App State’s Press Release On Latest Confirmed Cases From Campus Construction Projects

Published Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 10:06 am

Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) has informed Appalachian State University it has confirmed an off-campus student has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual was in close contact with another individual with a confirmed positive test.

AppHealthCare has also confirmed eleven additional subcontractors who were working on university construction sites have also tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, seven are Watauga County residents and the others lives in other areas. The last days on campus for the subcontracted workers were May 22-26.

All have fully cooperated with isolation instructions and are recovering at home. Public health staff have identified close contacts, who have been instructed to quarantine and who are being provided access to testing during their quarantine period.

Workers will remain off campus until cleared by public health to return.

The case investigation continues, and public health staff will be encouraging testing for those with exposure during their quarantine period. App State and AppHealthCare will work together to continue monitoring COVID-19 at the university and in our community and to keep the public informed.

The university continues working closely with public health and values this relationship, which has allowed for increased testing at construction sites, consistent and transparent reporting to the university and Boone communities, and coordinated public health education measures.

Some key outcomes of this partnership include:

  • AppHealthCare and App State have partnered together with all construction contractors working at the university to conduct broader testing at worksites, including those that have not experienced a positive case to date.
  • The university is implementing enhanced precautionary measures with employees who are on campus as well as with subcontracted workers, which include wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate physical distance and reviewing North Carolina Governor’s Executive Orders 131 and 135, which require all individuals to wear face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of distance in public areas or work centers.
  • AppHealthCare and App State are partnering on a public health campaign for members of the university community, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
  • Our partnership with AppHealthCare also helps verify tests that may have been performed in other counties. As we hear of self-reported cases that are not being tested by AppHealthCare or App State, we are coordinating with local public health agencies to the greatest extent possible, in consultation with the North Carolina Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team.

Important information about testing:

“Broad testing is critical in order to identify how much the virus has spread to isolate those who are positive and quarantine close contacts,” said Jennifer Greene, health director for AppHealthCare. “It is important to remember that as we increase the prevalence of testing, we will see an increase in verified, positive cases.”

COVID-19 testing is available for App State students via the university’s Student Health Service. Schedule an appointment by calling (828) 262-3100.

App State faculty and staff can be tested at any of the AppHealthCare clinic locations. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay. To schedule an appointment, call (828) 264-4995. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and many primary care providers also offer testing. More information is available here.

University employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 should report positive test results using a web form, which you can access here or by calling 828-262-4008.

All reported information will remain confidential, and helps the university work with public health professionals to conduct contact tracing and provide any resources and support you might need. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should also communicate with Human Resources about special COVID-19 leave provisions that are currently in effect.

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