COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Information For Citizens & Visitors of
Franklin & Macon County NC

Macon County NC, Information & Resources

Macon County officials encourage both residents and visitors to follow health and safety guidelines. And, if you have not had a COVID-19 vaccine, you are urged to do so. Call Macon County Public Health at 828-349-2081 to schedule your vaccination.

June 24 - COVID-19 Case Count Update (updated on Fridays):
51 Active Cases of COVID-19 in Macon County
8,245 recovered • 122 Deaths • 8,418 Total Cases

Total First Dose Vaccines Given by MCPH & Off-Site:

Total First Doses Given - 13,302
Total Vaccines Given - 26,161

Macon's Community Transmission status is LOW

» CDC Transmission Map - Choose State and Macon County or other counties of interest

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-349-2081 to schedule an appointment for a test.

Macon County Public Health will now offer Covid-19 Testing on the following schedule:
Mondays: 8:30am -9:30am
Tuesdays: 1:30pm-2:30pm
Wednesdays: NO TESTING
Thursdays: 1:30pm-2:30pm
Fridays: 8:30am-9:30am

Testing is by appointment only. Please call 349-2081 to make an appointment.

June 30 - COVID Cases on the Rise in Macon County

Macon County Public Health is seeing a rise in COVID cases in Macon County. As school summer break is underway and people prepare for summer vacations, a COVID resurgence is starting to take place in Macon County. Case counts are as high as they’ve been since mid-February, following the Omicron Surge, and we know those figures are likely undercounted because of unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections. Hospitalizations are also upward trend throughout NC.

“Although the level of COVID in Macon County is still considered low compared to surrounding counties, once exposed, your risk of catching the disease is still high” said Dr. Donald Dewhurst, Medical Director.
“Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains your best protection from getting sick, preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death” said Health Director, Kathy McGaha.

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-349-2081 to schedule an appointment for a test. To register and schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, please call 828-349-2081.

June 24, 2022 / MCPH - Monkeypox Case Confirmed in Region One

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recently confirmed the first positive case of monkeypox within North Carolina. This case has occurred within our region 1. Macon County Public Health is working closely with NC DHHS to make sure we remain up to date on all aspects of prevention, treatment, spread, and risk factors identified by the CDC. Currently, there is no great risk identified for the general public.

Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal. It can also be transmitted from person to person through close contact with body fluids and lesions, hugging, kissing, talking closely, as well as fabrics/bedding/surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Individuals infected with monkeypox may develop a fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, head/body aches, chills, and exhaustion.

The CDC have been tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States. This virus has and will continue to be monitored diligently by health officials.

Please follow the link to the CDC website for current and accurate data surrounding this virus: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

May 24, 2022 - Macon County Sees Increase in COVID-19 Cases

As the United States and North Carolina are experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, Macon County is also experiencing a similar trend of reported cases over the past several weeks. Although far below peak Omicron Surge levels from early 2022, Macon County’s weekly rate of new cases has increased 105 percent since the beginning of May.

“Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains your best protection from getting sick, preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death” said Health Director, Kathy McGaha. McGaha continued, “Although we have seen a significant decline in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the year; residents can continue to protect themselves by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and booster if eligible and wearing a mask while indoors in public.”

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-349-2081 to schedule an appointment for a test. To register and schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, please call 828-349-2081.

May 2022 - Infant Formula Shortage

Some families in North Carolina are facing challenges accessing infant formulas. These challenges are related to the February recall of certain Abbott infant formulas, the resulting increased demand for other brands of formula, and the lingering effects of supply issues during the pandemic. During these on-going shortages, our top priority is to help families access safe, healthy feeding options for their infants. NCDHHS provides the following recommendations on what families can do and what they should avoid.

What can families do?

  • If a family is not able to find formula for their child, they should work with the child’s health care provider to determine the best feeding plan. For cow's milk-based formula, a comparable otherbrand, including generic or store brand, smaller manufacturer, or organic options are generally fine.

  • Families can turn to community organizations, reputable online retailers, distributors, and manufacturers as sources for finding formula. Contact United Way’s 2-1-1 or dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food. Certain milk banks accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America are distributing donated breast milk to mothers in need; please note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional. Find an HMBANA-accredited milk bank near you.

  • Families can contact manufacturers for help in finding formula:
    o MyGerber Baby Expert
    o Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: call 1-800-986-8540 and urgent product request line
    o Reckitt’s (Mead Johnson) Customer Service line: call 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)

  • Families using a combination feeding of breast milk and iron-fortified infant formula may wish to consider increasing the frequency of breastfeeding or pumping so that they do not need as much formula. Families can reach out to a local lactation specialist to try and help increase their supply of breastmilk.

    WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children that provides benefits for healthy foods, breastfeeding education and support, and health care referrals for low income families. For infants enrolled in the program, WIC provides supplemental assistance to help cover the cost of infant formulas in the first year of life.

    WIC participants who cannot find formula in local stores should first contact their local WIC agency to get help finding available formula in the community. If formula is not available in local stores, the local WIC agency may be able to submit an order request for the formula from the manufacturer through the state WIC agency, pending availability.

    For WIC participants with a specialized formula prescription, a medical provider must change the prescription. Talk with your child’s health care provider about possible options during the shortage.

    The WIC program also provides breastfeeding support and resources to families. Families participating in WIC may contact their local WIC clinic for additional breastfeeding support and breast pump issuance as appropriate.

    • Women who are pregnant are encouraged to consult with a health care provider about breastfeeding their infant. Families feeding a baby with donor breast milk should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk, such as those accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

    • If you see a formula price that seems too high, report it to the North Carolina Department of Justice by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/gouging or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

    • Families needing help with formula costs who have not applied for assistance are encouraged to learn more about WIC at https://www.nutritionnc.com/wic/ or apply for FNS (formerly known as food stamps) at https://epass.nc.gov.

    What should families avoid?

    • Do NOT make homemade infant formula. Homemade formula recipes can be very dangerous for babies since they have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant’s growth.

    • Do NOT water down formula to stretch it out; it can be extremely dangerous to your baby to do so. Always follow formula label instructions or those given to you by your health care provider.

    • Toddler formula and plant-based milk alternatives are not recommended before a child’s first birthday.

    • Do NOT buy formula from online auctions, unknown individuals, or unknown origins. Storage and shipping conditions may impact formula safety. Formula from outside the United States is not regulated by the FDA, though the FDA is now exploring safe options for importing formula from other countries.

    What is NCDHHS doing to help families?

    • Through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), NCDHHS is helping to connect families participating in WIC directly to needed formula and placing bulk orders with manufacturers on behalf of local WIC agencies and the families they serve.

    • Using flexibility from the federal government to make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina is already using available USDA rule waivers to help retailers continue to serve WIC-enrolled families during the shortage and help families return or exchange formulas included in the recall.

    • Working with the federal government to waive additional rules for the WIC program to make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina has requested waivers that would give WIC-enrolled families more flexibility to purchase other types of formula and in a wider variety of sizes based on availability and health care provider recommendations.

    • Providing guidance to local WIC agencies and health care providers to make it easier for health care providers to give WIC-enrolled families several options of formula types and sizes on a single prescription to meet their children’s specialized formula needs.

    • Monitoring the fluctuating formula supply across the state and keeping our partner organizations updated.

    What other resources are available?

    • HHS: Helping Families Find Formula
    • President Biden’s Fact Sheet
    • AAP/Healthychildren.org Resource for Parents
    • FDA Consumer Page on Powdered Infant Formula Recall
    • USDA Infant Formula Safety
    • FDA Infant Formula: Safety Do’s and Don’ts
    • NCDHHS WIC Program
    • USDA WIC Breastfeeding
    • NCDHHS Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
    • CDC’s Relactation Resources
    • WHO/UNICEF’s Maximising Breastmilk and Supporting Re-lactation
    • Ready, Set, Baby
    • Establishing and Making Enough Milk
    • Ready, Set, Baby Live Online Classes Schedule

November 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for those 5 to 11 at Macon County Public Health

Macon County Public Health to provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to those who are five (5) years old and older. Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for use for individuals as young as 5 years of age. In addition to the benefits of vaccination, the ability to vaccinate school age children will help to reduce the number of quarantines and allow students, once fully vaccinated, to remain face-to-face for instruction regardless of exposure.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Typical reactions to the vaccine in children are pain at the injection site, redness, and swelling and your child may experience other reactions like tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea these symptoms usually go away within a few days of the vaccination.

A legal guardian of the student must be present for those under the age of eighteen (18) to receive the vaccination. Those who wish to schedule an appointment must call Macon County’s Call Center at 828-524-1500 to schedule an appointment.

Appointments are readily available with no waitlist. The Macon County Vaccine Call Center is open Monday – Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

October 2021 - COVID-19 BOOSTERS AVAILABLE FOR FULLY VACCINATED GROUPS TO MAINTAIN PROTECTION

Individuals who have received the primary two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna and the one dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations may be eligible for a booster vaccine to support the body’s immune response to COVID-19. Appointments are available at Macon County Public Health to all who meet the criteria for a booster dose.

Those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna may be eligible for a booster vaccine as approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the following groups of people who received their second Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. These recommendations apply to those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccination for their first two vaccines, and they may get either booster with ANY of the available vaccines:
• Patients 65 years of age or older,
• Patients 18 years of age or older who are a resident of a long term care facility,
• Patients aged 18 to 64 who have an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk for severe COVID-19*,
• Patients aged 18 to 64 who have an occupational or institutional exposure to COVID-19** .

Those 18 and older who received the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine are approved to get a booster vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They must have received their J&J vaccine at least two months ago. Those who received the J&J one shot vaccine are able to choose any of the available vaccines for their booster.

The Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine is also approved by the CDC for the following groups of people who received their second Pfizer vaccine at least 28 days prior ***. These recommendations, currently, only apply to those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination for their first two vaccines:
•Patients 12 years of age and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

Those who meet the above criteria are encouraged to schedule their vaccine booster appointment, by calling Macon County Public Health at 828-349-2081. The booster vaccine is available at no cost to those who are eligible, regardless of their insurance status. If you are insured, you are asked to bring your insurance card to your appointment. You do not have to receive your booster at the same location that you received your primary COVID-19 vaccinations. However, you MUST bring your vaccination card that you received with your initial vaccine.

Each COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and J&J) is working to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, in people who are fully vaccinated, if they become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, with increased variant transmission, researchers are seeing a decrease in protections in those who are fully vaccinated and at additional risk, either due to their immune system or individual risk factors (like their occupation or living situation).

These booster vaccinations will give these individuals the protection that they may have lost over time. There is not currently data to support vaccine boosters in the general population, because the general population has not seen the same decrease in protection, though it is possible that a vaccine booster will be recommended to the general public in the future.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may 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 recommendations and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. Everyone who is eligible is encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a safe and effective prevention tool.

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-349-2081 to schedule an appointment for a test. To register and schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, please call 828-349-2081.

* Health Conditions That May Put A Person At Higher Risk Of Severe COVID-19: Cancer, Chronic kidney disease, Chronic lung diseases (like COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension), Dementia, Other Neurological conditions, Diabetes, Down syndrome, Heart conditions, HIV infection, Weakened immune system, Liver disease, Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle cell disease, Smoking (current or former), Organ or blood transplant, Stoke or cerebrovascular disease, and Substance use disorders.

** Those At Risk For Occupational and Institutional Exposures: Healthcare workers, Teachers/Educational staff, Correctional staff and inmates, First responders, Food and agricultural workers, Grocery store staff, Group home residents.

***Patients between the ages of 12-15 years of age must have parental/guardian consent to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccine.

 

MACON COUNTY GOVERNMENT

June 23, 2021 - Effective immediately the State of Emergency proclamation issued by Macon County in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus COVID719 pandemic is now terminated. The state is experiencing a decrease in the number of daily COVID-19 diagnoses and vaccines are readily available to the majority of the population.

The public is encouraged to follow health and safety guidelines and remain vigilant as we proceed through the summer months and enter the fall of 2021 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone who is eligible is encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine which is a safe and effective prevention tool.

PROCLAMATION TERMINATING STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, on March 17, 2020, a State of Emergency Proclamation was issued by Jim Tate, Chairman of the Macon County Commissioners; and

WHEREAS, over recent months in North Carolina, due to the measures taken by Macon County, other governmental agencies, civic organizations, volunteers, and the resilience and persistence of the residents of Macon County, the County is experiencing substantially lower COVID-19 related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and daily diagnoses;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 vaccines are readily available to all residents; and

WHEREAS, The Governor of North Carolina by Executive Order 215 dated May 14, 2021, lifted many COVID-19 Restrictions to Reflect the New Public Health Recommendations; and

WHEREAS, pursuant N.C. Gen Stat. §166A-19.22(b}(3)c and §166A-19.22(c), the County is authorized to lift the State of Emergency previously declared.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the specific authority provided to the Chairman of the County Board of Commissioners by N.C. Gen Stat. §166A-19.22(b)(3)(c) and §166A-19.22(c), I hereby proclaim that the Covid-19 State of Emergency previously declared on March 17, 2020, for Macon County, North Carolina is no longer applicable and the same is hereby terminated.

This proclamation shall become effective immediately. Proclaimed this the 23rd day of June, 2021.

Jim Tate, Chairman Macon County Board of County Commissioners
Derek Roland, Macon County Manager and Clerk to the Board

MACON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH VACCINATION UPDATES

Macon County Public Health has now opened COVID-19 vaccines to all who want them the age of 18 or older. Call 828-524-1500 to schedule an appointment.

MCPH Call Center Update - June 14, 2021 - Macon County to Close Vaccine Call Center, Calls to Go to Health Department

On June 18th, Macon County will be closing the COVID Call Center. The Macon County COVID Call Center opened January 16th to handle the high volume of calls in response to the launch of public vaccination efforts for COVID-19.

With the closing of the call center, members of the public who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or need tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to call the Macon County Health Department directly at 828-349-2081, where they can then schedule an appointment for either testing or vaccination.

Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director, said of the closing, “We are so thankful for the xommunity members who stepped up to help our community and make the vaccine call center possible. This is not the end of our push to have Macon County residents vaccinated against this deadly virus, but we are beginning to incorporate our COVID-19 response with the important work we do every day.”

With generous support from Drake Enterprises, Macon County was able to launch a dedicated call center that could handle the demand for lifesaving vaccines. The call center was also able to hire temporary positions to staff the call center with funds made available by the Macon County Board of Commissioners, in addition to realignment of existing Macon County employees, and Macon County citizens who volunteered their time to help their community.

Integral to the opening of the vaccine call center was County Manager, Derek Roland. Mr. Roland was able to mobilize various county agencies, to assure the success of the call center. “The success we had at the call center would not have been possible without Mr. Phil Drake and his willingness to donate his facility, staff and equipment. In addition, the hard work and dedication of Sheriff Robert Holland, Tammy Keezer and all those employees and volunteers at the call center, whether it be disseminating information or registering individuals for vaccines, directly resulted in Macon County having one of the highest per capita vaccination rates in the state. As a Macon County citizen, I will never be able to thank these individuals enough for the excellent job they have done. As Macon County Manager, it is an honor to work alongside these individuals each and every day.”

The last day the Vaccine Call Center will be active will be Friday, June 18th, 2021 at 4:00pm. Those who wish to schedule an appointment after that time are asked to call Macon County Public Health at 828-349-2081. The Health Department is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm

MCPH Vaccine Update - May 5, 2021

Macon County Public Health Will Being Pre-Registering Children Age 12 to 15 for the COVID-19 Vaccination

With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine advisory panel set to authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in those aged 12 to 15, Macon County’s Vaccine Call Center will begin to pre-register children, should their parents wish for them to be vaccinated once the vaccine has been approved. No Pfizer clinics are currently planned, though the public and those who pre-register will be notified once appointments become available for the Pfizer vaccine with Macon County Public Health.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved under a FDA Emergency Use Authorization, and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19, and vaccine clinical trials for the age 12 to 15 group had no symptomatic infections after being fully vaccinated. Side effects in this age group were similar to that of the age 16 to 25 group which included fever, pain at the injection site, and cold like symptoms lasting no longer than 72 hours after the injection.

Vaccinating children is key to increasing immunity within our community, and allowing students to return to a normal school life. Once fully-vaccinated, students will be able to stay in in-person classroom settings regardless of exposure, and those with no symptoms will be allowed to attend classes.

Parents that want their child to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, must call Macon County’s Vaccine Call Center at 828-524-1500 to pre-register. Any adult who wishes to receive the vaccine, may also call the Vaccine Call Center to register and schedule an appointment. The Macon County Vaccine Call Center is open Monday – Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Macon County Public Health Vaccination Registration Updates

Macon County Public Health is vaccinating all individuals who are 18 years of age or older, regardless of health status or employment. Macon County Public Health has worked through a majority of the existing waitlist, including those who previously qualified for their vaccine. Appointments are available to all who qualify and want the vaccine. Individuals that want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, must call Macon County’s Vaccine Call Center at 828-524-1500 to register and schedule an appointment. The Macon County Vaccine Call Center is open Monday – Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.