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COVID-19 Update: Over 1,200 Vaccinations Have Now Been Distributed in Watauga County, Mass Vaccination Event Still Scheduled for Saturday

By Nathan Ham

In the latest vaccination data provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Watauga County has now distributed 1,233 COVID-19 vaccination doses to its citizens and healthcare workers. A total of 40 people have completed the two-dose vaccine regimen.

Avery County has distributed 445 initial doses with eight people who have completed the two-dose regimen. In Ashe County, 349 vaccine doses have been distributed with seven people having both doses and Alleghany County has had 85 people receive their vaccines, one of the lowest countywide totals in the state.

AppHealthCare is hoping to build on that vaccination total quite a bit on Saturday with a mass vaccination event scheduled at Watauga High School for individuals 75 years of age or older. The vaccinations are by appointment only, according to what AppHealthCare’s Melissa Bracey said on Monday.

“We will be using the information people have already provided in the COVID-19 interest form to schedule appointments for Saturday’s event. We will be reaching out to people to confirm appointments. We are hoping to vaccinate 1,000 eligible individuals at the event,” Bracey said.

Currently, there are 207 active COVID-19 cases in Watauga County, 115 active cases in Ashe County and 29 active cases in Alleghany County. There are 365 people being actively monitored for the virus in Watauga County, 246 in Ashe County and 69 in Alleghany County.

Hospitalizations continue to be a concern in the High Country with 118 residents from Ashe, Watauga and Alleghany counties currently hospitalized.

In the three-county district, 67 people have now died due to COVID-19 complications, Ashe has reported 38 deaths, Watauga has reported 25 deaths and Alleghany has reported four deaths.

Most recently, a teacher at Ashe County High School died on Wednesday from the virus. Crystal Bennett taught special needs children at the high school for seven years. Bennett, 36, is survived by her husband, Travis Bennett, two children, Mya and Jaxon Bennett, her parents, Michael and Annette Depalma, one sister, Candice Depalma, two brothers, Bobby Depalma and Shane Depalma, one half-sister, Michelle Laurette, and one half-brother, Michael Depalma.