Positivity rate continues to decline; new variant detected locally.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders provided a weekly Covid-19 community update.
The B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19, which originated in the United Kingdom, is circulating in our community. Through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance, three cases with B.1.1.7 variant have been identified in Buncombe County, and 21 variant cases have been identified in the state. According to the CDC, the B.1.1.7 variant is a more highly transmissible strain of Covid-19. Early indications show that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (those used in Buncombe County) are effective against this strain of the virus.
“This variant is spreading throughout the country and our state,” said Saunders. “We should expect to see more cases of variant in our community as transmission rates of Covid, while declining slightly, continue to indicate heavy community spread. It is important for our community to know that the same measures that are good at stopping the spread of initial novel coronavirus strain are just as good at stopping the spread of variants.”
Overall, 14,193 cases of Covid-19, and 270 Covid-19-related deaths, have been confirmed in Buncombe County since the pandemic’s start. The number of new cases per 100,000 per week is now 277 per 100,0000 per week, 33% lower than four weeks ago. The average of 70 new cases per day is down from 98 per day last week, and about 8% of area inpatient hospital beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
The Health Department urges residents to continue to practice the 3Ws to stop transmission of Covid-19.
For more information about Covid-19, vaccine waitlists, and Covid testing, go to www.buncombeready.org.