By Dave Russell

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services shows a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state and a downward trend in Jackson County. The state’s seven-day average fell to 1,534 on Nov. 8 but rose to 1,829 on Nov. 13. In Jackson, the seven-day average stood at six on Nov. 15, down from 12 on Nov. 8. The last time the seven-day average in Jackson was that low was July 28. 

The Jackson County Department of Public Health reports its series of clinics at schools and other locations is going well. 

“In two days at Smokey Mountain Elementary School, 81 pediatric doses and 15 adult doses were administered,” said Anna Lippard, health department spokeswoman. “We continue to see a positive response for those wanting booster doses.”

The last community vaccine clinic on the schedule is set for Dec. 4, however planning is in place for follow up/second doses clinics. The additional schedule will be forthcoming.

Lippard is concerned about the holidays. With good reason.

The county’s highest COVID-19 tallies followed the 2020 holidays, with 81 recorded on Dec. 9 following the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday. The second highest, 74, followed on Dec. 15. Post-Christmas, the county recorded its fourth highest total, 56, on Jan. 4.

“As we move into the holiday season we are urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu,” Lippard said.


Local clinics 

The Jackson County Department of Public Health community vaccine clinics are scheduled as follows:

• Today (Thursday), Blue Ridge School Library from 4-7 p.m.

• Nov. 20, First United Methodist Church gymnasium from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

• Nov. 21, 22 and 23, Cullowhee Rec Center meeting rooms from 4-7 p.m.

• Dec. 4, First United Methodist Church gymnasium from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The clinics are open to anyone, but those 12 and older can pre-register at Children 5-11 may walk-in for a vaccine. For more information, call 586-8994.


By the numbers

As of Wednesday morning, Jackson County Public Schools reported two staff and non-staff cases, one each at the Central Office and Smokey Mountain Elementary. 

The lone student case is at Fairview Elementary, its  same count as last week. 

The schools have 16 students in quarantine as of Wednesday morning, with Fairview reporting the most with five and Scotts Creek with four.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, members voted to extend the system’s mask mandate at least one more month. 

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports 5,797 total cases in the county through Nov. 13, up 39 from 5,758 reported on Nov. 6. The county has had 1,319.6 cases per 10,000 residents, up from 1,310.7 last week. DHHS reports 72 deaths in the county, the same as last week. As of Wednesday, the DHHS Dashboard shows 21,881 people in Jackson County have been fully vaccinated with 23,811 at least partially vaccinated.