Total cases

The total number of COVID-19 cases by day in Watauga County as of Jan. 25. Total cases

The following COVID-19 information is compiled from local and state agencies from Jan. 18 to Jan. 25.

Cases

Watauga County has reached 9,156 total COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 25 — an increase of approximately 1,022 cases from Jan. 18. AppHealthCare changed its data and is now showing how many new positive cases were reported in the last five days instead of daily active cases. As of Jan. 25, 726 new cases were reported to AppHealthCare in the previous five days.

As of Jan. 25, Watauga Medical Center had 29 COVID-19 patients. Twenty-four of the 29 cases were unvaccinated. Of the five patients who are vaccinated, three had boosters. Three patients were on ventilators as of Jan. 24.

One new death was reported in the Jan. 25 update in Watauga County to bring the total number of deaths from COVID-19 to 47. AppHealthCare reported one death on Jan. 20 and two deaths in its Dec. 28 update. AppHealthCare also reported one death on Dec. 9, one death on Dec. 10 and one on Dec. 14.

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 — reports 1,108 people are hospitalized, with 200 of those in the ICU as of Jan. 24.

AppHealthCare reported five active clusters in Watauga County as of its last situation update on Jan. 21. In its COVID-19 situation report, AppHealthCare reported clusters at:

  • The Hospitality House with 13 cumulative cases. The last positive result was on Jan. 10 and as of the last report zero cases were active.
  • The Foley Center with eight cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Jan. 19, and as of the last report three cases were active.
  • Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation with six cumulative cases. The last positive case result came on Jan. 19, and as of the last report two cases were active.
  • App State wrestling with 11 cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Jan. 4, and as of the last report zero cases were active.
  • App State Women’s Basketball with six cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Jan. 3, and as of the last report zero cases were active.

The App State COVID-19 dashboard reports 292 COVID-19 cases reported among students in the last five days and 55 among employees in the last 5 days as of Jan. 24. For the week of Jan. 17, App State conducted 1,181 on-campus COVID-19 tests with 296 — or 25.1 percent — coming back positive. Since Aug. 1, the university has conducted 27,911 on-campus COVID-19 tests with 1,202 — or 4.3 percent — coming back positive.

Vaccines

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports Watauga County has administered 33,262 first dose COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 24. NCDHHS also reports 31,066 people have completed the vaccine series in Watauga County as of Jan. 24. The number of people vaccinated with a booster in Watauga County stands at 15,354 as of Jan. 24.

As of Jan. 24, 59 percent of the population in Watauga County has been at least partially vaccinated and 55 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS.

App State reports 80 percent of students are vaccinated and 90 percent of employees are vaccinated as of Jan. 24.

State update

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Jan. 20 the launch of Promoting and Expanding Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Strategic Plan.

The plan will advance efforts for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to gain access to Competitive Integrated Employment, which gives people with disabilities jobs in the community with a salary above minimum wage and with access to the same benefits as others in the workplace. This plan is being launched as part of a formal agreement with Disability Rights NC and the Center for Public Representation.

“Employment is a proven strategy for supporting overall health and wellness,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “The department is committed to building an inclusive workforce where individuals with and without disabilities work together, build community and thrive.”

The NCDHHS plan includes a commitment to working with individuals to identify their preferred choice in accessing employment. As part of this five-year plan, services in segregated employment facilities, which provide jobs only for those with disabilities, will be phased out. New admissions to programs at segregated employment facilities will end on July 1, 2022.

“These facilities have provided critical supports and services to individuals with disabilities and their families,” Kinsley said. “We are committed to continuously improving our system of care and supports and working with individuals and families to maximize employment success for all.”

Through its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, and Division Health Benefits, NCDHHS will collaborate with local partners and providers to implement informed choice, individual decision-making, career assessments, linkages to benefits counselors and ongoing training and technical assistance for individuals, families and communities.

Plan implementation is subject to availability of funds and NCDHHS will pursue a funding request to the NC General Assembly for CIE efforts.

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