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In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 116 new cases of COVID-19.

As of 5 p.m. Feb. 15, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 3,669 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. There are currently 116 people isolating with COVID-19 and the Health Department is monitoring these cases.

The Health Department is continuing to track the trend of people who refuse or ignore case monitoring or contact efforts. There are 71 such uncooperative positive cases now who may be ignoring the advice to isolate from others.

Since the department started tracking this number there have been 312 such cases considered released, meaning all attempts to communicate with them have been exhausted and the isolation period based on positive result date has passed.

“Haywood County Public Health has seen a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases reported to us daily over the last two weeks. This has been encouraging and I would like to remind our community that wearing a mask is essential to keeping us moving in the right direction. We will continue to push out every dose of vaccine to our citizens, as quickly as we receive it each week. If you are experiencing symptoms do not expose others, take action to get tested. By doing these things Haywood County can continue on this positive trend and we will all one day be together again,” said Interim Health Director Garron Bradish.

Haywood County is currently vaccinating citizens over the age of 65. Pre-registration is open for anyone over the age of 65. If you or a loved one need to register, do so at https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine or by calling 828-356-2019.

If you have a question about your registration, the vaccination process, or need to change something on your registration please call the hotline at 828-356-2019. This is the only number that will be able to answer your Haywood County COVID vaccine questions.

For more information on the vaccine and the general order of distribution visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

As the vaccine rollout continues, groups of individuals that are eligible to begin pre-registering for the vaccine will be notified through the health department’s weekly vaccine information updates on Fridays.

During this period of increased caseload, the health department has suspended monitoring cases in quarantine, and therefore will not report a COVID-19 working number until further notice. The health department is continuing to conduct case investigations and monitoring of positive cases and asks that the positives notify their close contacts of exposure. A close contact is identified as anyone who spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a positive while not wearing a mask, within the time frame of 2 days prior to symptom onset (or test date if asymptomatic) to the date that the positive person goes into self-isolation.

“If you have tested positive and you have friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, encourage them to self-quarantine and get tested 5-6 days after their exposure to you. Our end goal is to reduce community spread, so one day we can all be together again,” said Bradish. “Since we have placed a hold on monitoring close contacts, we can’t currently provide quarantine documentation for employers. Businesses need to be mindful that having quarantined employees return to work too quickly could cause a cluster of cases in the workplace. We ask that employers rely on the honor system and encourage employees who have been exposed to quarantine for the recommended time frame of 14 days from the date of exposure to help us reduce the spread during this surge of cases.”

Where to find COVID-19 vaccine information:

To register for vaccination go to: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine

For vaccine appointment or registration questions call: 828-356-2019

Please do NOT call the health department’s main number for COVID-19 vaccination questions, utilize the hotline instead.

For general COVID-19 information visit https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/COVID-19-Information

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