App State Announces Four New Clusters, Four New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases with Football Team

Published Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Appalachian State University released a statement on Oct. 8 announcing newly identified confirmed COVID-19 cases and clusters. 

App State and Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) are working closely together to investigate and respond to 15 active cases in 4 clusters of confirmed COVID-19. A cluster is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.

Currently, there are:

  • 9 cases in Hoey residence hall. Six are recovering in active isolation and 3 are past the isolation stage.
  • 6 cases in Gardner residence hall. Three are recovering in active isolation and 3 are past the isolation stage.
  • 7 cases in Frank residence hall. Two are recovering in active isolation and 5 are past the isolation stage.
  • 5 cases in Coltrane residence hall. Four are recovering in active isolation and 1 is past the isolation stage.

Additionally, there are 4 new positive cases associated with the active App State football team cluster: three staff and one student-athlete. Mountaineer football practice has been suspended, and App State’s football game at Georgia Southern, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 14, has been postponed.

AppHealthCare and App State have been providing support to the students and staff and have been working with them to continue to identify and reach out to all identified close contacts. A close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. 

App State will hold a pop-up testing event this Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon-5 p.m. Students, faculty and staff can walk up or drive up for a free COVID-19 test. No appointments are required, but you will be asked to show your AppCard. AppHealthCare and App State encourage members of the university community to take advantage of these testing opportunities. The more information we have, the better we are able to respond to active cases and help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

AppHealthCare has been working closely with App State throughout the COVID-19 response, and continues to provide public health recommendations and guidance for infection and virus transmission prevention. AppHealthCare will closely monitor the active cases and continue to conduct response testing in coordination with App State. 

Of the total active cases in App State students, 57 are in residence halls, representing about one percent of the population of students who live in residence halls. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of classroom transmission of the virus.

In some instances, the definition of a cluster is not met until after a number of the cases in the clusters are no longer active. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including the number of cases identified in a 14-day time period, contact tracing to identify and determine plausible epidemiologic linkage, and COVID testing and results. Responding to calls and inquiries from public health officials who are tracing close contacts is extremely important for a rapid response from AppHealthCare and App State.

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