Additional Case of COVID-19 Identified in Watauga County; Again Travel Related, Bringing Total to 7

Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 4:33 pm

An additional Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) which brings the total positive cases of COVID-19 in Watauga County to 7 among residents of the County. This case had travel history and is recovering. The local health department staff have identified close contacts, who have been quarantined.

People should stay home to the greatest extent possible, practice social distancing and prevention measures like washing your hands, covering your cough and sneeze, and staying home if you are sick. In general, following Governor Cooper’s Executive Order and the Watauga County State of Emergency is critically important during this time of limiting the spread of the virus. 

“Every moment we have experienced to date and those we face ahead will challenge us. We have a new sense of normal, and yet, we know our community is resilient. We can focus on practicing self-care and caring for others during this time when many things in this situation are out of our control. Each of us can do our part by avoiding gathering in groups of 10 or more and following all the local and state orders. You can also call a neighbor to see if they need help meeting their basic needs that could be dropped at the doorstep or consider contributing your time or other resources to help with the many community efforts underway,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.

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. We have added a positive case count on our website, which will typically be updated once in the afternoon each day.

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.

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.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Keep distance from others who are sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, lightswitches, tables and handles

 

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you become ill, please call your healthcare provider or call AppHealthCare to speak with a public health staff member before going to your provider or the emergency room.

Testing

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.

 

People at high risk include anyone who:

  • Is 65 years of age or older
  • Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Have a high-risk condition that includes:

○        Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

○        Heart disease with complications

○        Compromised immune system

○        Severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher

○        Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

 

People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach us, call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. 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].

Additional Resources

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.”

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