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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 4, 2022
In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 255 new cases of COVID-19, more than doubling the new cases over last week. As of 5 p.m. on January 3, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 8,648 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began.
Omicron continues to be monitored as a variant of concern. Read an updated Omicron FAQ on the Haywood County website: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/742/Omicron-FAQ
The CDC has amended its isolation guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.
This change is for the general public only, and it will be coming out with amended guidelines for other settings, like congregate settings and schools soon. Stay tuned as there may be further changes to this amended update in the next few days.
Please see the attached explainer sheet for information on how and when the new isolation and quarantine guidelines should be implemented. Proper masking with well-fitted surgical or N-95 style masks is critical to these new guidelines. Unless the person isolating with COVID stays full masked at all times around anyone else during days 5-10 of the isolation period they should continue to stay isolated from everyone.
For everyone else, masks are very much encouraged whenever you plan to be indoors in public areas. Masks are required for employees and the public in ALL Haywood County government facilities including the courthouse, libraries, and public health buildings.
This week 61.3 percent of new COVID cases were unvaccinated. Nearly all of those who require hospitalization are unvaccinated.
Vaccination appointments are available on a walk-in basis at the health department. Initial doses of Pfizer are available for ages 5-18. All three vaccines are available for anyone 18+. Vaccine clinic hours are Monday-Friday 8-11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. If you prefer scheduling an appointment, please call 828-356-2019.
Adults are eligible for a booster when they are:
6 months past the initial doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or
2 months past the initial dose of Johnson & Johnson
Teens, ages 16-17 are eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer 6 months after completing their initial series of doses.
Citizens who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to friends or family that meet the close contact criteria, and encourage them to self-quarantine and get tested 5 days after their exposure to the individual who tested positive.
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 full recommended time frame from the date of exposure to help reduce potential spread.