2019 novel coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

BOONE — Appalachian State announced in a message to campus on Sept. 1 that the university and Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) are working closely to investigate and respond to an active cluster of confirmed COVID-19 associated with App State’s wrestling team.

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 10 members of the wrestling team who have tested positive within the past 11 days, the university said. Eight are recovering in active isolation, and two are past the isolation stage. The students are being provided support by the university.

Student Health Services alerted AppHealthCare to the initial two cases. Campus testing for athletes last week resulted in three confirmed cases. An additional five cases were confirmed Monday. The team is not currently practicing.

Public health staff is working to continue identifying close contacts. A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.

"If you receive a call from public health, we urge everyone to cooperate with the contact tracing process. This allows public health and the university to work together in implementing the appropriate measures to control the spread of this virus," the university said. "The information received from individuals who are positive or are close contacts is intended to guide response efforts. There is no punishment for individuals who disclose their close contacts, and AppHealthCare and university staff will not share personally identifying information."

The university will have pop-up testing events on Wednesday, Sept. 2, in the College Street Parking Deck and Saturday, Sept. 5, in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. No appointments are required, but you will be asked for your Banner ID. Find information about additional testing options for App State students, faculty and staff on the university’s dedicated coronavirus website, appstate.edu/go/coronavirus.

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

"Remember to perform your daily health check each day before leaving your residence hall or coming to campus," Appalachian said. "If you are feeling sick and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please do not attend class or be around others because you may unintentionally expose others."

"The actions of each person can help flatten the App State curve by following the 3Ws when you leave your home and are around others: wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and wait to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others."

"This virus spreads most commonly through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes and is in close contact with another person. In a setting where people are in close contact with others and not practicing the 3Ws, there is an increased risk of exposure."

If you are a student, contact Student Health Service for a testing appointment. Tests are conducted weekdays. Clinic hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information on the types of tests available and how to make an appointment to get tested are available on the Student Health Service website.

Faculty, staff and students can be tested by AppHealthCare Monday-Friday. AppHealthCare will serve anyone, regardless of ability to pay. Schedule a test with AppHealthCare by calling the AppHealthCare COVID-19 Hotline at 828-795-1970. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and many primary care providers also offer testing.

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