COVID-19 cases climb as Christmas beckons

  • COVID-19 cases in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties continue to rise as the Christmas holiday approaches. 

Update on case numbers: As of Wednesday, Dec. 9,  Mitchell County has 120 active positive cases, 31 of which are in congregate living facilities, and 17 deaths. Neighboring Avery County has 153 active positives, 14 of which are in congregate living, and 18 deaths while neighboring Yancey County has 142 active positives, 20 of which are in congregate living, and only four deaths. 

LEDGER — COVID-19 cases in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties continue to rise as the Christmas holiday approaches. 

The Mitchell County Health Department reported 17 new positives on Friday, Dec. 4, including two cases from congregate living. 

In addition to the new positives, there are eight new recovered cases in the county. 

Earlier in the day on Friday, Dec. 4, the Toe River Health District announced one COVID-19-related death in all three counties. 

All of the individuals were in their 80s and to protect the privacy of the families, no further information will be released. 

Mitchell leads the tri-counties in deaths with 15. In Avery, 14 have died while four have died in Yancey. 

“We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these individuals,” said Toe River Health District Health Director Diane Creek. “This virus continues to spread within our communities and has the potential to cause fatal results to anyone infected. 

“This is one reason why it is important for everyone to comply with the face covering requirement and social distancing guideline to reduce the spread of this virus, especially during the holiday season.”

The steady rise in cases continues nearly two weeks after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper tightened the state’s mask mandate ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Cooper’s tightened mandate, which applies mask wearing to “all indoor settings” regardless of whether a six-foot distance is being maintained between non-household contacts, remains in place through Friday, Dec. 11. 

The Toe River Health District, like most health districts across the nation, continues to underscore the importance of the three Ws: wearing a mask, washing your hands and waiting more than six feet apart. 

For the latest national information about COVID-19, including prevention tips and national case numbers, visit