By Clint Parker
Madison County – Everyone is hearing pretty much what’s happening with COVID19 and how Buncombe County is responding to COVID19, but what about our neighbors to the north in Madison County?
Last Wednesday (March 18), members of the county commission, county staff, and representatives from towns inside the county held a press conference. Tammy Cody, Madison County Health Director, said in the meeting that there were no confirmed cases of COVID19 in the county. She said, at the time, only about 20 tests had been done and they were still waiting on some test results.
Cody said she placed her faith in county residents to look out for their neighbors. “I’ve always been proud to be a Madison County resident due to the way we take care of each other.” Cody did tell the Tribune that the county did have a limited number of tests available and that anyone who showed symptoms of COVID19 and came in for testing would be administered a flu test first.
Fast forward to Monday of this week when the county requested residents to shelter in place. “First, and most importantly, it is essential for everyone to remain calm,” said the statement by Craig Goforth. “We are working closely with our community and state partners. Currently, there is an increase in the number of cases of COVID19 being diagnosed and we expect that trend to continue. Many of those with COVID19 may have mild to moderate symptoms.
“However, those who are 65 and older or with underlying health issues are especially at risk. We are taking steps to protect all of our residents and to avoid overwhelming our healthcare facilities. At this time, the county commissioners and public health department are recommending that you shelter in place. Shelter in place means to remain in your homes or on your own your property unless it is essential that you leave.
“Essential would include travel to and from a job that is necessary, travel to the pharmacy, grocery store, or to seek medical care. We have opened a COVID19 hotline to assist you. Please call 649-0755 if you have medical questions or need food or medications.”
Asked on Tuesday of this week if there were any confirmed cases of COVID19, Cody said, “No,” but added that there were people with symptoms of COVID19, but that they had self-quarantined and were managing symptoms at home. “We call back and check on them,” said Cody, but with a limited number of tests. “We’re saving those for the most severe cases.”
Cody did say that 35 tests have been performed, but not all had come back yet as it was taking two to five days to receive the results from the lab.