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What you need to know in Asheville, WNC on May 19


ASHEVILLE – Starting at 2 p.m. On May 19, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recorded 19,700 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state. This is an increase of 677 cases, or 3.6%, from the May 18 state report.

The NCDHHS has counted 691 deaths across the state, up from 30 since May 18 figures. This is an increase of 4.5%.

Buncombe County reported 182 cases on May 19 on its coronavirus dashboard.

The county also reported an additional coronavirus death on May 19. Six people died in Buncombe due to COVID-19.

The state has reported 295 cases and 41 deaths in Henderson County.

Avery became the last county in the state with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

COVID-19 cases in other counties in western North Carolina, according to state figures:

  • Avery: 1 case, 0 deaths.
  • Cherokee: 17 cases, 1 death.
  • Clay: 5 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Graham: 2 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Haywood: 26 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Henderson: 295 cases, 41 deaths.
  • Jackson: 24 cases, 1 death.
  • Macon: 5 cases, 1 death.
  • Madison: 2 cases, 0 deaths.
  • McDowell: 32 cases, 1 death.
  • Mitchell: 8 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Polk: 35 cases, 3 deaths.
  • Swain: 6 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Transylvania: 8 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Watauga: 12 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Yancey: 10 cases, 0 deaths.

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5th death in Buncombe, 1st in a long-term care facility

Buncombe County public health officials announced the death at a briefing on May 18, but declined to provide the name of the facility or any details about the person.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is currently listing four ongoing outbreaks in Buncombe County nursing homes. The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases within 28 days.

The NCDHHS discloses the names of all long-term care facilities with ongoing outbreaks, as well as the number of cases filed by staff and residents, on Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.

More: Coronavirus: Buncombe reports first death in long-term care facility

Rise N Shine Cafe opened against state order, cited by police

A cafe on Merrimon Avenue defied state orders and offered food over the weekend, culminating in a citation from the Asheville Police Department on May 18.

A post on Reopen NC’s Facebook page shows the owner of Rise N Shine with her arm around Ashley Smith, an activist who is campaigning to reopen closed North Carolina businesses to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

More: Rise N Shine cafe reopened this weekend, despite COVID-19 restrictions

Buncombe cases jump 31%

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported another 42 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County on May 18.

This is a 31% increase since the May 15 figures were released, for a total of 176 in the county.

The state also experienced its largest overnight increase in the number of cases this weekend – 863 new cases were added to the count on May 16.

NCDHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said expanded access to tests contributed to these growing state-level figures – but noted that the move to phase 1 probably also played a role.

“People move around more – they go shopping, they take the time to enjoy the outdoors,” said Cohen. “And with more movement, there is a greater chance that this virus will spread. “

More: Coronavirus: COVID-19 cases in Buncombe County jump 31%

Another type of diploma

Owen’s elders were greeted by the faculty as they picked up their graduation materials on May 15. See images of the day in photographer Angela Wilhelm’s gallery below.


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Despite the pandemic, the Asheville real estate market is strong

It is probably too early to say that the residential property market in Asheville is pandemic-proof, but it appears to be emerging from fear of COVID-19 with perhaps a mild cough and persistent pain.

John Boyle delves deeper into data and expert predictions on how the virus can affect home buyers and sellers in the area.

More: Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the residential property market in Asheville remains solid

NC identifies “good causes” for refusing to return to work

As Governor Roy Cooper’s phase I of plan to gradually ease COVID-19 restrictions allows more businesses to operate, more North Carolinians have been told it is time to return to work.

But what about workers whose health puts them at higher risk for COVID-19? What about people who can’t work without daycare? Or those who receive more unemployment benefits than their full-time job?

Learn more about “good reasons to refuse to return to work” in North Carolina.

More: I don’t feel safe going back to work. Can I still perceive unemployment in North Carolina?

Pisgah National Forest partially reopens

The Pisgah National Forest has started to reopen many trails and roads that had been closed due to coronavirus problems. Popular areas that are reopened include Catawba Falls and the Art Loeb Trail, although dispersed camping policies vary.

Learn more about which of your favorite trails could now be accessed below.

More: Pisgah National Forest reopens mainly after coronavirus restrictions

Asheville Nursing Home Employee Gets Positive For COVID-19

StoneCreek Health and Rehabilitation, a 120-bed nursing home in South Asheville, confirmed that a kitchen worker had a positive COVID-19 test result.

The facility tested five of its employees in the kitchen, according to the executive director of StoneCreek, all of whom tested negative.

Learn more from Elizabeth Anne Brown about the installation below.

More: Coronavirus: a kitchen worker in a nursing home in Asheville is positive for COVID-19

Free return of COVID-19 tests

The free viral test for COVID-19 will return to Buncombe County on May 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. only.

Residents of Buncombe County who show symptoms of COVID-19 will be eligible for a free test regardless of their insurance status.

Learn more about eligible people and how to access the tests below.

More: Coronavirus: County-sponsored free tests return May 12-14

Asheville artists find community, financial boon in art exchange

It is the dream of an art collector – dozens of artists from the Asheville region have pledged to sell pieces for less than $ 200 each and to buy works of art from their contemporaries after having sold their own thousands of dollars.

Jacqui Fehl, a mixed media artist with an art studio at RAD, said that she sold pieces almost daily using social media as a gallery.

“There has never been a better time to be an art collector,” said Fehl, who herself bought four or five works and estimated that she had sold dozens of them.

More: Among Asheville artists, a commitment to support each other during the coronavirus pandemic

West Asheville hotel hosts homeless shelter with more freedom

Some of the most vulnerable in Asheville have moved from the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville to single rooms in a hotel in West Asheville.

The city of Asheville will pay 25% of the bill to keep some members of the homeless community at the Red Roof Inn during the pandemic, while FEMA will take the rest. Homeward Bound and a team of other nonprofits will provide case management and medical care.

Although participants were unable to exit and return to Harrah’s Center, those who take refuge at the Red Roof Inn will be able to embark on “essential trips” and mingle in the common areas, as long as social distances are observed .

More: Coronavirus: West Asheville hotel hosts flexible quarantine shelter for the homeless

Asheville City Parks Partially Reopen

Parks and Recreation staff began the process of reopening the parks in the city of Asheville on May 8 after weeks of closure due to COVID-19.

The parks being reopened include dog parks, boat access, the fishing pond located in Azalea Park, the Richmond Hill Park Disc Golf Course and all the parking lots associated with the parks.

More: Coronavirus: Asheville city parks partially reopen

11th district runoff underway

Voting in a second round of the Republican Congress began, as absentee ballots were mailed from May 8.

Lynda Bennett of Haywood County and Madison Cawthorn of Henderson County will face off on June 23 in the 11th District 2nd Primary which has been postponed due to the pandemic. They were first and second place in a crowded 11-lane March 11 primary.

The coronavirus made the strange and limited campaigns that took place mainly via social networks.

More: Voting Begins in Asheville, WNC Congress Runoff After Coronavirus Delay


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Make way for restaurants?

Hendersonville’s main street may be closed to traffic on weekends so downtown restaurants and businesses can expand their outdoor spaces to promote social distancing.

Times News reporter Andrew Mundhenk reports that Hendersonville City Council was informed on Friday of the Downtown Hendersonville program’s “Open Main Street / Love Hendo” plan, which would expand the footprint of businesses that are expected to apply appropriate social distancing measures.

The closure of Main Street would allow restaurants to expand their outdoor restaurants, and retail businesses could also have outdoor space on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays.

More: Hendersonville could close Main Street at weekends to expand retail and dining space

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