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WATAUGA — For two days during the week of July 12, Watauga County had two days of zero active COVID-19 cases.

On July 12 and July 13, for the first time in over a year, there were no active cases reported on AppHealthCare’s COVID-19 dashboard

“We are celebrating,” said AppHealthCare Health Director Jennifer Greene, “but we are very anxious for people who have not been vaccinated yet. We certainly are hopeful that people who are waiting to see will not wait any longer and if they’re eligible for a COVID-19, vaccine that they go ahead and get that.”

Watauga County — which now has 14 active cases as of July 19 according to AppHealthCare — has 51 percent of the population partially vaccinated and 48 percent fully vaccinated.

But Greene knows that cases are on the rise especially with the spread of the new Delta variant of COVID-19.

“We see more evidence of cases climbing in other areas,” Greene said. “Not just in other states, but even in our own state. We’ve had different areas that have experienced more COVID-19 cases and now we know we have the Delta variants, which poses another risk.”

Since May, more than 99 percent of new cases in North Carolina have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Even though there were two days of zero active cases, another death was reported in Watauga County to bring the total to 32 as of July 16. The additional death was reported between July 6 and July 13. There hadn’t been a death reported since Feb. 16.

“Sadly, our community has had another adult death related to COVID-19 after a short period when we did not see any deaths,” Greene said. “We know that even young, healthy people can be vulnerable to this virus. We also know that the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best defense against severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.”

Due to the small numbers and the potential for identifying personal information, AppHealthCare did not release the age or age range of the recent death in Watauga County.

According to NCDHHS, 98.9 percent of deaths across the state were in people who were not fully vaccinated between May 6 and June 28.

“We’re happy to see no cases for a couple of days, but we are still really wanting to encourage folks who have not been vaccinated to not wait any longer,” Greene said. “We don’t want them to be the ones that have a severe illness.”

If a community member would like a COVID-19 vaccine, they can schedule an appointment by calling AppHealthCare clinic locations — Ashe (336) 246-9449, Watauga (828) 264-4995 — and pressing 2. They can also get an appointment by walk-in Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If choosing to walk-in for a vaccine, be aware there may be a wait. To lessen potential wait time, AppHealthCare encourages people please make an appointment.

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