BOONE — An App State student living off campus and 11 App State subcontractors have tested positive for COVID-19, the university and AppHealthCare announced Tuesday evening.

Seven of the 11 subcontractors are Watauga County residents. The individuals were last on campus between May 22 and May 26. The student, who resides off-campus, was in close contact with another known positive individual, according to AppHealthCare.

The university wrote in an email to students that all have fully cooperated with isolation instructions and are recovering at home. Public health staff have also identified close contacts, who have been instructed to quarantine and are being provided access to testing.

App State said the case investigation continues, and that public health staff will encourage testing for those exposed during their quarantine period.

“It is important to remember that as we increase the prevalence of testing, we will see an increase in verified, positive cases. Broad testing is critical in order to identify how much the virus has spread to isolate those who are positive and quarantine close contacts. We appreciate the partnership of App State and all construction contractors working at the university to coordinate broad testing at these construction sites and prioritize public health,” stated AppHealthCare Health Director Jennifer Greene.

AppHealthCare also announced a partnership with App State on a public health campaign for members of the university community, which will be rolled out “in the coming weeks.”

In the email to students, App State listed several key outcomes of its relationship with AppHealthCare:

  • 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 the 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.

Appalachian’s 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,” Appalachian said.

The total confirmed case count for Watauga residents as of June 4 was 30 with 14 individuals who were actively in isolation, according to AppHealthCare.

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