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Mission COVID cases near record: In a surge surprise, 22 coronavirus cases reported in 1st week of classes at Asheville City Schools
Saturday, 04 September 2021 16:14

From Staff Reports 

Mission Hospital in Asheville reported that is had 104 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Aug. 26, a recent surge that, if it continues, could top Mission’s record of 140 coronavirus patients on Jan. 5, which, heretofore, was considered the height of the pandemic, according to Mission Health officials.

HCA Healthcare, serving Western North Carolina, reported that, system-wide, it had 160 COVID-19 inpatients as of Aug. 25, which would be six fewer than the record day Jan. 5. That figure included 115 inpatients at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

“The delta variant is much more contagious and therefore the pace at which our inpatient COVID population has increased has been rapid,” Mission Health spokeswoman Nancy Lindel told the Asheville Citizen Times on Aug. 27. “We currently have ample intensive care unit beds and the ability to expand if needed; currently about 4 percent of our ICU beds are in use by COVID positive inpatients.”

Ironically, slightly more than a month ago, Mission — as it closes in on a record for highest number of hospitalized coronarivus patients — tallied its fewest number of COVID-19 patients in a single day during the pandemic on July 9, when seven people were hospitalized with the virus.

“Lindell said the ‘vast majority’ of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, the ACT reported.

Meanwhile, Asheville City Schools reported 22 cases of coronavirus after four days into the new school year, according to an Aug. 26 COVID update. Reportedly, 18 students and four staff members have the virus and 13 of those were on campus while they were contagious for COVID-19. Asheville Middle Schoo recorded the highest number of cases, with seven people testing positive for the virus. “Of the 22 positives, only two were not in active quarantine Aug. 26, the ACT noted.

In other local pandemic action, four local long-term care facilities are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, with hospitalizations jumping as the delta variant sweeps through the area.

“I’ve heard the state epidemiologist and the state health director and other state leadership saying this is going to a place that maybe we haven’t been before,” Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, Buncombe County’s medical director, was quoted by the ACT as saying earlier in August. “They are all much more nervous than they have been at any other point in the pandemic.”

Te N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 831 new COVID-19 cases in Buncombe from Aug. 18-24 — a surge of more than 146 cases over the previous week when 685 new cases were confirmed.

In Haywood County, two people have died of the virus since Aug. 16, according to Haywood County Health and Human Services. From Aug. 17-24, The county reported 226 new cases of COVID-19 — a weekly case count last topped in January with 261 new cases from Jan. 20-26. 

Worse, COVID-19’s escalation throughout Western North Carolina is not likely to end soon, according to Buncombe County Emergency Preparedness Director Fletch Tove.

During an Aug. 24 media briefing, Tove said North Carolina typically experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases about four to six weeks after similar jumps occur in more Southern states, such as Florida, Alabama and Georgia. 



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