The following COVID-19 information is compiled from local and state agencies from March 2 to March. 15.
Watauga County has reached 11,983 total COVID-19 cases as of March 15 — an increase of approximately 225 cases from March 1. 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 March 15, 20 new cases were reported to AppHealthCare in the previous five days.
Fifty-nine community members have died from COVID-19 in Watauga County. One death was reported on March 15, two deaths were reported on March 4 and one death was reported on March 6 by AppHealthCare. Another death from COVID-19 was reported in a Watauga County resident on Feb. 10 and another was reported on Feb. 7.
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 153 people are hospitalized, with 37 of those in the ICU as of March 14.
The App State COVID-19 dashboard reports four COVID-19 cases reported among students in the last five days and zero among employees in the last 5 days as of March 14. For the week of March 7, App State conducted 39 on-campus COVID-19 tests with 0 — or 0 percent — coming back positive. Since Aug. 1, the university has conducted 33,557 on-campus COVID-19 tests with 1,621 — or 4.8 percent — coming back positive.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports Watauga County has administered 33,553 first dose COVID-19 vaccines as of March 14. NCDHHS also reports 31,461 people have completed the vaccine series in Watauga County as of March 14. The number of people vaccinated with a booster in Watauga County stands at 17,510 as of March 14.
As of March 14, 60 percent of the population in Watauga County has been at least partially vaccinated and 56 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS.
App State reports 81 percent of students are vaccinated and 90 percent of employees are vaccinated as of March 14.
North Carolina is earning national recognition for its success in helping low-income families through a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has helped more than 20,000 households pay their water bills and keep access to water services since Dec. 1, 2021. North Carolina was awarded more than $38 million in federal funds for the program and has distributed nearly $7 million to date.
LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program to help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services. The program provides payments for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out.
Individuals can apply online at epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from epass.nc.gov and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county DSS to apply by phone.
To be eligible for LIHWAP, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and:
- Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level
- Have household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill
- Be responsible for the water bill
Households can apply through Sept. 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted.
“I am so proud of North Carolina’s efficient work to get these resources out to our families to keep their water running,” said Tara Myers, “NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability. “Access to water is a basic human need that is critical for both health and well-being, and the LIHWAP program is helping many families impacted by the pandemic.”
The federal Administration for Children & Families, which administers LIHWAP, celebrated North Carolina’s success with a new video spotlight. The video shows the impact of LIHWAP on North Carolina families and includes Tenika Hicks, a program beneficiary, as well as NCDHHS Senior Director for Economic Security Carla West and Wake County Economic Services Director Liz Scott. Produced to mark the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, the video includes an introduction by Gene Sperling, White House Coordinator for the American Rescue Plan.
For more information on this program and eligibility, visit the LIHWAP website at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap.