October 4, 2023 The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation is excited to announce the 5K Run for Breast Cancer Awareness, scheduled to take place on October 28, 2023. This event is a significant step in our ongoing mission to raise awareness and to provide support to local breast cancer patients and their families.The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation has been serving our community for 7 years, supporting individuals and families affected by breast cancer. Our commitment to this cause is unwavering, and the 5K Run is a testament to our dedication to making a difference.
July 14, 2023 Boone, N.C. – From mountains to lakes, ski slopes to waterfalls, and everything in between, the High Country has always drawn us to explore, experience, and to be immersed in the beauty of nature. Our rolling mountains welcome people from far and wide and provide endless opportunities for adventure. Unfortunately, more opportunities for adventure can translate to higher incidences of injuries, illnesses, and traumas.
July 10, 2023 Boone, N.C. – Watauga Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke: Gold Plus quality achievement award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.
June 26, 2023 Find women doing outstanding work in their field via Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, a female-led organization dedicated to fostering a sustainable and fair food scene in the High Country. To do this, the organization bolsters local producers and creates connections among the community that contribute to knowledge and excitement of eating farm-grown food—ultimately upping the local demand and desire for local fare. By Anna Beth Adcock
May 24, 2023 Jefferson, NC– If you are looking for a fun filled day with family and friends, while learning about safety and interacting with emergency personnel and law enforcement, this is the event for you! The Ashe County Safety Day is an educational event that is free and open to all ages – families included! The event will be held Saturday, June 3rd from 10am to 2pm at the Ashe County High School.
April 27, 2023 Rob Hudspeth, senior vice president for system advancement at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, has responded to some of the concerns and controversy arising from last week’s packed county commissioners meeting where many community members voiced anger and sadness at the Broyhill Wellness Center ending memberships to community members. By Zack Hill
April 24, 2023 Screeching sirens generally cause one of four reactions for those within earshot. People may initially look to find out in which direction the sirens are coming from and then if they are being emitted by ambulances or fire trucks, checking to see if they’ve got to stop and allow emergency vehicles to pass or, finally, glancing quickly in the rear view mirror to see if they’re
being pulled by law enforcement. By Peter Morris
April 6, 2023 In the High Country of Western North Carolina, it seems as if veterinary clinics are everywhere, on main throughfares, side streets and throughout the three-county region of Watauga, Ashe, and Avery. However, these statistics aren’t quite what they appear. With the exception on one veterinary clinic, Dr. John Lang’s Linville Animal Hospital, in Banner Elk, all other such services cater only to small animals ranging from Dachshunds and Pomeranians to the larger breeds of Labradors and English Mastiffs, to many of the 42-71 recognized breeds of cats that inhabit homes from Vilas to Deep Gap to Meat Camp. By Peter Morris
March 30, 2023 Boone, NC: Boone Drug at Deerfield, located at 345 Deerfield Rd, Boone, NC, is now listed with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Yellow Fever Vaccination Center. Boone Drug Pharmacist, Emily Miller, PharmD, has worked diligently with providers and government organizations to bring this service to Watauga County and surrounding areas. “This service will be a tremendous help to traveling patients in the community in need of this vaccine, which can be challenging to find in our region of the state.” says Boone Drug Vice President, Spencer Hodges.
February 16, 2023 Raleigh, NC – Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford, Majority Whip) filed HB 98 – Medical Freedom Act – which prohibits state and local government from issuing COVID vaccine mandates.
The bill would prohibit any state and local government agency from issuing COVID vaccine requirements on private citizens and government employees. It would also prohibit government agencies from requiring proof of COVID vaccination records of any person. State and local government agencies or political subdivisions of the state will be unable to discriminate against a person’s refusal to provide proof of COVID vaccination or submit to a COVID vaccination when seeking employment.
November 16, 2022 From the beginning of the pandemic, Boone Drug has worked to adapt and provide innovative services to the communities of patients which they serve. Originally COVID-19 testing was a major need and scarce resource and Boone Drug stepped in to assist with those efforts. Today, patients are looking for testing and treatment options that are fast, affordable, and convenient for many other illnesses. Boone Drug is partnering with MakoRx Care Connect to fill this need.
October 26, 2022 Boone, NC: Area residents are encouraged to visit their local Boone Drug location and register to receive free vitamins for every member of their household. A 30-day supply of Good Neighbor Pharmacy Complete Multivitamins for children, adults, seniors and pre-natal customers, are available free of charge from the only locally owned and independent drug store in the area. Your neighborhood Boone Drug pharmacist can assist you in getting started with this free program. While it does seem too good to be true, there is never a cost to the customer and insurance is not required.
September 30, 2022 VALDESE, NC – AMOREM welcomes Jake Benfield as its new director of development. “We are thrilled to have Jake join AMOREM,” said Kerri McFalls, vice president of community engagement for AMOREM. “Jake recently completed his internship with AMOREM as a student with Appalachian State University. We knew right away that we wanted to retain him. He brings energy, enthusiasm and passion for AMOREM’s mission. Jake is a valuable resource not only to AMOREM but to those that we serve.”
August 24, 2022 To say 2020 was challenging is an understatement. Among the many lessons learned that year, most people were reminded that life is precious and fragile. Laneece Trivette of Matney probably learned that lesson better than most that year. She also learned that she has a compassionate team of healthcare providers fighting in her corner at Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center
March 7, 2022 “Get Pickled” – Pickleball Tournament in honor of Bruce Comer on March 26-27. The Doubles Pool Play Tournament is open to anyone 18+ and costs $50.00 per team.
January 31, 2022 Positive COVID-19 tests continue to rise in the High Country due to the omicron variant. According to the latest data from AppHealthCare, 26% of all covid tests from January 16-22 returned a positive test, among the highest numbers reported in the area since the pandemic began. Over the last month, the positivity rate has increased from 6.3% (December 12-18) to 26% (January 16-22). In the last five days, Watauga County has reported 628 new cases while Ashe County has reported 227 new cases and Alleghany County has reported 122 new cases. Since the pandemic began, AppHealthCare has reported 17,788 cumulative cases and 138 deaths in the three-county district. Ashe County has reported 75 deaths while Watauga County has reported 51 and Alleghany County has had 12 deaths from the virus. By Nathan Ham
January 28, 2022 AppHealthCare announced on Wednesday that through a collaboration with numerous agencies as well as surveys and data collection, a community health report was put together for each of the three counties (Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany) in the AppHealthCare district. The report for each county is put together every three years. The Watauga County report was compiled through partnerships with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative, Appalachian District Board of Health and AppHealthCare. As part of the community health report, multiple factors are included in determining what the greatest needs and concerns are for the county. Several of those data points include household income, poverty level, food insecurity, unemployment data, community safety, affordable housing and mental/behavioral health. According to the report for Watauga County, the three biggest areas to focus community resources on are mental health, housing and family/social support systems. By Nathan Ham
January 24, 2022 Over the last five days, AppHealthCare has reported 639 new COVID-19 cases in Watauga County as well as three new clusters, bringing the total to four active clusters or outbreaks within the county. According to the latest data provided by AppHealthCare, there have been 1,032 new cases within the last five days in the three-county region of Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties. In addition to the 639 cases in Watauga, there were 301 new cases in Ashe County and 92 new cases in Alleghany County. In last week’s update from AppHealthCare, there were COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks reported at the Hospitality House, the Foley Center and Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation. This week there were two additional clusters reported, one within the women’s basketball program at Appalachian State and the other within the wrestling program at Appalachian State. There were 11 cases reported among App State wrestlers and six cases reported among women’s basketball players. Currently, there are two active cases at Glenbridge, bringing the total there to six cases. There are no active cases at the Hospitality House, leaving their current total at 13 cases. By Nathan Ham
January 17, 2022 The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the High Country with 538 new cases reported in Watauga County last week according to the latest data provided from AppHealthCare. Over the same time period, 212 new cases were reported in Ashe County and 116 new cases were reported in Alleghany County. From January 2 through January 8, Watauga County experienced a positivity rate of 21.66%, a number that has climbed each week since December 5. AppHealthCare says that this is the highest number of cases and highest amount of community transmission that they have seen at any point during the pandemic. 69% of the positive cases were from unvaccinated individuals while 31% of the positive cases were from individuals that are considered fully vaccinated. To help contain the spread of COVID-19, AppHealthCare is offering free KN95 masks to anyone in the community while supplies last. People are encouraged to go by the AppHealthCare offices in Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga to receive a free mask until they run out of supplies. By Nathan Ham
January 10, 2022 The omicron variant of COVID-19 has brought the positivity rate to just over 20% in Watauga County, meaning that of all the COVID-19 tests that were conducted from December 26 to January 1, 20% of them were positive for the virus. According to the weekly COVID-19 update from AppHealth Care, from the end of October through the end of November, the positivity rate never got above 4.58%. As the omicron variant began to spread across the country, those numbers in Watauga County also began to climb. The positivity rate from November 28 through December 4 jumped to 7.48%. The following week, December 5 through December 11, the number dipped back to 5.20%. The next three weeks, however, saw the percentages climb significantly. From December 12 through December 18, the positivity rate was 9.93%. The following week (December 19 – December 25) the rate was 13.21% before peaking at 20.13% heading into the new calendar year. By Nathan Ham
December 29, 2021. The journey we have all been on since COVID-19 entered our lives almost two years ago has been a rollercoaster in what seems like constant ups, downs, twists and turns. As your local health department, we have strived to meet the daily challenges this pandemic has brought and meet the public health needs of the communities we serve. As we look back over the past year and wrap up 2021, we want to extend our gratitude to the many individuals, agencies, organizations and leaders in our community that have contributed in meaningful and impactful ways in the COVID-19 response efforts. This time last year, we were receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines and had just begun to vaccinate health care workers, along with our partners doing the same. Watauga County has made incredible progress this past year, with 55% of the total population fully vaccinated and 59% with at least one dose (data as of December 28, 2021), with over 23,500 doses administered by AppHealthCare thanks to so many who eagerly volunteered their time and energy to vaccinate the community.
December 17, 2021. The Omicron variant of COVID-19 hasn’t shown up in the High Country yet, however positive cases for the virus have started climbing anyway. There are 68 active cases in Watauga County, 108 active cases in Ashe County and 77 active cases in Alleghany County. Nearly 400 people are currently in quarantine in the three-county district served by AppHealthCare. Deaths in the three-county area have now reached 115 with 65 of those in Ashe County, 43 in Watauga and seven in Alleghany. There were 49 new cases reported between December 5 and December 11, and 80% of those cases were from unvaccinated individuals, according to data provided by AppHealthCare. As of now, 59% of Watauga County’s population is partially or fully vaccinated. In a news release today from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), health experts are warning that the highly contagious COVID-19 variant, Omicron, is expected to cause the greatest surge in COVID-19 infections to date in the coming months. They are urging people to either get vaccinated or get their booster shots to prepare for what is expected to be another COVID-19 surge. By Nathan Ham
December 17, 2021. After working in healthcare in Avery County for more than 34 years, Carmen Lacey, President of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital (CMH), is retiring. Lacey began her career in 1987 as part of the first Pharmacy Technician Certification program at Sloop Memorial Hospital in Crossnore. While working in the Pharmacy Department she was inspired to pursue a career in nursing. “I saw what nursing really meant at Sloop through several role models — and determined that was what I wanted to do,” Lacey says. Within six months, she was a charge nurse, and eventually became the Assistant Director of Nursing. She worked there until Sloop and CMH came together in the new hospital in Linville in 1999. Five years later, CMH became part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Through all of this transition, Lacey rose in the ranks and managed several departments including the Medical Surgical Unit, The New Life Center, Emergency Department, and the Operating Room. She also served as Director of Nursing before being promoted to President of CMH in 2012.
November 5, 2021. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is proud to announce that its new, freestanding Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health Hospital (ARBH) will officially open its doors on November 15, 2021. “The most important component of this new hospital is providing services in a manner that promotes dignity to the patients and families we’re here to serve. Through our inpatient and outpatient services, our goal is to meet people where they are and for what they need at any given time,” said Stephanie Greer, President of Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health. ARBH will follow a tiered opening schedule to ensure that patient needs are met every step of the way.
November 2, 2021. A new, freestanding Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health Hospital (ARBH) will officially open its doors in November. ARBH’s unique approach provides a top-tier treatment experience for patients. The healing environment includes open areas with natural light and mountain views. Caregivers partner with patients to meet them where they are and provide a combination of coping skills and innovative approaches to therapy. Learn all about the new facility at apprhs.org/arbh. Open House: Community agencies are invited to tour the facility between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Learn about the physical environment, treatment modalities, and how ARBH can support and supplement the work of those agencies.