COVID Case Numbers Jump Again in WNC, Testing Taking Place in Sylva

Statewide Cases Of COVID-19 Increase By Nearly Seven-Hundred

(Asheville, NC) -- State health officials are reporting more than 16-thousand-500 cases of COVID-19 across North Carolina as of Thursday's update. That is an increase of nearly 700 cases from the previous day's report. Per the Buncombe County dashboard, on Thursday there were 116 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county, including four fatalities. Nearby Henderson County has had more than 250 cases confirmed and 35 deaths.

Asheville City Council Fighting For Hazard Pay For Local Front-Line Workers

(Asheville, NC) -- While the federal government is working on approving hazard pay for essential workers during the pandemic, Asheville officials are doing the same for local front-line employees. City Council member Julie Mayfield is leading the local charge, saying most of the essential workers are making low wages in high-stress work environments. She says that the bonus pay would be funded through the CARES Act which has granted the city more than three-and-a-half million dollars. Mayfield adds city transit drivers need to be added to that list of front-line essential employees and deserve compensation.

Community Testing Continues As New Sites Are Opening Friday

(Asheville, NC) -- Community COVID-19 testing continues today in Buncombe County after more than two-hundred people have been tested in the first two days of operation at the Hillcrest site. Only those who are showing symptoms are eligible for the tests. As of Thursday, there were roughly 300 test kits available for patients. Meanwhile, drive-thru testing will be available today between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Sylva Walmart.

Local Brewery Committed To Helping Service Industry Workers During Pandemic

(Asheville, NC) -- An Asheville brewery is releasing a new beer dedicated to helping service industry workers who are suffering major economic losses during the pandemic. Hi-Wire Brewing is calling the beer "Donate To Service Industry Workers By Drinking This Beer;" a lengthy, but effective title they say. A portion of the proceeds of every six-pack sold is being donated to the USBG National Charity Foundation and the North Carolina Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.

Local Repair Shop Owner Sentenced To Ten Years On Thirty Felony Charges

(Asheville, NC) -- A local business owner and now convicted meth dealer is going to prison for ten years on multiple drug and gun charges. Charles Lloyd Brown the third was arrested back in July of last year when he was caught with drugs and a gun during a routine traffic stop. When police later searched Charlie's Auto Care repair shop, owned by Brown, they found dozens of weapons, including several that were stolen. Brown will serve all ten years of his sentence as he is not eligible for early release under federal drug laws.

Local Health Leaders Expect More Cases Of COVID-19 In Area Nursing Homes

(Asheville, NC) -- Health officials say they expect more nursing homes to be hit with coronavirus as now the third local facility is reporting multiple cases. Thursday, Buncombe County Interim Public Health Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore said that eldercare facilities should be reserving COVID-19 tests for residents and employees who are showing symptoms. With that, Mullendore says they are awaiting further guidance from the state on testing at these facilities and will advise on the local response soon. Nearby Henderson County is attributing more than 180 cases of COVID-19 to eldercare facilities.

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