COVID-19 News Updates 4/30

April 30, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 4/30/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

Buncombe County launches Self-Checker

Help do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 with Buncombe County’s new COVID-19 Self-Checker. This automated system provides two valuable community assets: Clear guidance for anyone feeling symptomatic and data that will help Buncombe County determine when it’s safe to begin the first phases of reopening. Buncombe Ready COVID-19 Self-Checker is a quick, confidential, easy-to-use assessment tool you can use online or by phone to help determine if you have COVID-19 and how you can proceed to get medical care. This helps public health experts better understand how the virus is spreading in Buncombe County and allows medical experts and local leaders make the best possible, data-driven decisions to protect everyone.

Buncombe County’s Stay at Home Order Updated

To bring our community in closer alignment with Governor Cooper’s Stay Home order, Buncombe County Public Health has issued a superseding Stay Home, Stay Safe Declaration that will go into effect at 6 a.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until such time as it is repealed, replaced, or rescinded.

The order continues to direct all Buncombe County residents to “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and to limit movements outside their homes to those that are deemed essential. The most substantial change is to the mass gatherings guidance. There will be no mass gatherings that exceed 10 persons in Buncombe County for so long as this order remains in effect.  Physical distancing and face coverings should be utilitized during any such gatherings (The guidance previously was no mass gatherings).

Governor Cooper urges North Carolinians to stay vigilant
Some indicators moving in the right direction, others are not.

In Thursday’s press briefing, Governor Roy Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen shared an update on where North Carolina stands in the fight against COVID-19 and urged North Carolinians not to let their guard down.

“North Carolinians have made tremendous sacrifices, and it is making a difference,” said Governor Cooper. “We remain hopeful that the trends will be stable enough to move into Phase 1 next week.”

“We need keep up the actions that will slow the spread of the virus. The good news is that we know we can do this. If we stay home now to protect our loved ones and our communities, we can put ourselves on a path to begin easing restrictions and moving forward as planned,” said Dr. Cohen.

As of today, North Carolina has 10,509 lab-confirmed cases, 546 people in the hospital, and 378 deaths due to COVID-19.

Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen updated on where North Carolina stands on the following key metrics:

  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is level over past 14 days, but has been on an uptick over the past seven days.
  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days cases is still increasing.
  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over the last 14 days is decreasing.
  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations over the last 14 days is largely level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

  • Increase in Laboratory Testing: North Carolina has surpassed 4,000 tests for the last 6 of 9 days with 6,000 tests reported yesterday.
  • Increase in Tracing Capability: NC DHHS announced the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, a new partnership with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) to double the state’s current contact tracing capabilities. The Collaborative has started recruiting for these positions.
  • Availability of Personal Protective Equipment: The state has a 30-day supply of most personal protective equipment, except for gowns and N95 masks.

“We need everyone to continue following the Stay At Home order right now so that we can move to the next phases of easing restrictions. Complacency could risk lives and undo these plans,” added Governor Cooper.

Mission Health Announces Phased Approach for Caring for Non COVID-19 Patients

Within the next several days Mission Health plans to begin phasing back in certain services and procedures that were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

Due to Mission’s intense planning efforts and good supply levels, Mission is now carefully turning  attention to serving patients whose treatments may have been put on hold because of COVID-19, including those who have forgone important procedures like cancer therapies and joint replacements due to the pandemic

Mission expects to begin a return of services in phases, within the next week to 10 days. In the first phase, Mission will work to resume procedures that were deferred or canceled during the initial COVID-19 response time.

William R. Hathaway, MD FACC Chief Medical Officer, Mission Health, noted, “Consistent with Governor Cooper and DHHS Secretary Cohen’s guidance yesterday, we are carefully planning and undertaking a phased approach to begin care that focuses on the most critical and timely patients who have been waiting while we prioritized our services for COVID-19 patients.”

Safeguards have been implemented across the system, such as universal masking and screening of all patients, visitors and employees, to reassure our patients and team members who may have more concerns about coming to a healthcare facility than they did in the past.

For more information, please visit

Senator Edwards Announces Proposed ‘Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Act’

Senator Chuck Edwards, along with Buncombe County Commissioner and TDA board member Joe Belcher and Buncombe County TDA board chair Gary Froeba, have announced a collaborative effort to jump-start the Buncombe County tourism business sector and restore critical jobs impacted by COVID-19.

The proposal will allow the Buncombe County TDA to establish a Job Recovery Fund that will provide $5 million in emergency grant funding for Buncombe County tourism-related small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by coronavirus pandemic.

Eligible applicants can receive up to $50,000 directed toward the restart of their business once the recovery begins. Should the legislation become law, BCTDA will provide more details as they are worked out it. Meanwhile, read FAQs about the Job Recovery Fund here.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • May 4 – Constangy, Brooks Smith & Prophete to host webinar COVID-19 and Immigration: strategies for U.S. employers as they struggle to manage their visa & compliance programs while balancing business & economic needs. Register
  • May 4-8: Asheville Chamber’s Salute to Small Business
    • May 4-6 – Turning Uncertainty to Opportunity: Part of Asheville Chamber’s Salute to Small Business, 3-part series with business expert Meridith Elliott Powell
    • May 7 – SEO Strategies for Small Business with Travis Cole of integritive
    • May 8 – Virtual Happy Hour
  • May 5 – Strategic Business Positioning in the Wake of COVID-19 hosted by UNC Asheville Family Business Forum Register
  • May 7 & May 14 – Lean Thinking for Products, Services or Projects of Any Type by WCU Instructor Todd Creasy, PhD  Learn More