Written by Holly Kays, Smoky Mountain News

Jackson County reported its first coronavirus death this morning.
According to the health department, the patient was over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information will be released.
The news makes Jackson the third of the seven western counties to report a death from COVID-19. Cherokee and Macon counties have each reported one such death, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of this individual.” said Health Director Shelley Carraway. “We also want to reiterate the importance of staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone, whether you are a full-time resident, part-time resident or otherwise, should be staying home as much as possible and continuing to practice social distancing when you must go out.
”Local updates are posted on the Jackson County Department of Public Health website, www.health.jacksonnc.org/covid19, or by calling the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center at 828.631.HELP.