Mission Health limits visitation as COVID-19 numbers soar

  • Mission Health has limited visitation at all of its facilities due to COVID-19 rates.
    Mission Health has limited visitation at all of its facilities due to COVID-19 rates.

To protect patients and staff Mission Health elevated its visitor restrictions to Level 3 at all locations, including Angel Medical Center, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, CareParters, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, Mission Hospital McDowell and Transylvania Regional Hospital as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Level 3 visitation, which means patients will not be allowed any visitors, was implemented at Mission Hospital in Asheville on Dec. 18.  There is an exception for pediatric patients, who are allowed to have one adult visitor with them at a time. Limited other special situations will be reviewed on individual cases.

As a precaution, visitors will not be allowed for COVID-19-positive patients or with patients awaiting a COVID-19 test result. Additionally, there continues to be no visitation at the Eckerd Living Center on the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital campus.

“The health and safety of our patients and team members is our top priority and we are taking the rising number of COVID cases very seriously,” said William Hathaway, Chief Medical Officer, Mission Health/HCA North Carolina Division. “We realize this may be difficult for some patients and wish the situation were different, but we are taking every precaution to protect those in our care and our colleagues by reducing the risk of exposure to the virus.”

Mission Health uses established protocols to care for patients with infectious diseases and follows CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 cases, including isolating the patients and taking steps to ensure the safety of our patients, employees and visitors.

“These updates are meant to keep our colleagues and patients healthy. We want to ensure that we remain a continual resource for the communities we serve,” said Hathaway. “We are grateful that we have been able to begin vaccinating our team, but we implore our community and staff to remain vigilant in the 3Ws – wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, wash your hands - to stop the spread of this illness.”

For more information, visit Missionhealth.org/covid-19.

As a reminder to protect yourself and prevent the spread of illnesses:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Stay home when you are ill

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue

• Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often, using either soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel for at least 20 seconds


MCPH identifies two clusters

Macon County Public Health officials identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Macon Program for Progress on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

A total of six people associated with the facility tested positive and were subsequently quarantined. Contact tracing is underway to determine if more testing is necessary.

A second cluster was confirmed at the Macon County 911 call center on Dec. 23. Five staff members at the call center tested positive and were quarantined.

“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,” Macon County EMS Director Warren Cabe said. “Operations have been adjusted to maintain the availability of this essential service 24 hours per day seven days per week. Minimum staffing levels have been maintained by rotating employees between shifts as needed and there has been no lapse in service.”


By the numbers

According to Macon County Public Health statistics, Macon County set a new record for active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 353 active confirmed cases.

Since the start of the pandemic in February, there have been 1,464 COVID-19 cases in Macon County, with 1,102 of those patients being listed as recovered and nine deaths. There are 80 tests pending results.

Statewide there have been 524,279 confirmed cases and 6,574 deaths. Nationally, there have been 19,340,538 confirmed cases and 335,820 deaths.