BOONE — Appalachian State University and Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) are working closely together to investigate and respond to an active cluster of confirmed COVID-19 associated with App State’s Thunder Hill Residence Hall, the university announced in an email to campus Sept. 17.
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 seven student residents of Thunder Hill who have tested positive within the past 14 days," the university said. "Two are recovering in active isolation and five are past the isolation stage. The students are being provided support by the university."
The cluster of cases was identified and confirmed by App State and AppHealthCare based on the number of cases identified within 14 days, and all individuals having a common link with the residence hall. Individuals were tested at a variety of locations in the past 14 days.
Public health staff have identified and reached out to all identified close contacts of those who have tested positive, Appalachian stated. A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.
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, the university said. With this active cluster of cases, AppHealthCare will closely monitor the active cases and conduct response testing in coordination with App State.
"If you are a resident of Thunder Hill, public health staff highly encourages you to be tested," the email stated.