By Nathan Ham
North Carolina has officially had its first confirmed case of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Wake County. Other states including Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Illinois and New Hampshire have all recently discovered the illness in their respective states. Here in the High Country, organizations are continuing to take proper precautions advised by the CDC.
“Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has initiated patient travel screening protocols to quickly identify and isolate symptomatic patients prior to diagnosis. The screenings are happening throughout the healthcare system – hospitals, outpatient facilities and doctors’ offices,” said Vicki Stephens, a spokesperson for ARHS. “A team of ARHS clinicians and leaders meet daily to evaluate the latest updates from the CDC and the State Health Department in collaboration with our local health departments, evaluate current supplies and actively ensure that all staff are prepared to safely manage patient needs.”
Patients who exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus will be asked about their recent travel history in the United States and if they have left the country at any point in the last few weeks.
Appalachian State University is also continuing to update its planning and preparation to prevent the spread of the illness should it make its way to the High Country.
“Appalachian State University’s emergency response team routinely monitors situations that could affect the campus and consistently engages campus and community groups in year-round preparation for a number of scenarios, including the spread of communicable diseases. Our planning and preparation are in accordance with the latest guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and include coordination with many units across campus, including those that manage housing, dining, health services, facilities and maintenance, international travel and communications,” said a statement released by the university. “We have been working closely with AppHealthCare, the UNC System and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and prepare in the event it should affect our campus. These partnerships are invaluable, and we will continue to work closely with local and state public health entities to protect the health and safety of the Appalachian Community. We remain vigilant and will continue to work closely with public health officials should we encounter any suspect illnesses. It is important to remember that students, faculty and staff have friends, family and loved ones in areas that are at higher risk than in the United States and remain compassionate to their worries and concerns about their loved ones.”
Acknowledging the potential coronavirus impact on business, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce to put together a coronavirus resource guide.
“Your business plays a key role in protecting employees’ health and safety, as well as limiting the negative impact to our communities and local economy. We will continue to share any messaging passed to us by the AppHealthCare, should it become necessary,” said David Jackson, the President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.