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Active COVID-19 Cases Climbing in Watauga County; AppHealthCare and Appalachian State University Urge People to Get Vaccinated

By Nathan Ham

After dropping all the way down to zero active COVID-19 cases in Watauga County, positive cases are showing up once again with 18 active cases currently in the county as of today. There are 18 others being actively monitored in the county. Ashe County currently has eight active cases with six others being monitored and Alleghany has two active cases with one other person being monitored. 

AppHealthCare is encouraging anyone that hasn’t been vaccinated yet to schedule an appointment. They are offering the vaccine at any of their three health care clinics in Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties. To schedule an appointment in Alleghany County, call 336-372-5641. To schedule an appointment in Ashe County, call 336-246-9449 or to schedule an appointment in Watauga County call 828-264-4995. You can also choose to drop by for a walk-in appointment from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the three clinic locations:

AppHealthCare – Alleghany

157 Health Services Road

Sparta, NC 28675

Watauga County Health Department

126 Poplar Grove Connector

Boone, NC 28607

AppHealthCare – Ashe Health Center

413 McConnell Street

Jefferson, NC 28640

There may be a wait time for walk-in patients. 

“The vaccine is free for everyone, regardless of immigration status. You do not need to show proof of insurance, social security number or an ID if you do not have it,” said Melissa Bracey, Director of Communications & Compliance for AppHealthCare. “If someone has questions about the vaccine, we would encourage them to reach out to trusted and reliable sources of information. They can call our COVID-19 message line at (828) 795-1970 and a member of our COVID-19 response team will return their call.”

Free $25 Gift Cards will be available for anyone unvaccinated (or who drives someone who’s unvaccinated) that gets the COVID-19 vaccine, and free tacos and ice cream will be available for all. Additional information and eligibility about the $25 Summer Card program can be found here

Other locations to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the High Country include:

Halsey Drug

55 South Main Street

Sparta, NC 28675



749 E. Main Street

Jefferson, NC 28640


Warrensville Drug Store

5121 NC 88

Warrensville, NC 28693


Boone Drug – Deerfield

345 Deerfield Road

Boone, NC 28607


Boone Drug – New Market

245 New Market Centre

Boone, NC 28607


Boone Drug – King Street

202 W. King Street

Boone, NC 28607

Watauga Medical Center

336 Deerfield Road

Boone, NC 28607



2184 Blowing Rock Road

Boone, NC 28607 


High Country Community Health

935 State Farm Road

Boone, NC 28607


Appalachian State University – Plemmons Student Union

263 Locust Street

Boone, NC 28608


Appalachian State Chancellor Dr. Sherri Everts is encouraging students to get vaccinated as well, going so far as to create a competition of sorts with East Carolina University for who can get the most students vaccinated prior to the two schools opening the 2021 football season against each other. 

“We continue to urge all Mountaineers to get vaccinated to help protect our community, especially children under 12 and immunocompromised individuals who are unable to take the vaccine. This week, ECU Chancellor Rogers accepted my challenge to see which university can vaccinate the most students before the highly anticipated football game between our two schools on Sept. 2. Let’s show them how to do it, Mountaineers,” Everts said. 

On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper held a news briefing with updated recommendations for how North Carolina Public Schools should approach the upcoming school year. 

“The most important work our state will do next month is getting all our school children back into the classrooms safely for in-person learning,” said Governor Cooper. “That’s the best way for them to learn, and we want their school days to be as close to normal as possible, especially after a year of disruption.”

The updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit is aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics guidance, which urges that everything possible be done to keep students in schools and emphasizes continued masking. The Toolkit says schools with students in kindergarten through eighth grade should require all children and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Schools with students in 9th through 12th grades should ensure that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, including students, wear a mask indoors.

Watauga County Superintendent Scott Elliott issued a statement in regards to the latest guidance from the state:

“I want to thank everyone in the community who has worked so hard to do what it takes to fight this virus and to keep our schools healthy. I especially want to thank our school nurses, the health department, Boone Drug, and Samaritan’s Purse who have provided thousands of vaccine doses to our staff, students, parents, and community members. I am also very grateful for the more than 85 percent of our school employees who have gotten the vaccine. 

We are looking forward to having school on a full five day a week schedule this coming year while getting back to as many normal activities as possible for our students. We will continue to work hard to protect our students from the virus and to keep our schools open. We have worked hard to follow the rules given to us by the state. 

Over the next few days, we will review the updated guidance from NCDHHS and make a determination about the health and safety procedures we will have in place for the coming school year. We will seek the advice of local public health and medical professionals in order to make the best decisions possible. 

For now, we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Last school year the leading cause of transmission among school age children in our schools was from an adult in their family. Right now, the vaccine is our greatest hope for protecting our children and getting all of this behind us.”