Four more Haywood County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a May 20 press release from Haywood County Public Health.
“These are the 29th–32nd cases in the county,” the release said. “All are in isolation at home.”
None of the residents have recent out-of-state travel history. Two cases are indicative of community spread, one is related to workplace transmission and the fourth does not know how their exposure occurred.
Haywood County Public Health nurses are identifying close contacts of all of these individuals. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.
The CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 infection for 15 minutes or longer and without protection. Based on the information provided by the individuals in close contact, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine, and/or testing.
“The Haywood County Health Department will trace, test, and contain anyone we identify who was exposed to this virus,” said Haywood County Health Director Patrick Johnson. “Since the majority of our recent cases include clear indicators of community spread, it’s vital that citizens assume the virus is circulating in the county and take appropriate precautions.”
Community spread means that cases are occurring where the affected individuals don’t know where or when they were exposed. An individual can be infected for 2-14 days before showing symptoms.
"You or the person near you in the grocery store could be unknowingly carrying the virus and spreading it throughout the community," the release said. "Basic steps like social distancing, wearing a mask, staying home if you are sick, and regular hand washing help to limit exposures and slow the spread."
“Two other reminders; if you have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell don’t wait, get tested,” said Johnson. “It’s also important to understand that anyone tested for COVID-19, even as a standard pre-operative precaution, needs to stay home and self-quarantine until test results are received, and then follow instructions according to the test results.”
For more information on COVID-19, go online to The Mountaineer for local news developments, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for statewide information, and the Centers for Disease Control for national data.
Haywood residents can call the local coronavirus hotline at at 828-356-2019 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For assistance after hours, call 2-1-1 or the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-888-892-1162.