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Governor Relaxes Restrictions
February 24, 2021

As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.

“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Governor Cooper. “We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”

“Keep wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands. We’ve seen in the past how fragile progress can be, so we need to keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.

30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)

  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields*
  • Venues*

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit

  • Restaurants
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.


February 16

Haywood County COVID-19 Monitoring

Total Positive Tests — 3,635

Cases Last 7 Days — 162

Currently in Isolation — 141

Deaths — 84

Positive cases who should be in isolation but are uncooperative — 58

Uncooperative cases assumed recovered due to time elapsed — 307

February 10

Nearly 200 additional cases have been reported in less than a week, and the number of individuals testing positive, but not cooperating with health officials is still high.

February 1

By the numbers

Total number tested — 37,725

Total Positive Tests — 3,277

Total Recovered — 2,400

Positive cases who should be in isolation but are uncooperative — 36

Cases Last 7 Days — 248

Currently in Isolation — 289

Deaths — 76

Uncooperative cases assumed recovered due to time elapsed — 237

Total vaccinated — 7,500+

*The Mountaineer

January 26

As of the afternoon of Jan. 21, there have been 3,029 positive COVID-19 cases in Haywood County along with 76 deaths attributed to the virus.

But things are looking up with over 3,000 people over the age of 75 now having received their first dose of the vaccine, and the county tentatively hopes to finish vaccinating that age group next week, as long as things work out as planned.

While case numbers were up to 69 a day during the holiday period, Haywood is now seeing about 45 new cases daily — a number that is still high.

January 15

Yesterday, another 43 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Haywood. This brings the total number of cases to date to 2,776, and the total deaths to 76.

There are 493 individuals in isolation because of a positive test, and 47 individuals who should be in isolation but are uncooperative. An additional 76 uncooperative individuals are assumed to have recovered, but have likewise been uncooperative.

To keep track of the Haywood COVID-19 numbers, visit the county website.

Courthouse closed to public

Beginning today, in-person access to county buildings will be limited to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

January 14

For the past two days, COVID-19 case numbers in Haywood have been 24 and 25, a number far below the Monday figure that includes weekend cases and was 128.

There are a total of 463 individuals currently in isolation as they recover or strive to not infect others as they recover from COVID. Another 49 individuals should be isolating, but are not cooperating with health officials.

Federal relief

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced this fact sheet about the federal programs made available in an act passed at the end of last year.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act updates are as follows:

Mandated FFCRA leave is still set to expire on December 31, 2020 however there is an extension provision for the 1st quarter of 2021. There are two important extension aspects of the package related to the FFCRA:

  • Employers may voluntarily continue to provide FFCRA leave and receive the tax credits associated with any FFCRA leave taken through March 31, 2021. This must be for all employees and not just selected employees. NOTE: If you have worksite employees on leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) of the FFCRA on Dec. 31, 2020, with potential EFMLEA leave continuing into 2021, a separate communication will be sent with instructions for either voluntarily continuing the leave, returning the worksite employee to work, or using other leave options, like PTO or unpaid leave.
  • The voluntary FFCRA extension does not create additional FFCRA hours entitlement for employees to use. This means if an employee has used all their FFCRA hours they will not have additional hours available.

January 13

In the four days since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 191 new cases of COVID-19.

Register for the vaccine

Even though the 75+ age group is now being vaccinated, Haywood County residents in other groups can preregister with the public health department.

Haywood County residents over the age of 75, who have not already been included in a previous vaccination group, may begin pre-registering for COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Sign up at: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine or call the COVID-19 hotline at: 828-356-2019, between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Read more about how the vaccination priority here.

 

January 7, 2021

By the numbers

Yesterday, Jan. 6, Haywood reported another 63 positive COVID-19 cases. This brings the total number of individuals in isolation to 318.

A new category has been added to the Haywood Coronavirus Dashboard — the number of individuals who are not cooperating with health officials tracking data.

There are 32 individuals who should be in isolation but are not cooperating, and 49 uncooperative cases assumed to have been recovered.

Curfew extended

N.C. Gov. Cooper extended the modified stay-at-home order that requires people to be at home from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. until at least Friday, Jan. 29.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen issued a directive with stark warnings for North Carolinians to avoid indoor spaces without masks and gatherings between households.

Both directives come on the heels the latest COVID-19 numbers in North Carolina. There were nearly 7,000 new cases in the state yesterday, bringing the total number to more than 582,000. To date, more than 7,000 in the state have died, and nearly 4,000 are hospitalized.

January 6, 2021

Since the first of the year, there have been 134 positive COVID-19 cases recorded in Haywood County.

That brings the number in isolation to 295 and the case numbers for the past seven days to 482. That brings the entire number of positive cases in Haywood to 2,370.

December 30

There were 68 new COVID-19 cases reported in Haywood over the last two days, bringing the total number of positive cases in Haywood to 1,888.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 23, there were 352 people in isolation after testing positive. As a comparison, on July 24, the post-July 4 holiday surge, combined with the Silver Bluff outbreak, alarmed public health officials when there were 48 new cases in a week.

Between April 2, when the first case was diagnosed in Haywood, and July 24, a total of 194 residents had tested positive.

December 28

COVID-19 Update

Between December 18 and December 21, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 129 new cases of COVID-19.  In the last week, the county has added 201 new cases. There are 302 people isolating with COVID-19.

December 18

On the heels of a record-breaking week, COVID-positive cases in Haywood declined to 33 on Dec. 15 and just 4 on Dec. 16.

With the recent changes to testing procedures, Dr. Mark Jaben, Health Director at Haywood County Health and Human Services, has asked us to share this important information. He provides guidance to help navigate updated testing policies in Haywood County, and he explains how testing could potentially affect business owners and their employees.

COVID-19 Developments and It’s Impact on Businesses and Employers

Guidance For Testing for COVID-19

 

December 15

By the numbers

Haywood reported its worst weekend to date, with 97 confirmed virus cases reported between Dec. 12 and 14. That brings the total case numbers for the past seven days to 307.

December 8

Stay at Home Order to Slow Spread of COVID-19

As cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country, Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures and is implementing a stay at home order from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. Executive Order No. 181 goes into effect on Friday, December 11th and runs through Friday, January 8th.

With mask requirements staying in place, this order aims to keep individuals socially distanced and safe at home.

The order requires that all non-essential businesses must close at 10 p.m. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted.

Throwing in the Towel
The Mountaineer

The number of COVID-19 cases and quarantined individuals has grown so high that Haywood County can no longer conduct contact tracing efforts.The effort to question those who tested positive for the virus and then contact individuals who were considered close contacts is suspended until the case numbers are reduced.Instead, individuals testing positive for the virus are urged to isolate and then do the right thing by notifying anyone with whom they spent more than 15 minutes with at a distance closer than 6 feet unmasked. For indoor situations the time limit is cumulative.

If someone is identified as a close contact, they should quarantine away from everyone, including family, and get tested on day 6.

“Testing sooner runs the risk of a false negative; it is too early for the test to be able to detect the virus that is present,” Jaben said, adding that if someone tests positive, they should isolate and notify any potential close contacts right away.

“Isolation and quarantine are best accomplished by the person separating themself away from everyone, especially family, preferably in a separate room and bathroom if available,” he added. “If they must encounter family, say for meals, they should wear a face covering, keep at least 6 feet away, and minimize the time of contact as much as possible. If it is not possible to do this, emergency management can help arrange a place to isolate/quarantine.”

A person in quarantine can be released once they complete a 14-day period beginning from the last day of exposure. A person who tests positive is considered to no longer be contagious to others based on these criteria:

1) at least 10 days from symptom onset or if asymptomatic, from the day of testing

2) no fever for 24 hours, off any medicine that would suppress a fever

3) improving symptoms (if still having some symptoms, this person should wear a mask at all times until fully well. (For people hospitalized or with active immune suppression, this should be 20 days along with the other criteria.)

November 30

COVID-19  Cases Reach Record High in Haywood County

The coronavirus numbers in Haywood County continues to rise. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday the following numbers are as of last Wednesday, November 25. There were 187 new positive cases. In addition, 175 people were in isolation and 331 were in quarantine. That brings the total working number to 506.

November 24

NC Restrictions Tightened
(The Mountaineer)

In a COVID press briefing, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper today announced additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country.

Executive Order No. 180 goes into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and runs through Friday, Dec. 11.

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement — making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.

The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalization over the past week. Since introducing the system last week, ten more counties have moved into the red category indicating critical community spread. There are now 20 red counties and 42 orange counties. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.

“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

November 23

As of 5 p.m. Nov. 19, the total number of cases in the county is 931, with 84 new cases being reported last week. There are 90 people in isolation after testing positive and 212 in quarantine after being identified as a close contact of a known case during contact tracing.

Tuesday, November 17

Haywood County is in its third week of escalating COVID-19 cases, with more than 64 new cases in the last week, and 133 new cases over the past two weeks. With the Thanksgiving holidays quickly approaching, health officials are concerned that these numbers will continue to increase as family and friends gather to celebrate the holiday. Please limit your indoor gatherings to the mass gathering limit of 10 people.

Tuesday, November 10

North Carolina Lowers Indoor Gathering Limit to 10 to Slow Spread of COVID-19

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina’s indoor mass gathering limit will be lowered to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics.


Haywood County’s Number are on the Rise

COVID-19 activity has taken a jump in Haywood, with 69 new cases reported in the last week, and an outbreak at a long-term care facility that has health officials worried. Haywood Public Health Director Garron Bradish said the COVID working number — individuals being followed by the health officials who are either in isolation or quarantined — has grown to 191. To put that number in perspective, the working number was just 56 cases toward the end of September, said Dr. Mark Jaben, the county’s medical director.

Unlike in previous weeks where the virus seemed to be spreading in the work place, Bradish said the trend in this week’s cases is that individuals testing positive were exposed from family members or small gatherings of friends.

“From interviews, it seems to be from people who know each other,” Bradish said. “A lot are older people who are tending to stay sicker longer.”

When Haywood experienced a spike in cases beginning last week, Jaben said looking back at large community events that happened two weeks prior helped explain the spike. That could again be the case with recent large gatherings in the county where people didn’t wear masks.

There still seems to be misunderstanding in the community about the virus and how it is transmitted, Jaben said. For instance, he spoke with one individual who was unaware that a person can be contagious for a few days before getting symptoms.

He warned that anyone who may have been in a crowd where others were not wearing masks should have a heightened awareness that they could have been exposed and act accordingly. Efforts are underway to ramp up public education efforts, including where testing is available and holiday gathering tips. “People need to be on guard at different events,” Bradish said. “What we’re seeing now is a precursor of what we think we’ll see at Thanksgiving.”

Outbreak

Just this week, the number of COVID-19 positive cases at Maggie Valley Nursing and Rehab grew to four. Once the number reaches two in a congregate facility, it is considered an outbreak.

“In light of what happened at Silver Bluff, we know once it starts to show up, the exposure has been much greater than that,” Jaben said. “They are taking all the precautions as Silver Bluff did. That may or may not be enough, we just don’t know, but you’ve got to be concerned.” Jaben said long-term care facilities don’t have a lot of extra staff, so if caregivers become infected, it poses another problem. “There was a two to three week period at Silver Bluff where they were struggling to find enough staff,” Jaben said. “There is not a lot of buffer there staff wise. That’s another real concern.


Wednesday, September 2

NC Moves into Phase 2.5

Tuesday, September 1

State to provide coronavirus grants for local communities

The Mountaineer

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state will provide $28 million to local governments and communities in their response to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 through the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) program.

The program will be funded through the CARES Act by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support North Carolina’s ongoing effort to fight COVID-19.

The N.C. Department of Commerce will provide CDBG-CV grants to local governments. This grant program will assist local governments with subsistence payments to prevent evictions and utility disconnections in municipalities with populations under 50,000 and counties with less than 200,000 people.

This funding priority includes food distribution, testing and diagnosis, and employment training for frontline health care workers.

“The pandemic has presented difficult challenges to North Carolina’s smaller communities and businesses, and these funds will assist them in getting back on their feet,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said. “The CDBG-CV program will provide needed relief while also helping set the stage for the post-COVID economic recovery.”

In addition to public utilities and rent assistance, the funds will also provide public facilities support with broadband, communications, and the rehabilitation of buildings as well as financial assistance to small businesses with less than 100 employees and micro-enterprises with no more than five employees.

Local governments can apply for CDBG-CV grants beginning Sept. 1 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The program guidelines and application are available on the North Carolina Department of Commerce website at NCCommerce.com/covidrelief

The program will be funded through the CARES Act by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support North Carolina’s ongoing effort to fight COVID-19.

The N.C. Department of Commerce will provide CDBG-CV grants to local governments. This grant program will assist local governments with subsistence payments to prevent evictions and utility disconnections in municipalities with populations under 50,000 and counties with less than 200,000 people.

This funding priority includes food distribution, testing and diagnosis, and employment training for frontline health care workers.

“The pandemic has presented difficult challenges to North Carolina’s smaller communities and businesses, and these funds will assist them in getting back on their feet,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said. “The CDBG-CV program will provide needed relief while also helping set the stage for the post-COVID economic recovery.”

In addition to public utilities and rent assistance, the funds will also provide public facilities support with broadband, communications, and the rehabilitation of buildings as well as financial assistance to small businesses with less than 100 employees and micro-enterprises with no more than five employees.

Local governments can apply for CDBG-CV grants beginning Sept. 1 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The program guidelines and application are available on the North Carolina Department of Commerce website at NCCommerce.com/covidrelief


 

Haywood Community College Small Business Center

Weekly Wrap-Up

When thinking of our local small business owners, one word comes to mind – Resiliency! We are in awe of your hard work, tenacity and willingness to shift to meet the changing needs of the current economic climate. Our small businesses are #HaywoodStrong,  they are #SmallBusinessStrong, and the HCC Small Business Center is positioned to assist you wherever you may be in your small business journey. Reach out, we would love to hear from you! Send a colleague, we would love to meet them…even if it is virtual for now!

This week’s wrap-up includes information on NC Commerce: Job Retention Grant, additional funding opportunities, Virtual Learning, and the Reboot, Recover, Rebuild (R3) program for Small Business!

If your business or non-profit organization experienced an interruption due to COVID-19, the JOB RETENTION GRANT (JRG) Program may be able to offer assistance. Additional information on the JRG Eligibility Requirements and Grant Amount are available in the Information, Resources and Funding Opportunities section below.

A quick reminder – the PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) loan deadline is August 8, 2020. Links to information on the PPP are also available in the Information, Resources and Funding Opportunities section.

The HCC SBC has expanded our VIRTUAL LEARNING lineup to include a series of webinars for our local Nonprofit and Food and Beverage Businesses, in addition to our Business Startup and E-commerce offerings. See below for additional information and registration.

Lastly, please help us get the word out about the REBOOT, RECOVER, REBUILD program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program provides small businesses the opportunity to access ‘In-depth’ counseling services from subject matter experts and professional advisors, as well as general business counselors. Please visit our website for additional information on the program or to complete a Program Interest Application.


 

 

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