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COVID crisis worsens; cases skyrocket: ‘We’re running out of ambulances;’ Mission ICU jammed; 51 in Buncombe die in August
Thursday, 16 September 2021 19:29

From Staff Reports

A surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths is overwhelming Buncombe County’s health care system, overextending local health care workers, equipment and facilities — and producing horrific numbers unseen since the pandemic peak prior to the vaccine.

“At Mission, where the number of COVID patients has reached record levels, some patients have been turned away and rerouted to other area hospitals that are also at or near their limits,” the website avlwatchdog.org reported on Sept. 12.

“Buncombe County Emergency Services is requesting that people not dial 9-1-1 unless it’s a life-or-death emergency. ‘We’re running out of ambulances,’ the agency’s director, Taylor Jones, said,” according to avlwatchdog.org. “‘What it looks like,’” Drew Reisinger, Buncombe County Register of Deeds, said this week, ‘is there are so many people infected, and [the delta variant of the coronavirus] is so aggressive, that our death rate is going to be on par’ with the peak numbers of last winter, before vaccines were widely available.

“Mission Health reported 166 COVID-positive patients in its six-hospital system on Thursday, including 127 at the flagship Mission Hospital in Asheville. Two months ago, the entire Mission system had just seven COVID patients,” the website noted.

The situation is so dire that, at “a Sept. 7 COVID-19 update briefing, Buncombe County Commissioner Parker Sloan read the first draft of a resolution that would require Asheville and Buncombe County schools, in addition to Mission Hospital, to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees,” the Asheville Citizen Times reported on Sept. 10.

Commissioners’ Chairman Brownie Newman later clarified that Sloan’s resolution was intended “for future thinking” — and that no action was taken on Sloan’s vaccine mandate proposal.

“My intent here is to tell and to ask certain employers that now is the time to try things to incentivize their employees to do that,” Sloan was quoted by the ACT as saying.

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Mission CMO retracts statement that only unvaccinated died in COVID-19 upsurge
Thursday, 16 September 2021 19:28

From Staff Reports 

Mission Health’s chief medical officer recently retracted a statement he made Sept. 7 during the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ briefing on COVID-19, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported Sept. 9.

During the briefing, Dr. William Hathaway said all patients at Asheville-based Mission Hospital who had died from COVID-19 during the recent delta variant surge were unvaccinated.

Since that statement, News 13 noted that it received several calls and messages to its newsroom, saying a loved one or a family member had died from COVID-19 at Mission hospital after being vaccinated.

On Sept. 9, Dr. Hathaway released an announcement saying he made the statement based on the knowledge had had at the time. He now confirms at least two people who have died of COVID-19 at Mission (through Sept. 9) were vaccinated.

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