The following COVID-19 information is compiled from local and state agencies from Sept. 8 to Sept. 14.
Watauga County experienced an increase of 199 total COVID-19 cases since Sept. 7, to reach 5,641 total cases as of Sept. 14. The active case count has dropped during the course of the week with 89 active cases as of Sept. 14.
AppHealthCare reported no new deaths from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7. AppHealthCare reported one death on Sept. 1. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Watauga County is at 35.
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 864 people are hospitalized, with 222 of those in the ICU as of Sept. 14.
AppHealthCare reported two active clusters in Watauga County as of its last situation update on Sept. 10. In its COVID-19 situation report, AppHealthCare reported clusters at:
- Watauga County Detention Center with six cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Sept. 1, and as of the last report one case was active.
- Thunder Hill Residence Hall with eight cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Aug. 30, and as of the last report zero cases were active.
- Goodnight Brothers with eight cumulative cases. The last positive result came on Aug. 27, and as of the last report zero cases are active.
The App State COVID-19 dashboard reports 52 active COVID-19 cases among students and four among employees as of Sept. 13. For the week ending on Sept. 13, 2,001 COVID-19 tests were conducted with 82 — or 4.1 percent — coming back positive. Since Aug. 9, the university has conducted 5,729 on-campus tests with 378 — or 6.6 percent — coming back positive.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports Watauga County has administered 30,819 first dose COVID-19 vaccines — up more than 200 from last week — as of Sept. 14. NCDHHS also reports 28,467 people have completed the vaccine series in Watauga County — up more than 250 — as of Sept. 14.
As of Sept. 14, 55 percent of the population in Watauga County has been at least partially vaccinated and about 51 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS.
App State reports 56 percent students are vaccinated and 92 percent of employees are vaccinated as of Sept. 13.
Gov. Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 key metrics and trends on Sept. 9.
“We know that keeping kids learning in the classroom is the most important thing for our students right now. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings and following the science is what we need to do,” Cooper said. “The faster we put this pandemic behind us, the sooner we can all rest easy and stay healthy.”
Currently, 109 school districts covering more than 95 percent of children have mandatory masks. That is an increase from three weeks ago when only 74 school districts covering roughly 64 percent of children statewide were requiring masks. The first weeks of school have brought more COVID-19 cases among schoolchildren, which can lead to quarantines when schools don’t have strong mask requirements in place, according to NCDHHS. School districts should follow the CDC’s recommendation and require masks and keep other important safety measures in place as we continue battling the pandemic.
“Thank you to everyone who is doing everything they can to help us get through this critical point in the pandemic and to protect one another,” Cohen said. “Please talk with your family and friends who are not yet vaccinated. Ask them to join you in vaxing up and masking up.”
On Sept. 1, in accordance with Executive Order 224, state cabinet agencies started requiring state employees to verify that they have been vaccinated, with consequences of weekly testing and required masking for not doing so. Many businesses across the state are also setting a strong example by requiring vaccines for their employees and customers too, according to Cooper.
While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies are available if people have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19. Last week, Cooper signed an Executive Order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access this treatment. The order authorizes and directs State Health Director Betsey Tilson, to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which if taken early can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death. Administrations of monoclonal antibody increased 73 percent during the last week of August as compared to the week prior. More information about the treatments can be found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/treatment.
To date, North Carolina has administered over 10.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 62 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. 67 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 89 percent of North Carolinians 65 and older, according to NCDHHS.