High Country Press

Published Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • COVID-19 Update: Active Cases in Watauga County Drops Once Again to Fewer than 100 Individuals

    October 23, 2020 Watauga County experienced another sizeable drop in active COVID-19 cases, this time a 55 percent drop overall down from 167 active cases on October 16 to 92 active cases on October 23. The county still has 235 residents being actively monitored for the coronavirus. The county now has had 1,723 total positive cases since testing began. Hospitalizations in the three-county AppHealthCare district did increase by three from 57 to 60 this week, and there was an additional death reported in both Watauga County and Ashe County. Watauga has now lost 16 individuals to the virus while Ashe County has had eight individuals pass away. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Fall Leaf Colors are Beginning to Peak at Areas with an Elevation of 3,000 Feet and Below


    October 23, 2020  While there are some colors still hanging around in areas of the High Country, the place to be in the next week are areas with an elevation at 3,000 feet and below, according to the latest update from Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, Appalachian State’s own Fall Leaf Guy. “I think you will have one more good week and the next weekend to see good colors in the High Country. After that, you’ll have to focus on sites located at lower elevations, like Stone Mt. State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, and Gorges State Park. The Smokies should also be good this week and next, as will be places north on the Parkway up into Virginia,” said Dr. Neufeld. “Once you get above 3,500 feet though, the colors quickly drop out and by 4,000 feet, most of the leaves are gone or barely hanging on.” Some leaves have been able to hang on to their color a little longer than usual due to the unseasonably warm temperatures this week according to Neufeld. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • First Seven Days of Early Voting Brings Out Over 12,000 Watauga County Voters

    October 23, 2020 Through the first week of early voting in Watauga County, a total of 12,471 registered voters have already made their ballots official for the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. Mail-in absentee voting has remained a popular source for voting as well. Watauga County has reported 3,873 ballots have been returned through the mail, bringing the total number of ballots cast in the count to 16,341. At the statewide level, 36.88 percent of all registered voters have already cast their ballots. One-stop early voting ballots in North Carolina are just under 2 million at 1,970,270 and mail-in ballots are 727,631. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Appalachian State’s COVID-19 Cases Have Dropped Significantly in the Last Three Weeks


    October 23, 2020  Students and employees on Appalachian State’s campus have just 37 active COVID-19 cases, the fewest on campus since 32 active cases were reported on August 31. On October 3, the campus reported its highest active case total of the entire pandemic with 225 students and 10 employees all battling the virus. That number has dropped to 34 students and three employees as of Friday morning, October 23. Taking a look at the weekly testing totals, the percentage of positive cases has dropped each week since a peak of nine percent on September 27 when there were 1,418 tests taken, and 127 of those returned positive results. From September 28 through October 4, the positive case percentage still remained high at 8.4 percent with 163 positive tests out of 1,934 collected samples. The next week saw a record number of completed tests at 2,674 with 112 positive cases, down to a 4.2 percent positive total. From October 12 through October 18, 1,970 tests were completed with just 45 positive tests (2.3 percent). By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Shares Their Terrific Kids Pictures from Riverside Elementary School


    October 23, 2020  The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk would like to recognize August and September’s group of Terrific Kids from Riverside Elementary School. Terrific Kids for the month of August – Front row (L to R): Mason Thomas, Nehemiah Honeycutt, Maddux Vance, Becca Woody. Back row (L to R): Bentley Burleson, Nevaeh Honeycutt, Benjamin Carpenter, Dakota Laws, Tessa Ingram. Terrific Kids for the month of September – Front row (L to R): Madi-Rose Stafford, Samara Ekard, James Clark, Silas Thomas. Back row (L to R): Tycen McClellan, Charlee Willams, Sylas Fisher, Bentley Hoilman, Gracie Honeycutt / Read more…



  • The Children’s Council Supports Children, Families During COVID-19 Pandemic

    October 23, 2020 The Children’s Council, part of the statewide Smart Start network, has launched two new initiatives to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Children’s Council is providing training for parents and early childhood professionals to address ongoing stress, and collaborating with family child care providers to adjust their operations and maintain access to care for families. “During this crisis, I’m proud Smart Start has worked quickly through our network of local partnerships to leverage these funds to meet the needs of children and families across the state,” said Amy Cubbage, president of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, which oversees the Smart Start network. “We are grateful that our state’s policymakers recognized the importance of support for child care, children and families and invested in these needs.” The Children’s Council’s investments are made possible by $20 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated by the North Carolina General Assembly to support early childhood initiatives.  / Read more…



  • Alpine Ski Shop at Appalachian Ski Mtn. Holding Annual Preseason Sale and Swap Now through October 25


    October 23, 2020  Ski season is just around the corner and the Alpine Ski Shop is ready for customers with the 23rd year of its annual preseason sale. The sale began last Friday and will continue through Sunday, October 25. “The response from our customers has been extremely positive and there has been lots of excitement about getting on the slopes this winter! We have made numerous changes this year to be COVID compliant to make things safe for our staff and customers for our preseason sale,” said Brenda Speckmann, who operates the ski shop. Each year, the Preseason Sale and Swap at the Alpine Ski Shop is located in the downstairs lobby at the base lodge. The sale offers customers some great deals on clothing, ski and snowboard equipment, and accessories. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • App State Rolls Past Arkansas State, 45-17


    October 23, 2020  Appalachian State beat Arkansas State in all facets of the game Thursday night at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, enroute to a 45-17 Sun Belt Conference rout. Approximately 2,100 attended the game, but perhaps millions watched on the ESPN National Broadcast. The Mountaineers move to 3-1 over-all on the season and 1-0 in the conference. They had a 26-day layoff due to a team outbreak of COVID-19, but it wasn’t a problem for them against the Red Wolves (3-3; 1-2). Appalachian State’s offense exploded for 521 total yards. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Following the Data, Governor Cooper Announced North Carolina Will Remain Paused in Phase 3

    October 22, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic. “As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Governor Cooper.  / Read more…



  • Additional Watauga County Students Return to School Under 3×2 Flex Plan

    October 21, 2020 Students in grades four up through high school seniors are back in the classroom this week as part of Watauga County’s 3×2 Flex Plan returning students to something a little closer to a normal school week. Initially, students in kindergarten through third grade started back to school during the first full week of October. Now, the additional grades are back in school buildings. “We are so glad to be able to welcome the rest of our students back to in-person learning. There’s definitely a lot of energy and positivity among our staff and teachers,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “It’s been great to see how seriously everyone in our school communities has been taking the appropriate safety precautions that have allowed us to return to schools.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, October 12 – October 18

    October 21, 2020. Looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Want to keep an eye on criminal activity in your area? Take a look at these recent incident and arrest reports from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department. Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • App State Football Returns to Action Thursday Night at Home Against Arkansas State


    October 21, 2020  After nearly a month between football games, Appalachian State will host Arkansas State at Kidd Brewer Stadium on Thursday night. The game will be live on ESPN with Matt Barrie on the play-by-play, Mike Golic Jr. handling analyst duties, and Marty Smith on the sideline. Appalachian last played on September 26 when they easily handled Campbell by a 52-21 score. The 26-day gap between games is the longest in school history. This game will also welcome back 2,100 fans to the stadium thanks to Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 169 that allows large outdoor venues with 10,000 or more seats to have a seven-percent capacity, although tailgating at the stadium is still prohibited. Other than a select few tickets for visiting players’ family members, priority for seats will be given to App State players’ families, App State students, and season ticket holders. 800 tickets will be given to students through a ticket lottery, 650 tickets will go to season ticket holders based on Yosef Club rank, 450 tickets will go to App State and Arkansas State families and 200 tickets will be distributed through other ticket allotments. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Early Voting and Absentee Voting Surpass 13,000 in Watauga County; Unaffiliated Voters Have Cast the Most Ballots So Far

    October 21, 2020 Following five days of in-person early voting and additional absentee ballots being processed, a total of 13,207 voters have already cast their ballots in Watauga County for the 2020 Election coming up in less than two weeks. Early voting totals sit at 9,672 ballots as of the end of the day Tuesday and the number of absentee mail-in ballots is currently 3,535. There have been 2,580 votes placed at the early voting location at Appalachian State’s student union. A total of 2,295 votes have been placed at the county administration building. Deep Gap has had a solid turnout of early voting as well with 1,710 votes counted. Blowing Rock has seen 1,176 ballots cast, Western Watauga has had 1,238 votes cast and Foscoe has had 673 early voters. Unaffiliated voters have cast 4,944 ballots, just ahead of Democratic voters who have cast 4,825 ballots. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga Arts Council Hosts the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild Exhibit and Sale in Downtown Boone


    October 21, 2020  Don’t miss your chance to view and purchase the fabulous handmade creations of the women of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild, during the last two weekends of October. In celebration of American Craft Week and in partnership with Doe Ridge Pottery, Watauga Arts Council is hosting this expansive exhibition of handmade fiber art by 16 members of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild. Featuring more than 100 works in quilting, weaving, knitting, felting, crochet & fabric collage, the works span the range of the creative possibilities of fleece, yarn, and cloth. You will find handmade items such as framed fabric and felt landscape scenes, dish towels, rugs, Christmas ornaments, aprons, shaws and wraps, handbags, blankets, bookmarks and more. / Read more…



  • LETTERS / Comments About The Local Candidates Forum; They All Agree on the Same Things

    October 21, 2020 Letters to the Editor. By KAREN CARTER / Dear Editor, I viewed the BOC Candidates Forum video a few days ago, and they all agree on the same things.  And most, if not all, of the subjects and statements are town and ASU centered. These candidates all echo each other.  It is as if this forum and their questions, the subject matter, and answers were pre-arranged. Of course. The reason for this is that the town-centered media with the narrow-minded Chambers of Commerce decide what the issues are and  the questions to be asked, answered, and ‘debated’. Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Make it “Spooktacular,” Anyway


    October 21, 2020. Halloween is just a few days away and will be here before we know it. Many regular festivities have been cancelled, moved to outdoor areas or significantly down-sized. There will also likely be less door-to-door/trick-or-treating options this year, so we need to do all we can to make our homes a fun place for the kids. A few easy ideas are listed below to insure that the entire family can participate in preparation, and of course, the main event — whatever that might look like for 2020. Make it happen and keep it safe. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – October 20, 2020

    October 20, 2020. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • High Country Turkey Trot Goes Virtual; Celebrate the 10th Anniversary From Wherever You Are


    October 20, 2020  The coronavirus pandemic is making everything look a lot different this year and that includes the High Country Turkey Trot 5K. The annual Thanksgiving Day event, benefitting Hospitality House of Northwest N.C., has been taking place on the Boone Greenway Trail since 2011. This year, its tenth anniversary, the High Country Turkey Trot will take place virtually, from wherever the racers, runners and walkers are. “Pivoting to a virtual event was really the only option,” states Hospitality House director of development Todd Carter. This year’s event has gone from a single day, to what’s being billed as, ‘High Country Turkey Trot Week.’ Taking place across multiple social media platforms, including contests and prizes, the event will run from November 19 through November 26.  / Read more…



  • Up Next on the Schaefer Center Presents Free Virtual Series: NC Black Repertory Company’s The Resurrection of Alice on October 29


    October 20, 2020  The second event in The Schaefer Center Presents (SCP) virtual performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, features a streamed production of North Carolina Black Repertory Company’s dramatic play The Resurrection of Alice, about a young girl trapped in an arranged marriage in mid-20th century South Carolina, Thursday, Oct. 29 at 8pm. The award-winning, Winston-Salem, NC-based theatre company filmed the play on the stage of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts especially for the virtual series. The event is free of charge, but advance registration is required at TheSchaeferCenter.org.. / Read more…



  • Holston Camp and Retreat Center in Banner Elk Receives Grants for Improvements


    October 20, 2020  Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center (HPCRC), located at 6993 Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk, has big plans for Fall 2021! HPCRC, in partnership with Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, is in the process of visioning and implementing a new nature preschool program. The nature preschool program will offer local families an affordable, quality outdoor early education and childcare option for children ages 2-5. This program, however, would not be possible without the generous contributions from the High Country Charitable Foundation (Banner Elk, NC), the Mooneyhan Family Foundation (Johnson City, TN), and the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Board of Elections Reports Early Voting Totals of 7926 After Four Days

    October 20, 2020 Here is the breakdown of early voting totals through 4 days from the Watauga County Board of Elections that was released Tuesday morning. The county total now stands at 7926.  In the 2018 election period, a total of 5381 were cast through the first four days. Here are the totals from early voting sites across Watauga County.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Republican Party Filed Two Campaign Finance Violation Complaints Concerning Distribution of Campaign Literature


    October 20, 2020  On Monday the Watauga County Republican Party filed two campaign finance violation complaints with the North Carolina State Board of Elections and the Federal Elections Commission.  The violations were filed against groups “WEW-West End Women” and “Friends Who Believe In Decency.”  These groups have been distributing campaign literature without having registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC) as required by State and Federal Law. / Read more…



  • Ray’s Weather Center Releases Fearless Forecast for 2020-21 Winter Season


    October 19, 2020  Ray Russell, founder and president of RaysWeather.com, released his annual Fearless Winter Forecast and is expecting slightly warmer temperatures than average and about 20 percent less snowfall than average. “While we will have snow and cold periods, it will be difficult to lock in cold for long periods of time,” Russell said in his forecast summary. The highest elevations of the High Country at Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain are predicted to receive 70 inches of snowfall. Banner Elk is predicted to have 34 inches of snow while Boone comes in at 29 inches. Jefferson and West Jefferson are predicted to have around 18 inches of snow and Sparta is predicted to have 16 inches of snow. Looking at last year’s forecast, it was one of the lowest snowfall seasons on record for several locations, according to Russell. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Avery Chamber Holds a Two Worm Woolly Worm Race on Saturday Where the Winning Worm Predicts Forecast for Upcoming Winter Season


    October 19, 2020  In a winner-take-all virtual woolly worm race Saturday afternoon, it appears that we could be in for a cold and snowy start to the 2020-21 winter season. The two leading sponsors for the annual Woolly Worm Festival, the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, each had one worm competing for the top spot, the Chamber Charger and the Kiwanis Kicker. Even with the annual festival being canceled because of COVID-19, the race had to go on. “We use this festival not only to raise money for the Kiwanis Club and Avery Chamber, but the winning worm is used to predict the winter weather,” said Adam Binder, who handled the play-by-play call for the race. “One of the most important things and one of the biggest reasons why it was so difficult to cancel this festival is that we raise about $125,000 and that goes back into the community. Half of that money is used by the Kiwanis Club and we give Woolly Worm grants and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce uses the funds to promote tourism in our area so losing a festival for a small county and a small town like this is very serious. Obviously, there was no question with what is going on, having that many people together was not the right thing to do.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Nearly 6,000 Early Votes Already Cast in Watauga County; North Carolina Tops One Million Early and Absentee Votes

    October 19, 2020 Residents in Watauga County are having no problem finding their way to the one-stop early voting locations in the county. A total of 5,990 voters have already cast their ballot for the 2020 Election. The early voting location on Appalachian State’s campus had 1,634 votes tallied in the first three days of early voting. At the county administration building, 1,363 votes have been counted. Deep Gap has had 1,128 early voters while the Western Watauga Community Center has had 748, Blowing Rock has had 680 and Foscoe has had 437. Throughout the state, over one million votes between absentee mail-in voting and early voting have already been cast. With more than two weeks until Election Day, more than 14 percent of registered voters in North Carolina have already cast ballots. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Over 5,000 People Voted on First Day of Early Voting Through Absentee by Mail and One Stop Early Voting in Watauga County

    October 16, 2020 Director of Watauga County Board of Elections Matt Snyder said over 5,000 people voted by Absentee by Mail or through the One Stop Early Voting sites on the first day of early voting, which was Thursday, Oct. 15. “It went great,” Snyder said. “We are so pleased with the turnout we had. Every site we had was busy. Everybody had a line in the morning. But after that initial rush has subsided, it was still steady at all of our sites. And most of our sites did at least what they had done in the past and some of the rural sites were well beyond what they have ever done in a day.” By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • COVID-19 Update: Active Cases in Watauga County Drop 44 Percent Over the Last Week, Total Cases Increased Overall by 155

    October 16, 2020 For the first time in the last two weeks, the active COVID-19 cases in Watauga County have dropped over a seven-day period. On October 9, AppHealthCare was reporting 377 active cases in Watauga County. That has dropped significantly down to 167 active cases, a 44 percent drop in seven days compared to the data released today. The total number of positive cases in Watauga County now sits at 1,628. Ashe County has 51 active cases going and an overall total of 407 cases. Alleghany County has just eight active cases and a total of 258 cases since testing began in March. The number of people being actively monitored in Watauga County is still at a high number with 333 individuals, a slight drop from last Friday’s total of 375. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Appalachian State to Allow 2,100 Fans into Kidd Brewer Stadium for Next Thursday’s Game Against Arkansas State


    October 16, 2020  Beginning with Thursday’s home football game against Arkansas State (7:30 p.m., ESPN), App State is pleased to welcome a limited number of spectators to Kidd Brewer Stadium, while prioritizing the health and safety of our fans, student-athletes and staff. With the implementation of Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 169, Phase 3 of North Carolina’s eased coronavirus restrictions allows for outdoor venues with 10,000 or more seats to operate at seven percent of seating capacity. This will allow for the welcoming of 2,100 fans to Kidd Brewer Stadium. Priority for this limited number of spectators will be given to football student-athlete families, App State students and football season ticket holders. All 2,100 fans will be assigned a seat for the upcoming game, as the physical distance between seats will not allow for general admission seating. No tailgating will be permitted on the App State campus. / Read more…



  • High Country Charitable Foundation Awards Over $550,000 in Grants to Avery County Nonprofits


    October 16, 2020  Even with an unknown economic future and a worldwide pandemic finding its way to the High Country, the High Country Charitable Foundation was still able to find a way to award over $550,000 to several organizations across Avery County. “During the 2020 pandemic, the standard safety nets for needy people and animals are weakened and often fail. This is where the HCCF stepped up to the plate and hit a home run,” said Jim Swinkola, who is one of many proud contributors to the foundation. “In the midst of economic uncertainty and concerns for personal safety, the HCCF gathered and distributed over $550,000 to the established nonprofits in Avery County dedicated to helping those in need. Their clients, both human and animal, had their needs better met thanks to the fiscal kindness of the HCCF.”  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Sugar Mountain Golf Course Voted the No. 2 Short Course in the Country by Golf Advisor Readers


    October 16, 2020  The Sugar Mountain Public Golf Course was voted as the No. 2 Short Course in the USA by Golf Advisor readers. Golf Advisor is a publication for golfers at all levels to find honest recommendations from peers and to offer feedback of their own about any golf course they play, anywhere, anytime. Golf Advisor’s definition of a short course is any course that is less than a par 70 or 6,000 yards. Everything from par-3 courses to regulation-length 9-hole courses to 18-hole executive courses were eligible in the rating as long as they are publicly accessible. Short golf courses are often used to introduce new golfers to the game or to allow experienced golfers some practice space. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • ARHS Physician Provides Insight of Preparations and Operations with COVID-19 Case Increase


    October 16, 2020  As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to increase throughout the High Country, community members may be concerned whether the local healthcare system, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, has adequate resources and if it can handle the rise in cases. “We’ve been seeing cases for a while, but of course it has picked up considerably (recently), and I know there’s an appropriate worry in the community about having acute care capacity,” said Lisa Kaufmann, MD, who is Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s Medical Director of the hospital medicine group. The hospital medicine group cares for all nonsurgical adult patients that are in the hospital.  By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Leaf Colors Offering Up a Mixed Bag of Shades and Hues as the Season Continues to Unfold


    October 16, 2020  As the High Country saw some steady, but gentle rain and no appreciable wind in the beginning of the week from remnants of Hurricane Delta, it still took down some leaves. Appalachian State University Biology professor Howard Neufeld, who is better known as the “Fall Color Guy” on Facebook, has been one source keeping the public informed about fall leaf colors. In a post he published on Oct. 10, Neufeld said throughout last weekend, colors were near peak and it was “quite spectacular compared to years past!” He further wrote, “Had it not rained, (Oct. 10 and 11) would have been one of the two best weekends this season to view the leaves.” By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Dr. Jessica Funk Sewing Custom Face Masks to Benefit Local Charities


    October 16, 2020  In early March, Dr. Jessica Funk closed her Chapel Hill-based dental practice and like most others, was stuck at home. After two weeks of being in the house, she felt the need to do something productive. About this time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, recommended wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus so she began sewing some custom stylish accessories. “After sewing a dozen or so masks, people were asking to buy them from me, states Dr. Funk.” I have been sewing and crafting since I was a teenager and this pandemic gave me the free time to do something that I have always wanted to do; create an Etsy site to sell crafts and donate the proceeds to charity.” Dr. Funk launched her Etsy site, Stitches by Mrs. Funk, on April 12 proclaiming fun, funky and fashionable face masks for the whole family. Soon after, longtime friends Keith Neaves and Russell Normand began selling the face masks in their store, Blowing Rock staple Neaco, to benefit High Country charities. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools to Serve Free Meals for Remainder of School Year

    October 16, 2020 This week, the USDA further extended funding and flexibility that will allow Watauga County Schools to serve free meals to all children in the county regardless of income or school enrollment for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Meal distribution will continue to operate in the same way the district served meals over the summer, but each school in the county will be open as a meal distribution site. Each school in Watauga will serve lunch and a packed breakfast for the next day from 1-1:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Wednesday’s meal pickup will be curbside only at Watauga High School. There will be no meal service on November 3.  According to the USDA, the program will be funded through June 2021.  / Read more…



  • Conversation With Appalachian District Health Department Director of Communications & Compliance Melissa Bracey About COVID-19


    October 16, 2020  High Country Press reporter Tim Gardner recently conducted an interview with Melissa Bracey, Director of Communications & Compliance for the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare), which serves Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties. The interview is solely about the Coronavirus, an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2). The COVID-19 outbreak was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11, 2020. As of October 16, 2020, more than 38,900,000 (38.9 million) cases of COVID‑19 have been reported in more than 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 1,900,000 deaths; approximately 27 million people have recovered from the disease. The pandemic continues to rage around the world, including in the North Carolina High Country. Gardner’s interview questions and Bracey’s answers about what specific measures AppHealthCare has underway to help combat the disease and stop its spread as well as related topics follows.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



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