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BOONE — AppHealthCare confirmed that as of Aug. 5, nine positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Appalachian State University’s Child Development Center.

“We have been working closely with them to conduct the case investigation, identify close contacts and provide public health recommendations and guidance for infection control,” said Melissa Bracey, spokesperson for AppHealthCare, the regional health department serving Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” Bracey said, the Child Development Center decided to close until Monday, Aug. 10, and the center has engaged a service to professionally clean and disinfect the center during this time.

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, “clusters” of cases are defined as a minimum of five cases within 14 days and a plausible linkage between cases. NCDHHS reports clusters in licensed and regulated child care and school settings. Child care operators and school principals are required to report suspected cases of communicable diseases, including COVID-19, to the local health director.

As of Aug. 5, the NCDHHS dashboard for ongoing outbreaks (two or more cases) and clusters did not reflect the nine cases at the Child Development Center.

On its coronavirus website, Appalachian State is reporting all cases among students, employees and subcontractors, regardless of where the cases are located, if they can be confirmed with public health officials. As of Aug. 4, 53 students have tested positive, with 11 cases active. Eleven employees have tested positive, of which seven cases are active. Forty-one subcontractors have tested positive, with none of those cases currently active.

In Watauga County, 283 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among county residents, with 80 cases active as of Aug. 4, according to AppHealthCare.

To inquire about testing or to seek an appointment, call (828) 264-4995 in Watauga County.

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