Buncombe County COVID Vaccines Open to Group 5, Appointments Available Now

A person receiving a vaccine injection shot.
Marco Verch

On Tuesday, April 6, Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders provided a COVID-19 update to the Board of Commissioners ahead of Wednesday’s opening of vaccine appointments to Group 5.

Vaccine appointments are now available by going to www.buncombeready.org or by calling 828-419-0095. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for use in 16- and 17-year-olds, and these individuals should check with their choice vaccine provider to confirm that Pfizer is available.

In addition, Saunders provided an update to the Commissioners on the latest COVID trends in Buncombe County. As of April 6:

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– There have been 16,615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County since the pandemic’s start.
– There have been 308 COVID-19-related deaths in our community.
– There are 79 new cases per 100,000 per week, and we are seeing about 28 new cases per day enter our public health work flow.
– The percent positivity for the last week has been between 4.0 and 4.4 percent this week.
– Local hospitalization indicators remain stable.

“I continue to stress that while our indicators are not increasing, this continued leveling off is just as important to pay attention to and requires all of our attention,” said Saunders. “It is critical to wear a mask in public places and with others outside our households. The pandemic is not over – we absolutely must continue to social distance and wash hands frequently.”

Vaccines
Since December 22, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has administered 62,541 doses of the vaccine with help and support from Buncombe County Emergency Services and other partners, with 36,700 people partially vaccinated and 25,752 fully vaccinated.

Weekly vaccine allocation: 3,520 baseline doses, 300 equity bump doses
Additional allocation: 800 doses, which are being transferred to Ingles and Health Ridge pharmacies, and 500 doses of Johnson & Johnson to support outreach to homebound, incarcerated, and unhoused individuals.

Testing
Visit the Find my Testing Place website or visit starmed.care to register for COVID-19 testing in Buncombe County. Individuals who are showing symptoms or believe they have had close contact to COVID-19 should get tested.

Emergency Alerts
Buncombe County residents can stay up-to-date on emergency situations by signing up for BC Alerts by texting “BCAlert” to 99411 or by clicking here. Users can select which type of notices they’d like to receive, the languages for the communications, and even TTY options. These alerts include key information about COVID vaccines and waitlists as well.

If residents have previously signed up for BC Alerts, they will need to re-register in order to continue receiving them due to a change in emergency alert providers. Visit www.buncombecounty.org to learn more.

Please continue to practice the 3Ws to stop transmission of COVID-19, even if you’ve received a vaccine. It will take the vaccine and these important preventative measures to get our families back to a sense of normalcy. For more information about COVID-19, vaccine appointments and COVID testing, go to www.buncombeready.org.