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Update: Covid cases spike among younger, unvaccinated

The Delta variant of the SARS-COVID-19 virus is spreading “exponentially,” doubling since last week, and about 92 percent of all new cases in Buncombe County are among individuals who are not fully vaccinated, Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders said Wednesday. The average age of newly infected individuals is 39, Saunders said.

Even so, Gov. Roy Cooper said his executive order mandating facial masks at schools, camps, and child care facilities will expire next week and will not be renewed. However, Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said Wednesday she and Cooper “strongly recommend” masks for all students, teachers, and staff inside elementary and middle school facilities even if adults or students 12 and older have been fully vaccinated.

Three-fourths of North Carolina’s children 12 and older have not been vaccinated, according to Cohen and Cooper, leaving most schools vulnerable to the Delta variant of COVID-19. — P.L.

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