yellow: Significant Community Spread
  • Orange: Substantial Community Spread
  • Red: Critical Community Spread

Buncombe County is currently classified as yellow.

Learn more about the alert system here.