By Harley Nefe
Appalachian State University announced Sept. 17 that it is working closely with the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) to investigate and respond to an active cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with App State’s Thunder Hill Residence Hall.
Currently, there are seven student residents of Thunder Hill who have tested positive within the past 14 days. Two are recovering in active isolation, and five are past the isolation stage.
A cluster is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as “a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.”
The cluster of cases was identified and confirmed by App State and AppHealthCare based on the number of cases identified within 14 days and all individuals having a common link with the residence hall. Individuals were tested at a variety of locations in the past 14 days.
According to the university, public health staff have identified and reached out to all identified close contacts of those who have tested positive. A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.
This is the third cluster that has been identified with App State this semester. Earlier clusters were related to the wrestling and football teams.
Public health staff also encourages other residents of Thunder Hill to be tested for COVID-19.
App State will have pop-up testing events every Saturday in September and October in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. No appointments are required; however, students, faculty and staff will be asked to show their App State ID.
As of Sept. 18, there are 83 App State students and one employee currently in isolation due to active cases according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.