COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Information For Citizens & Visitors of
Franklin & Macon County NC

Macon County NC, Information & Resources

January 15 - COVID-19 Case Count Update:
572 Active Cases of COVID-19 in Macon County
1,695 Recovered • 17 Deaths • 2,284 Total Cases

Macon County Public Health would also like to note that Macon County is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and reminds individuals to consider the health and safety of others while celebrating the holiday by limiting celebrations to your immediate household and practicing the 3W’s: Wear, Wash, Wait.

Macon's Status Elevated to RED Critical Level in COVID-19 County Alert System
» Read Latest Report

MCPH JANUARY 15th UPDATES

Macon County Public Health Vaccination Registration Updates

Macon County Public Health has established an additional Call Center with the assistance of Drake Enterprises and Macon County Administration. We are now able to offer several options for individuals to get registered for the COVID-19 vaccination. The options are as follows:

Option 1: Individuals may access a web link on the right side of the Macon County home page at maconnc.org and complete the form to include their last name, first name and email address. Once this information is submitted, Macon County Public Health will be able to upload the information into the state COVID-19 Vaccination Management System (CVMS). After CVMS receives the submission, an email will be sent to the address provided allowing the individual to complete the registration process and set-up their password. Following confirmation that their registration is complete and their phase confirmed, individuals may call 828-349-2517, Option 2 to schedule their appointment once we begin vaccinating their eligible phase/group.

Option 2: Individuals with an email address may call 828-524-1500 and speak with a representative to provide their last name, first name and email address. Once this information is obtained, Macon County Public Health will submit the information to the state COVID-19 Vaccination Management System (CVMS). After CVMS receives the information, an email will be sent to the address provided allowing the individual to complete the registration process and set-up their password. Following confirmation that their registration is complete and their phase confirmed, individuals may call 828-349-2517, Option 2 to schedule their appointment once we begin vaccinating their eligible phase/group.

Option 3: Individuals without an email address may call 828-349-2517, Option 2 and speak with a representative who will get them registered in the state COVID-19 Vaccination Management System (CVMS) after completion of a brief questionnaire. Once the registration has been completed, an appointment will be scheduled. No additional steps are needed.

In an effort to facilitate registrations, the Call Centers will operate on Saturday, January 16th, 2021 from 8:00am – 6pm and on Monday, January 18th, 2021 from 8:00am – 4:00 pm. Regular hours of 8:00am – 4:00pm will resume on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 from 8:00am – 4:00pm.

Macon County remains in Phase 1B, Group 1 for vaccination at this time. This group includes those who are 75 years of age or older, regardless of health status and will provide updates as we move to the next group or phase.

Macon County Public Health Announces Web Link for Vaccination Registration

After challenges with the County phone system and delay in the release of a link to the NC DHHS registration portal, Macon County Public Health and Macon County IT have developed an internal web link for individuals to begin the registration process for obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination.

Individuals may access the link on the right side of the page at maconnc.org (or by clicking here) and will be asked to enter their last name, first name and email address. Once this information is submitted, Macon County Public Health will be able to upload the information into the state COVID-19 Vaccination Management System (CVMS). Once the information is received by CVMS, an email will be sent to the address provided allowing the individual to complete the registration process and set-up their password. After the registration process is complete, individuals may call 828-349-2517, Option 2 to schedule their appointment.

Macon County Public Health is pleased to be able to provide this option for the community which will avoid individuals having to place multiple calls to the health department. Unfortunately, at this time there is not an option to register individuals who do not have an email address or access to the internet. Macon County Public Health as are all health departments across the state are persistently awaiting guidance from NC DHHS on how to register these individuals.

Macon County remains in Phase 1B, Group 1 for vaccination at this time. This group includes those who are 75 years of age or older, regardless of health status and will provide updates as we move to the next group or phase.

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Do you have questions about COVID-19 or suspect you may have symptoms? Please call Macon County’s Community Resource Center at 828-349-0211 for information on the following:

- Questions about possible COVID-19 symptoms (fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing)
- Questions about state or local regulations
- Questions about unmet needs

Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. If you are unable to call during these hours, please leave a message and it will be returned during normal operating hours.

Modified Stay at Home | Early Closure Order Extended Through January 29, 2021

» Read Executive Order 188

» Read Executive Order 181 | » Read FAQs

Major Changes with the Executive Order

Certain businesses and facilities are ordered to close to the public between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Night-Time Public Closure Period”). This includes restaurants (with exceptions for take-out and delivery, as noted below), bars, entertainment venues, parks, museums and aquariums, certain retail establishments, and other businesses and facilities specified below and in the Order.

  • All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home or the place they will remain for the night between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Stay at Home Period”), unless an exception applies.
  • The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Events or convenings outside of the home must end by 10:00 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel home or to the place where they will stay for the night.
  • The capacity limitations on certain businesses, indoor and outdoor gathering limits, and other public health measures implemented by previous executive orders are extended through January 8, 2021.


What remains the same under this Order?

  • The gathering limits remain at ten (10) individuals for indoor settings and fifty (50) individuals for outdoor settings.
  • The limitations on certain businesses, sanitation standards, and other public health restrictions outlined in the Phase 3 Executive Order and NCDHHS Guidance remain in effect.
  • A face covering is still required in all public indoor settings if there are nonhousehold members present, regardless of the individual’s ability to maintain social distance. Face coverings continue to be required in public outdoor settings if individuals are unable to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members.
  • Retail business locations with more than 15,000 square feet of interior space must continue to have a worker at each entrance open to the public, who is responsible for enforcing the executive orders’ face covering and capacity limitations.

Macon County Public Health recommends that business owners consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on what employers and employees should do if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Macon County leadership is committed to remaining transparent with the public and encourages businesses to be open with the public as well. For more guidance about employee exposure, visit the CDC by clicking here.

macon county public health covid vaccine

 

January 15 - Macon County Reports 5 Additional Deaths Related to COVID-19

Macon County Public Health received notification today that five (5) Macon County residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have passed away since December 30th, 2021. Each of these deaths occurred outside of Macon County and all were over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions. To protect the family´s privacy, no further information will be released about these patients. This death brings Macon County to seventeen (17) deaths related to COVID-19.

Health Director, Kathy McGaha said, “We continue to be in the critical outbreak stage but, we can make a difference by be diligent in wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying 6 feet from others. Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

January 14 - MCPH Updates

Enhanced COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination
Beginning Thursday, January 21, 2021 Macon County Public Health in partnership with Macon County EMS will be conducting COVID-19 testing and vaccinations Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 4:00pm at the Macon County Department of Public Health, located at 1834 Lakeside Drive. Upon implementation, the revised testing and vaccination schedule will give us the capacity to test and vaccinate approximately 1750 individuals per week. While capacity for testing and vaccinations will increase dramatically, it is important to remember with respect to vaccinations that Macon County can only administer those vaccinations which we have received from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. As of January 14, 2021 we have received 800 doses, of which 280 have been administered. Furthermore, Macon County can only administer vaccines to individuals who have registered and been deemed eligible by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services under the states phasing guidelines.

Updates to the Macon County Website will now clearly display phasing information related to the statewide COVID-19 Vaccination distribution effort. By clicking on the Vaccination Phase, located on the website hornepage, users will be directed to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, where detailed information on timing and eligibility for each vaccination phase is available. In addition to phasing information, daily COVID-19 updates on the Macon County homepage will now contain vaccination information including number of vaccines administered as well as number of vaccines in stock.

Prior to Thursday, January 21, 2021 Macon County will continue to operate Otto modified testing and vaccination schedule. The testing and vaccination schedule can be viewed on the Macon County website homepage.

Macon County Emergency Services will be hosting a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic for anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the Nantahala community at the EMS Base on Junaluska Road on Tuesday January 19, 2021 from 10 AM until 2 PM or until tests run out. No appointment is necessary.

Vaccination Enrollment information
As required by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, all vaccine recipients must enroll in the CVMS program. Macon County Information Technology staff have implemented a portal for Macon County to begin the enrollment process. By following this link on Macon County Government's Homepage, www.maconnc.org, you can provide us with your name and your personal email, which will be uploaded to NC CVMS (COVID-19 Vaccine Management System). You will receive an email from NC CVMS - "Thank you for signing up". Once you fill out a short questionnaire your eligibility will be verified, you will be enrolled, and assigned to a vaccine phase. Following enrollment, an appointment for vaccination can then be scheduled by contacting the Macon County Department of Public Health's Call Center at (828) 349-2517, select option "2". MCPH's Call Center will directly enroll individuals who do not have an email when you call.
The MCPH Call Center, like COVID-19 call centers across the state and region continues to experience disruption in the phone system resulting from overwhelming call volume. Our Information Technology staff is working around the clock with our local telephone service provider to resolve these issues immediately. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

Commnunity Assistance Requested
To assist in the community-wide vaccination enrollment process, Macon County has directly contacted local religious organizations in addition to community clubs and civic organizations, providing each of them with forms necessary to enroll their members in the CVMS program. A training session to assist those within the organizations designated to gather information from their mernbership will be conducted by Macon County on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 11:00 am. via Zoom. For more information on the upcoming training session or assisting any group/organization with the vacdnation enrollment process, please email Tammy 077871 21 tkeezer@maconnc.org.
Macon County is now advertising for five (5) part-time, processing assistant positions to assist our local Health Department in combatting the COVID-19 pandernic. Primary duties will entail information dissemination 18 88011 as data 0703 2114 will be compensated at a rate of 515 per hour. Additional inforrnation and application instructions are available on the Macon County website homepage. www.maconnc.org. Deadline for application submittal is January 19, 2021 at 6:00 pm.

In addition to submitting applications on-line and in person, NC Works will be hosting a job fair at the Robert C. Carpenter Building located at 1288 Georgia Road on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 2:00- 6:00 pm for those interested in applying for the part-time processing assistant positions.

Macon County is seeking volunteers to assist our local Health Department in combatting the COVID-19 pandernic. A volunteer registration form is posted on the Homepage of the Macon County website. Those interested in serving can fill out the registration form and submit it in person to the front desk of the Macon County Tax Office located at 5 West Main Street Franklin NC, 28734, or via email by sending it to volunteer@maconnc.org

January 12 - Macon County Public Health Acknowledges Phone Issues

Macon County Public Health acknowledges issues with phone calls to schedule vaccination and testing appointments which are beyond our control. Macon County Public Health received over 500 live calls and an additional 300 voicemails in the past 24 hours requesting testing or vaccinations.

Health Director, Kathy McGaha said, “We apologize for the difficulty you may be experiencing with our phone system. The volume of calls for COVID-19 testing and vaccination has overwhelmed the county phone system”.

Macon County IT is working very diligently with Frontier to resolve the system capacity in hopes of having the issues resolved today. McGaha added, “please bear with us as we work as quickly as we can to find a resolution”.

January 11 - Macon County Public Health to Stop the Announcement of Clusters

Macon County Public Health is announcing that it will begin to vaccinate those eligible under Phase 1B, Group 1 starting this week. This group includes those who are 75 years of age or older, regardless of health status. Those who are eligible under this phase, receive a vaccination, can call 828-349-2517 to schedule an appointment. Vaccine appointments will be at Macon County Public Health located at 1830 Lakeside Drive in Franklin, and will be conducted through a drive-thru clinic.

Macon County Public Health is also actively looking for ways to expand current vaccine capacity. W, while also maintaining some scheduling gaps that the organization has blocked for those who will be receiving their second dose. All considerations are being weighed to continue to offer an exceptional level of care and dedication to our community. We ask that the community continue to be patient with us as we work through these hurdles and, continue to provide the best service possible in this challenging time.

January 05 - Macon County Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Outbreak

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Macon Valley. Thirteen residents and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. All patients who have tested positive are doing well and are isolated from others. Staff who have tested positive will not return to work until they are no longer infectious.

All the residents and staff of Macon Valley have been notified of their exposure and are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and the facility’s leadership team, and plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. Macon Valley and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

In addition to staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Macon Valley will be closed to visitors to slow the risk of spread within the facility and to the community. All residents and staff of both facilities have been tested and are awaiting results. All residents and staff will be tested every week until there are two consecutive weeks of all negative results. When two consecutive weeks of negative results for all come back, then facilities can begin to allow minimal visitation again.

December 30 - MCPH Updates

Macon County Reports Three Additional Deaths Related to COVID-19

Three Macon County residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have passed away. The persons were over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. To protect the family´s privacy, no further information will be released about these patients. These deaths bring Macon County to twelve deaths related to COVID-19.
“The family and loved ones of these individuals are in our thoughts and prayers. With the approaching New Year and as more people stay indoors, our community needs to continue to practice the 3Ws and be mindful of those that are higher risk,” stated Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director.

Mrs. McGaha continued, “We can make a difference by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying 6 feet from others. Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Macon County Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Outbreak

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Eckerd Living Center. One staff member and five residents have tested positive for COVID-19. All are well and isolated from others. Both facilities have been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards while in their facility and especially when working with patients.

All the residents and staff of Eckerd Living Center have been notified of their exposure and will be tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and the facility’s leadership team. Plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. Eckerd Living Center and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.
Eckerd Living Center will be closed to visitors to slow the risk of spread within the facility and to the community. All residents and staff of the facility have been tested and are awaiting results. All residents and staff will be tested every week until there are two consecutive weeks of all negative results. When two consecutive weeks of negative results for all come back, then the facility can begin to allow minimal visitation again.

In addition to staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

The entire state of North Carolina is under a “Safer at Home” executive order, currently under phase three with masks required to be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness. Therefore, we ask that community members strictly follow the governor’s orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance.

North Carolina and Macon County Currently in Phase 1A of COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out

It is with immense pleasure that we announce that the first COVID-19 vaccines at Macon County Public Health have been given. Dr. Donald Dewhurst was one of the first to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, December 31st, 2020.

Macon County and North Carolina are currently in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution which includes healthcare personnel directly responding to COVID-19 and long-term care facilities. Any individuals who fall in the Phase 1A can call the Macon County COVID Call Center at 828-349-2517 to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. Those who are not in Phase 1A are not able to schedule an appointment at this time.

Macon County Public Health would like to assure that the vaccine roll-out process to those who are eligible in each phase will be as transparent as possible. It is our goal to provide the citizens of Macon County with the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and safely as possible.

North Carolina will advance to the next phase of vaccination when NCDHHS determines that all interested persons within the Phase 1a priority group have been vaccinated.

NCDHHS updates its website to reflect the current phase that North Carolina is in. You can view the site at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/vaccinations. Macon County Public Health will update its social media pages to alert the public when the state and county advance to the next phase of vaccination. At this time, Macon County Public Health and NCDHHS are not scheduling individuals for vaccination in other vaccine phases other than Phase 1a.

December 23 - MCPH Identifies COVID-19 Cluster at Macon County's 911 Communication Center

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster of positive cases in Macon County’s 9-1-1 Communication Center.

NC DPH defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as:
• A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
• Plausible linkage between cases;
where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Five staff persons at Macon County’s 9-1-1 Communication Center have tested positive; all personnel are aware of their exposure and are currently being contacted for testing. Macon County 9-1-1 Communication Center employees are encouraged to quarantine if they experience symptoms; those who test positive will be given isolation orders. In addition, Macon County Emergency Management Office has been provided disinfection guidance.

MCPH is working to identify additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Macon County Emergency Management states ... "It is imperative, especially in times of a health crisis, that the public has access to the necessary emergency services they may need and such requests are all routed through the 9-1-1 Communication Center. Operations have been adjusted to maintain the availability of this essential service 24 hours per day 7 days per week. Minimum staffing levels have been maintained by rotating employees between shifts as needed and there has been no lapse in service."

December 18 - Macon County Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Cluster

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster of positive cases in the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

NC DPH defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as:
• A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
• Plausible linkage between cases;
where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Six staff persons at the Macon County Sheriff’s Office have tested positive; all personnel are aware of their exposure and are currently being contacted for testing. Macon County Sheriff’s Office employees are encouraged to quarantine if they experience symptoms; those who test positive will be given isolation orders. In addition, Macon County Sheriff’s Office has been provided disinfection guidance.

MCPH is working to identify additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

December 17 - Macon County Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Outbreak

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Grandview Manor Care Center. Eight residents and two staff members individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. All patients who have tested positive are doing well and isolated from others. Staff who have tested positive will not return to work until they are no longer infectious.

All the residents and staff of Grandview Manor Care Center have been notified of their exposure and are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and the facility’s leadership team, and plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. Grandview Manor Care Center and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

In addition to staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Grandview Manor Care Center will be closed to visitors to slow the risk of spread within the facility and to the community. All residents and staff of both facilities have been tested and are awaiting results. All residents and staff will be tested every week until there are two consecutive weeks of all negative results. When two consecutive weeks of negative results for all come back, then facilities can begin to allow minimal visitation again.

November 23 - Macon County Reports Ninth Death Related to COVID-19

A Macon County resident diagnosed with COVID-19, passed away Sunday. The person was over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. This individual is not related any existing clusters or outbreaks, to the knowledge of Macon County Public Health. To protect the family´s privacy, no further information will be released about this patient.

“The family and loved ones of this individual are in our thoughts and prayers. With the approaching holiday and as more people gather indoors, please continue to practice the 3Ws and be mindful of those that are higher risk,” stated Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director.

Mrs. McGaha continued, “We can make a difference by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying 6 feet from others. Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

November 18 - Macon County Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Outbreak at Congregate Living Facility

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Drake Cottage, a congregate living facility. Three individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. All are well and isolated from others.

All the residents and staff of Drake Cottage have been notified of their exposure and are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and the facility’s leadership team, and plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. Drake Cottage and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

In addition to staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Thursday, November 12 - Macon County Public Health Identifies Two COVID-19 Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings

Macon County Public Health has identified two COVID-19 outbreaks in Macon Valley Nursing Home and Eckerd Living Center. Two individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 at both facilities. All are well and isolated from others. Both facilities have been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards while in their facility and especially when working with patients.

All the residents and staff of Macon Valley Nursing Home and Eckerd Living Center are being tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and both facilities’ leadership team, and plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. Macon Valley Nursing Home, Eckerd Living Center, and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

Both facilities will be closed to visitors to slow the risk of spread within the facility and to the community. All residents and staff of both facilities have been tested and are awaiting results. All residents and staff will be tested every week until there are two consecutive weeks of all negative results. When two consecutive weeks of negative results for all come back, then facilities can begin to allow minimal visitation again.

In addition to staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Macon County Schools Information

Friday, January 15 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Macon Middle School-1 and Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, January 14 - Updates

Due to the unavailability of school nurses, Franklin area schools (with the exception of Macon Early College), will have a virtual learning day for students on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. We hope to return to in-person instruction on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
Please also remember that all schools will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2021 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Franklin High School-1, Mountain View Intermediate School-1, and Macon Early College-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, January 13 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of 3 positive cases COVID-19 at Macon Middle School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, January 12 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Franklin High School-1, Mountain View Intermediate School-1, Macon Early College-1, and Iotla Valley Elementary School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, January 11 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1 and Highlands School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, January 07 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Franklin High School-1, Iotla Valley Elementary School-1, and Mountain View Intermediate School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, January 06 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Franklin High School-1, East Franklin Elementary School-1, and Mountain View Intermediate School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, January 05 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that one positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within the Macon County Schools Administrative Staff as well as positive cases at the following locations: Highlands School-1, Macon Middle School-2, Macon Early College-1, Franklin High School-1 and Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, December 30 - Board of Education Update

This morning, the Macon County Board of Education held their special called meeting to evaluate the number of positive COVID-19 cases throughout the school system. Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin reported that currently there are 126 student quarantines along with 26 student active positive cases. There are 15 staff quarantines and 7 staff active positive cases. According to School Nurse Julie Rogers, numbers are subject to change as the backlog of information gets reported within the Macon County Public Health Department. In addition, Macon County Public Health Director Kathy McGaha reported that Macon County is currently in the orange category but could move to the red category based on the number of active positive cases in the county.

After much discussion, the Macon County Board of Education took no action at this point. Students will return to face-to-face learning as planned on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. In the event that the number of active positive cases continue to increase, an emergency meeting of the Macon County Board of Education may be scheduled.

If you feel you need an appointment for COVID-19 testing, please contact the Macon County Public Health Department Call Center at 828-349-2517.

Wednesday, December 23 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified of positive cases of COVID-19 at the following locations: Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1, Macon Middle School-2, Franklin High School-3, Mountain View Intermediate School-1, Macon Early College-1 and South Macon Elementary School-2. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, December 21 - Board of Education Update

The Macon County Board of Education will hold a Special Called Meeting on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Room of the Macon County Schools Administrative Offices.

The purpose of this meeting is to evaluate the number of positive COVID-19 cases throughout our school system. Discussion will include the possibility of Franklin area schools returning with virtual learning in January rather than face-to-face learning. Other business may also be conducted if needed.

Monday, December 21 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that one positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Macon County Schools Support Staff as well as positive cases at the following locations: Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1, Macon Middle School-1 and Franklin High School-2. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, December 17 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the following locations: South Macon Elementary School-1, Cartoogechaye Elementary School-2 and Mountain View Intermediate School-2. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, December 16 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that three positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within Macon County Schools Administrative Staff as well one positive case within Macon County Schools Support Staff. In addition, one positive case has been confirmed at Macon Middle School and one positive case at Franklin High School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, December 15 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the following locations: Franklin High School-2, Macon Middle School-1, South Macon Elementary School-1, Highlands School-2. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, December 14 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Macon County Schools Support Staff as well as a positive case at East Franklin Elementary School and Highlands School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Friday, December 11 - COVID-19 Update

Cartoogechaye Elementary School will suspend face-to-face instruction beginning Monday, December 14th through Friday, December 18th. The suspension of instruction is due to the loss of staff to quarantine and COVID-19 related symptoms. Cartoogechaye Elementary School and the Macon County School System will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department to reevaluate the circumstances over the Christmas break.

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Macon County Schools Support Staff as well as Macon Middle School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Cartoogechaye Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, December 10 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Cartoogechaye Elementary School, Franklin High School, and Mountain View Intermediate School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, December 08 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Macon County Schools Support Staff. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, December 08 - COVID-19 Update Macon Middle School

Macon Middle School will suspend face-to-face instruction beginning Wednesday, December 9th through Friday, December 11th. The suspension of instruction is due to the loss of staff to quarantine and COVID-19 related symptoms. Macon Middle School and the Macon County School System will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department to reevaluate the circumstances over the weekend.

Monday, December 07 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the following locations: Mountain View Intermediate School-1, Cartoogechaye Elementary School-1, Franklin High School-3, Iotla Valley Elementary School-1 and Macon Middle School-2. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, December 03 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Cartoogechaye Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine.

This afternoon we were notified a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine.

Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, December 02 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Iotla Valley Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, November 30 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that one positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Highlands School and two positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Franklin High School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, November 25 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at South Macon Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, November 24 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School and East Franklin Elementary School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, November 23 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the following locations: Highlands-1, Macon Middle School-2, Franklin High School-1, Macon County Schools Support Staff-1. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, November 18 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at East Franklin Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Friday, November 13 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at South Macon Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, November 12 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Macon Middle School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, November 09 - COVID-19 Update

Saturday afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at South Macon Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, November 03 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Iotla Valley Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, October 28 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at South Macon Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, October 22 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, October 21 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Mountain View Intermediate School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, October 19 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at South Macon Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Today we were also notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Highlands School and at Franklin High School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, October 14 - COVID-19 Update

This afternoon we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at East Franklin Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, October 12 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Mountain View Intermediate School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

We were also notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Nantahala School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Monday, October 05 - COVID-19 Update

This morning we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School and two positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at East Franklin Elementary School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Friday, October 02 - COVID-19 Update

Today we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Some Macon County Schools Move to Plan A on October 5th

At the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin and on a motion made by Fred Goldsmith and seconded by Tommy Cabe, the Board approved by a 5-0 vote for South Macon Elementary School, East Franklin Elementary School, Cartoogechaye Elementary School and Iotla Valley Elementary School as well as Mountain View Intermediate 5th grade to begin Plan A on Monday, October 5, 2020. Students at these schools will attend school Monday through Thursday. Fridays will remain a remote learning day.

Franklin High School, Macon Middle School, Union Academy, Macon Early College and Mountain View Intermediate School 6th grade will remain in Plan B.

Highlands School and Nantahala School will remain in their current plan.

Monday, September 21 - COVID-19 Update

Today we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Cartoogechaye Elementary School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Friday, September 18 - COVID-19 Update

Today we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and South Macon Elementary School. These individuals are currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Wednesday, September 16 - Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified at Franklin High School

Today we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Public Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, September 10 - Board of Education Special Called Meeting Update

On a motion made by Tommy Cabe and seconded by Fred Goldsmith, the Board approved by a 5-0 vote to lift the suspension of face-to-face instruction for Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and Union Academy. Students at Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and Union Academy will return to their face-to-face, Plan B schedule beginning Monday, September 14, 2020. Fridays will remain a remote learning day. All Franklin area K-4 schools as well as Macon Early College, Highlands School and Nantahala School will continue on with their current plan.

On a motion made by Tommy Cabe and seconded by Fred Goldsmith, the Board voted 4-1, with Stephanie McCall opposing the motion, to approve Franklin High School’s request to lift the suspension of face-to-face instruction for Franklin High School. Students at Franklin High School will return to their face-to-face, Plan B schedule on Monday, September 14, 2020. Freshmen will attend on Mondays, Sophomores on Tuesdays, Juniors on Wednesdays, and Seniors on Thursdays. Fridays will remain a remote learning day for everyone. The expectation is for Franklin High School students to begin face-to-face instruction two days per week no later than September 28, 2020 or as soon as all social distancing protocols can be met.

Friday, August 28 - Staff Member at Iotla Valley Elementary Tests Positive for COVID-19

Today, we were notified that a staff member at Iotla Valley Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is currently underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, August 24 - Macon County Public Health Identifies a Cluster at a Macon County School

Macon County Public Health has identified a cluster of individuals at Franklin High School who have tested positive and are isolated from others. All staff and students who have potentially been exposed to these individuals have been contacted and will be tested for COVID-19.

In addition to Franklin High School staff and students, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual/parent, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing. MCPH’s Medical Director and Macon County Public Schools are working together to limit the spread of COVID-19 among staff, students, and the community.

Sunday, August 23 - Student Tests Positive at East Franklin Elementary School

Today we were notified that a student at East Franklin Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is currently underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

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Macon County Government Updates

August 24 - Two Macon County EMS Employees Test Positive for COVID-19

Two Macon County EMS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Both have been isolating at home and doing well.

All EMS employees wear masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment on all patient encounters. Sanitation with specialized cleaning equipment occurs regularly on all ambulances and crew quarters. The healthcare system in general is still considered very safe due to the measures taken in an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of the general public and minimizing the risk for exposure within the system.

Macon County Emergency Services has contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of operations of the emergency medical system in the event of widespread illness that leads to employee shortages. The public should rest assured that when they dial 9-1-1 someone will be there to provide safe and effective care when they need it.

August 24 - Macon County Public Health Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Macon County has identified that a third Macon County Public Health employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is isolating at home and doing well. Close contacts of the employee have been notified and tested. The necessary steps to disinfect the affected area have been performed.

Since March, Macon County has implemented strong infection control standards in all county facilities to protect employees and citizens.

These measures include:
• providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who need it,
• limiting access to county building and congregate areas,
• implementing a health screening process for all employees, such as taking temperatures before work,
• assuring that employees who work in an office-based setting are maintaining social distancing measures,
• moving to appointment-based services and limiting walk-in services, and
• implementing teleworking agreements for some personnel to work from home (should their job allow).

Macon County Public Health is confident the risk of exposure for employees and citizens is minimal, and by implementing these measures, the county has been and will continue to provide services safely.

Community transmission is still occurring in Macon County, and MCPH encourages all individuals and organizations remain vigilant to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Macon County recommends that business owners consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on what employers and employees should do if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Macon County leadership is committed to remaining transparent with the public and encourages businesses to be open with the public as well. For more guidance about employee exposure, visit the CDC website by clicking here.

Macon County Public Health COVID-19 News

August 3 - Macon County Public Health Identifies a COVID-19 Outbreak

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak in staff and residents at Drake Cottage, a congregate living facility. Four individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. All positive patients are being isolated and are doing well. Drake Cottage has been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards while in their facility and especially when working with residents.
All the residents and staff of Drake Cottage have been tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and Drake Cottage. All results have been received, and all residents and staff will be tested again later in the week. Drake Cottage and Macon County Public Health are working together and have verified that Drake Cottage has all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

In addition to Drake Cottage staff and residents, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

July 10 - Macon County Public Health Identifies a Cluster in Farming Community

Macon County Public Health has identified a cluster of 9 people who have tested positive at Norton Creek Farms. Employees who have tested positive are isolated from others. All of the farm workers who have potentially been exposed to these individuals have been contacted and will be tested for COVID-19.

In addition to Norton Creek Farms employees, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing. MCPH’s Medical Director and Norton Creek Farms are working together to limit the spread of COVID-19 among farm workers and the community. Norton Creek Farm owner, Nathan Moss, has said of the farm’s precautions for COVID-19, “We have use the strongest precautions possible to keep our farm workers and community safe, and will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our workers and community.”

July 7 - Macon County Public Health Identifies Additional COVID-19 Case at Congregate Living Facility

Macon County Public Health was notified that a resident and employee at Macon Valley Nursing Home have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings Macon Valley Nursing Home’s outbreak to a total of 5; 4 staff members and 1 resident. The resident is asymptomatic and is isolated at Macon Valley and the staff member, who is also asymptomatic, has been isolated at home. None of the positive employees will return to work until they have two negative COVID-19 tests, taken 24 hours apart.

Macon Valley Nursing Home has been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards and procedures while in their facility and when working with patients. All the residents and staff of Macon Valley Nursing Home are being routinely tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and Macon Valley’s leadership team. Macon Valley Nursing Home and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that Macon Valley has all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster in an area business

NC DPH defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as:
• A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
• Plausible linkage between cases;
where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Six employees of Wind River Construction have tested positive. All positive individuals have been issued isolation orders. All additional employees are aware of their exposure, and are currently being contacted for testing. All employees who are awaiting test results have also been given instructions to quarantine until they receive a negative test result; those who test positive will be given isolation orders for 14 days or until they receive 2 negative COVID-19 tests within a 24-48-hour period. In addition, management has been provided disinfection guidance.

June 8, 2020 - Macon County Public Health Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Macon County has identified that a Macon County Public Health employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is isolating at home and doing well. Close contacts of the employee have been notified, tested, and are quarantined until they receive their results. This individual has not had contact with the public as a part of their duties during the COVID-19 response.

Since March, Macon County has implemented strong infection control standards in all county facilities to protect employees and citizens. These measures include:
• providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who need it,
• limiting access to county building and congregate areas,
• implementing a health screening process for all employees, such as taking temperatures before work,
• assuring that employees who work in an office-based setting are maintaining social distancing measures,
• moving to appointment-based services and limiting walk-in services, and
• implementing teleworking agreements for some personnel to work from home (should their job allow).

In addition to the measures above, Macon County Public Health staff is encouraged to be routinely tested as a precaution. Macon County Public Health is confident the risk of exposure for employees and citizens is minimal, and by implementing these measures, the county has been and will continue to provide services safely. The County Maintenance department has performed the necessary steps to disinfect the affected area.

As local businesses open, Macon County leadership encourages all businesses to implement measures to keep employees and customers safe while visiting their establishment. Count On Me NC is a public health initiative that empowers guests and businesses to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19, to access the free training visit https://countonmenc.org/.

Positive cases are increasing in Macon County. Macon County recommends that business owners consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on what employers and employees should do if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Macon County leadership is committed to remaining transparent with the public and encourages businesses to be open with the public as well. For more guidance about employee exposure, visit the CDC website.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like Macon County Public Health, CDC, and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

May 29, 2020 - 42 Macon County Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 in Last 48 Hours

Macon County Public Health has identified 42 positive cases of COVID-19 in the last 48 hours. This brings Macon County to a total positive count of 63: 59 active, 3 recovered, and 1 death. All individuals who test positive are required to isolate for 14 days. Of the 42 positive cases, MCPH has identified a 6-person cluster at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands. The Old Edwards Inn cases were identified from contract tracing efforts from previous cases. Old Edwards Inn is working with MCPH to ensure health and safety for both staff and guests.

MCPH Communicable Disease staff is following up with active cases on a daily basis to monitor symptoms. All 42 positive case were identified through MCPH’s contact tracing efforts related to recent positive cases in our community. The recent identification of clusters of COVID-19 cases confirm there is community spread in Macon County.

“Based on the large amount of positives that we have received over the last week, we have determined that there is community spread in Macon County. We encourage everyone who is able to stay home, to do so. For those who still have to make essential trips, we remind you to practice the 3W’s: Wear, Wash, and Wait,” said Dr. Dewhurst, MCPH Medical Director.

MCPH is reminding community members to practice the 3W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and wait 6 feet apart from others. MCPH is also recommending businesses, churches, and community gathering places to take temperatures of all employees before the start of their shift, implement flexible sick leave policies to allow for employees to take time-off if they or their immediate family is ill, encouraging the disinfection of high-touch surfaces (like doorknobs, keypads, tablets, etc.) and to require masks for all employees.

MCPH is working to identify other close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

May 24, 2020 Update - Macon County Public Health Identifies a COVID-19 Cluster in a Local Church

NC DPH defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as:
• A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
• Plausible linkage between cases; where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Seven (7) members of Evangelical Ebenezer’s congregation have tested positive; all members of the congregation are aware of their exposure, and are currently being contacted for testing. All members of the congregation have also been given instructions to quarantine until they receive a negative test result; those who test positive will be given isolation orders for 14 days. In addition, church leadership has been provided disinfection guidance. This brings Macon County to a total of 16 positive cases: 13 active, 2 recovered, and 1 death.

MCPH is working to identify additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

The entire state of North Carolina is under a “Safer at Home” executive order, currently under phase two. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness. Therefore, we ask that community members strictly follow the governor’s orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions by clicking here.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website and NCDHHS’ website, which also includes future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

MCPH regularly updates our Facebook page with accurate and current information regarding COVID-19; we encourage the public to check our Facebook page by clicking here for up-to-date information.

Macon County repeals, cancels and ends County COVID-19 Pandemic Regulations effective May 8, 2020 - 5PM

Regulations imposed in Macon County (Less the Towns of Franklin and Highlands) by the Macon County Emergency Management Coordinator in connection with the COVID-19 Pandemic will be repealed, cancelled and ended effective May 8, 2020 at 05:00PM.

** Executive Orders of the Governor of the State of North Carolina are still valid and remain in full force and effect, including limits on mass gatherings, and retain social distancing requirements. **

The Governor of the State of North Carolina recently shared information about how North Carolina can gradually and safely reopen over three (3) phases beginning approximately May 8, 2020. The Macon County Health Department has also made recommendations for a reopening of Macon County in phases consistent with the plan released by the Governor.

With the number of COVID-19 positive patients having a minimal impact to date on the healthcare system in Macon County and with provisions available to pause reopening actions or take further actions deemed necessary and appropriate in the future, the regulations so imposed by the Emergency Management Coordinator are deemed no longer necessary as of May 8, 2020 at 05:00PM.

Macon County residents and visitors to our county are strongly urged to follow the state's standards for social distancing. All businesses should also follow recommended social distancing and hygiene practices.

» GO TO MACON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH WEBSITE

A Message from Macon Transit

In light of the recent COVID-19 situation, Macon County Transit would like to let you know some of the ways we are serving the community during this challenging time.

• Vehicles are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day in order to keep our passengers safe.
• Signage has been added to the vehicles asking passengers to observe social distancing while being transported.
• The maximum number of passenger on our vehicles is five so that social distancing can be observed.
• Transportation to medical appointments inside the county is available.
• Transportation is being provided to essential personnel for employment.
• Transportation to the grocery store is available.
• The Mountain Gem route operates on hourly loops, rather than half-hour loops. Hours of this service is 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.
• In partnership with the Crawford Senior Center, we are assisting with delivery of meals to elderly citizens within the county.
• The shuttle service to the Appalachian Trail is available but operation is slightly different. The vehicle goes to Rock Gap & Winding Stairs at approximately 9:00 a.m. The vehicle remains at Winding Stairs for approximately 30 minutes or until five passengers have boarded. The vehicle returns to Franklin for the hiker(s) to resupply or arrange to get off the trail. The hikers are given information on the recently imposed regulations in place for Macon County. Should they need transportation TO the Asheville airport, every effort is made to take them and drop them off there.
• NO passengers are being picked up FROM the airport and transported to Franklin.
• NO requests are being accepted for out of county appointments until further notice.
• Exceptions will be made to provide transportation to out of county medical appointments when request is made by the Physician’s office as a medical necessity.

The office staff and drivers at Macon County Transit would like you to call our office at 349-2222 if you have any questions or concerns.