COVID-19 News Updates 3/24

March 24, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 3-24-20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

U.S. SBA Implements Automatic Deferment on Existing SBA Disaster Loans Through End of 2020

On Monday, March 23, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment.

“The SBA is looking at every option and taking every action to cut red tape to make it easier for small businesses to stay in business. Automatically deferring existing SBA disaster loans through the end of the year will help borrowers during this unprecedented time,” said Administrator Carranza. “Today’s announcement adds a list of growing actions the SBA is taking to support small businesses. These actions include making it easier for states and territories to request a declaration so small businesses statewide can now apply for economic injury disaster loans, and changing the terms of new economic injury loans to allow for one-year deferments. We are working around the clock to find ways to assist small businesses and today’s action is one step in this process.”

Visit for more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses.

Patient and Visitor Restrictions at Pardee UNC Health; Pardee Drive-Thru screening site

To assist in efforts to minimize exposure to potential COVID-19 cases, the Pardee Emergency Department will have a designated check-in station for patients experiencing cough, fever and/or respiratory symptoms. The designated check-in station will be located at the entrance of the Emergency Department, where patients will be assessed and escorted to a separate waiting area. This check-in station will be open from 12:00 p.m.– 9:00 p.m. and evaluated daily for additional needs, or changes to availability.

All visitors will continue to be screened through the current restrictions screening process upon entry.

At the close of screening on Thursday, March 19, Pardee had administered over 280 COVID-19 tests at the drive-through screening site. The site will be closed and will reopen once additional test kits are available. We ask for patience as we work with our suppliers to obtain additional test kits.

Patients experiencing symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and fever greater than 100 degrees F, should continue to call the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline at 828-694-8048 to determine if they meet criteria for screening. If they do, they will be asked to self-quarantine at home until such time as the screening site is reopened.

The Helpline is open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm daily. Please do not go to an Urgent Care or Emergency Department for testing. Pardee Hospital will not be able to provide testing to non-hospitalized patients.

Additional updates can be found at

U.S. Cellular supports “Keep Americans Connected” Pledge

Given the impact of the coronavius on American society, U.S. Celular pledges for the next 60 days to: not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to waive any late fess that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Store hours have also been limited: Open M-F 10AM – 5PM and Sat 10AM – 4PM. Closed Sunday

The Rotary Club of Asheville makes changes to help those affected by the COVID 19 outbreak.

Rotary Club of Asheville weekly meetings have been suspended. Due to the outbreak of the Covid19 virus, communities worldwide are looking for additional support and resources. Since weekly meetings were suspended, that left the club with an excess of meal fees that the membership felt had to be put to some good. Therefore, the Rotary Club of Asheville is donating all meal fees collected by members to Manna Food Bank. The Rotary Club of Asheville is also donating to Manna all funds that were to be used for a youth leadership event that was canceled.

In total, the Rotary Club of Asheville is donating $5400 to Manna Food Bank to assist with their efforts to combat food insecurity during this outbreak.


Geriatric Practice Management Corp (GPM), a medical software company headquartered in the heart of downtown, is challenging every company that calls Asheville home to find a way to support local businesses and healthcare workers that are in need of help now more than ever.

Starting today, the GPM team will be using funds, previously allocated for company events, to provide lunches for local nursing home staff. The food will be ordered from local restaurants, and the first recipient will be the Brooks-Howell Home on Merrimon Avenue. GPM’s goal is to try to lend support and brighten the day for people most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to thank individuals working in Long-Term Care and try to boost morale in what we know is a hugely stressful time,” GPM CEO Ted Van Duyn said. “We love our town and see an opportunity to help our struggling small businesses using funds we’d planned to spend on our office staff who are now practicing social distancing by working from home and hosting meetings virtually. This effort accomplishes both goals, and we are calling on others, business and individuals alike, to follow suit.”

Until the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, there will be no shortage of businesses in need and front-line workers who could use some support.  This is a way that Asheville can come together as a community to help both.