April 21, 2020

Good Morning all, lots of big news regionally, nationally and internationally. The wave of reopening is building and as we get closer to the April 29 end of the lockdown, we should expect an announcement from Gov. Cooper regarding what is to happen here in NC. Of course, the County is also able to impose stricter requirements.

Immigration and Unemployment – With our economy destroyed and unemployment hitting record highs, President Trump announced that “[i]n light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Mission Hospital DataThe Chief Medical Officer of Mission Health is reported to have stated that the curve is flat and they have thousands of boxes of PPE. Additionally, Mission is trying to redistribute those employees laid off by the reduction of medical services and surgeries to other departments, and that their pandemic pay policy gives employees 70 percent of their base pay for seven weeks.

Local Medical Data – As of noon yesterday, there were 48 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Buncombe County residents, with 3 deaths. Once again, data about the number of recoveries is not reported. Why?

ReOpen Buncombe – I missed this previously, but Mountain Express reported on a media availability held on April 16, during which the County’s emergency preparedness coordinator stated that: “this “long-term dance” could last well into 2021 and that mass gatherings above 50-100 people would likely not be permitted until a vaccine had been developed, a process that could take up to 18 months.”

ReOpen NCAnother protest scheduled for today at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.

At Home TestingLabCorp has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for an at-home version of a COVID-19 test kit. It will be first made available to healthcare workers and first responders. One of the advantages of an at home test ability is that it reduces the need for PPE by testing personnel.

SC ReopeningSC Gov. McMaster announced yesterday that he would issue an Executive Order allowing retail stores to reopen with new restrictions. In addition, all SC beaches are to be opened today.

RestaurantsThe impact caused by the lockdown on restaurants and the industry in general has been significant.

PPP Update – Congress still has not reached a deal, but reportedly one is close. Frustrating and really pathetic.