Buncombe County Escalates Gathering Restrictions

Predictably, the month of December has seen a startling rise in community-based transmission of COVID-19 right here in our own county. The current number of new cases per 100,000 residents has inflated by 158% since November and the average number of new cases occurring daily has risen to 135. Most concerning of all, Buncombe’s percent positivity rate (the percentage of tests returning with positive results divided by the total number of tests conducted) has blossomed from 4.7% to 8.9% in just the last four weeks.

In response to troubling trends, Buncombe County’s Declaration of a Local State of Emergency orders more stringent mitigation measures in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The new local order does the following:

Prohibits gatherings of more than two people indoors at the same time in a single confined indoor space. In publicly accessible indoor facilities, the two person gathering limit applies per room of the facility.

Limits the number of patrons in a restaurant to thirty percent of stated fire capacity
(lowered from fifty percent). While indoor dining in restaurants remains allowable under this order, this is a reflection of economic necessity rather than relative safety.

The Deerfield Leadership Team is responding to this new county dictate with appropriate rapidity and to the best of our ability. We remain cognizant of the unique vulnerabilities of those who live and work on our campus and persist in our commitment to abiding by all federal, state, and local mandates and to administering a robust and data-driven campuswide COVID-19 response.