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BOONE — Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts announced Aug. 20 preliminary vaccination data for employees and students.

The numbers were later updated. As of Aug. 23, 49 percent of App State students are vaccinated and 87 percent of employees are vaccinated.

“This is good news, but we must do better,” Everts said in her weekly campus update.

According to the university COVID-19 dashboard, 30 students are active and four employees are active with COVID-19 as of Aug. 23. Since Aug. 1, the university dashboard reports 1,012 on-campus COVID-19 tests have been conducted with 80 positive cases for a precent positive rate of 7.9 percent.

For the week ending on Aug. 23, 510 tests were completed with 53 total positives — or a 10.4 percent positive rate. More than 4,800 vaccines have been distributed on campus, according to the university.

Students and employees were required to attest to or submit their vaccination status to university by Aug. 16. Everts said targeted testing is already underway and larger groups will begin to be tested the week of Aug. 23.

“This week we placed the names of students, faculty and staff who have submitted their full vaccination status into a pool for prize drawings, including parking passes, $1,000 scholarships for students and tickets to Mountaineers football games,” Everts said. “Our first winners will be notified via email this afternoon. This is just one way we are showing our appreciation for those who are helping to protect themselves, our campus and the greater community, and we will continue to do so.”

Everts also said she could not overstate the importance of being fully vaccinated even with the campus requiring face coverings indoors in campus locations and continuing the enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures.

Those who are unvaccinated are 400 percent more likely to get COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

On Aug. 18, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System announced that it has added a third COVID-19 isolation unit and is currently caring for 21 COVID-19 patients as of Aug. 18 at Watauga Medical Center. The agency also stated there are not enough ICU-level trained medical professionals to care for the current surge of COVID-19 patients.

ARHS stated that approximately 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated and those patients require higher levels of respiratory support. WMC has 20 ventilators.

Patients who have received the vaccine have minimal symptoms, and none have required ventilators or intensive levels of care.

Watauga Medical Center treats COVID-19 patients from Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties as well as other nearby counties.

ARHS said the three hospital COVID-19 isolation units have the capacity to care for up to 25 critically ill COVID-19 patients. The hospital also has the ability to increase the number of beds to care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related conditions.

According to ARHS, most large healthcare systems are at capacity and are currently “closed to transfers.”

The Triad HealthCare Preparedness Coalition region — which includes Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin — has 773 people in the hospital with 206 people in the intensive care unit as of Aug. 23.

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(3) comments

dsngl@outlook.com

ASU claims it cannot require vaccination but that is not true. here is a list of those NC schools that do: NORTH CAROLINA: Bennett College, Brevard College, Davidson College (with FDA approval), Duke University, Elon University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lees-McRae College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Livingstone College, Queens University, Salem College, Shaw University, Union Presbysterian Seminary-Charlotte, University of North Carolina (all campuses, though students can opt for once-per-week testing instead), Wake Forest University, Warren Wilson College

guest113

All private schools. My understanding is that no NC public universities may require vaccines. I may be incorrect...

Hubris

53% of the student population is unvaccinated? Seriously? And they're still holding in person classes with no social distancing? The dorms are still at 100% occupancy? The mask requirement is nice, but it's not a silver bullet and requires a level diligence not everyone is up to. My sympathies to the staff and faculty who have to work in those conditions. I can't help but wonder if it's going to take another student death before they go back to online.

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