By Nathan Ham
While the rate of positivity among COVID-19 testing has dropped from 11.1% at the end of August to 4.25% at the end of September, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is still leading to high transmission rates in Watauga County. There are currently seven active COVID-19 clusters in the county, according to the latest data from AppHealthCare.
Active clusters are at the Watauga County Detention Center (seven cases), Thunder Hill Residence Hall (12 cases), Cottages of Boone (nine cases), The Standard (eight cases) and Hospitality House (seven cases) as well as 10 members each of the Appalachian State baseball team and Appalachian State wrestling team.
Currently, there are 91 active cases in Watauga County, 43 active cases in Ashe County and 28 active cases in Alleghany County. There are 89 people in quarantine in Watauga County, 93 people in quarantine in Ashe County and 28 people in quarantine in Alleghany County. A total of 100 people in the three-county district served by AppHealthCare have died from COVID-19 complications since the pandemic started in March of 2020.
In the latest update from Appalachian State University, Chancellor Sheri Everts said that the COVID-19 data on campus is trending in the right direction as they near the halfway mark of the semester.
“We remain vigilant in our mitigation efforts. The vaccine is the key to our success in managing the effects of COVID-19 on our campus, and it is what allows us to continue holding in-person classes and events,” Everts said. “The vaccination rate of our students continues to rise and has increased to 60%. The vaccination rate of employees remains steady at 94%. With more than 13,000 of our faculty, staff and students fully vaccinated, the university’s overall vaccination rate is currently 64%, exceeding that of Watauga County, which is 52%.”
This week, the university tested 1,925 students, faculty and staff on campus, with a positivity rate of 2.34%.