A third Ashe County resident, who is also an Appalachian State University student, has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), and is recovering at home. The individual has known travel history and has not been on the university campus since March 4. Local health department staff have identified close contacts who are in quarantine, and contact investigation continues to identify people who are at highest risk and need to quarantine. In order to protect patient privacy, additional information about this case will not be released.
“We realize that people have many questions about individual cases and we want the community to know we are working diligently to keep the community informed while also protecting patient privacy. During this time, we continue to encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible, practice social distancing and take prevention measures like frequent handwashing, staying home when you’re sick, and keeping distance from others who are sick,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.
“We realize this is a challenging time for all of us, and we are confident in our community partnerships and citizens to do everything we can collectively to slow the spread of this infection in Ashe County. We continue to encourage the community to share only reliable and credible information,” stated Adam Stumb, Ashe County Manager.
Margaret Bumgarner, Administrative Director of Student Health Service at Appalachian State University, said, “With 98% of our students currently off campus, we may continue to learn of confirmed cases in App State students who reside outside of Watauga County. As we learn of these cases, we are coordinating with local public health agencies to the greatest extent possible, in consultation with the North Carolina Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team.”
Based on recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health & Human Services, most people do not need testing for COVID-19. When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your healthcare provider.
Positive Case Counts
Both at the state and local level, positive cases of COVID-19 are represented and counted in a person’s place of residence. COVID-19 is a required, reportable illness to public health and we work closely with healthcare providers to ensure we are informed of cases. A positive case count on the AppHealthCare website, and will typically be updated once in the afternoon each day.
An increasing positive case count is only part of the picture since most people who become sick can follow the current public health guidelines to call their healthcare provider. In most cases, people who become ill may not be tested and will isolate themselves at home. For these reasons, it is important for people to stay home as much as possible to decrease your chance of infection, and reduce the spread and impact in our community.
NC Department of Health and Human Services Data
The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services has released expanded data for North Carolina which includes demographics of confirmed positive cases, hospitalization data and personal protective equipment (PPE) requested and received from the Strategic National Stockpile. The data can be found here.
AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach us, call (336) 246-9449 anytime and follow the prompts. AppHealthCare has set up a COVID-19 hotline at 1+ (828) 795-1970 for information during regular business hours. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and will work to keep the public informed. Please visit our website for more information – www.AppHealthCare.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Questions from agencies requesting support on COVID-19 response, planning efforts, etc. can contact [email protected].
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.
A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”