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BOONE — AppHealthCare announced on May 6 that a ninth Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

"This case is linked to an ongoing investigation with a known outbreak in a food processing facility in another county. Public health staff have identified close contacts, and they are in quarantine," a release from AppHealthCare stated.

“As we enter into Phase 1 of the governor’s plan for easing restrictions, we want to reiterate the importance of everyone protecting themselves from this virus. If you leave your home, follow the 'three Ws': wear a cloth face covering, wait six feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. These are important actions we can all take to protect ourselves and each other," said AppHealthCare Director Jennifer Greene.

A cumulative, positive case count for Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties can be found on AppHealthCare’s website. This count reflects confirmed cases in residents of Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Keep distance from others who are sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles
  • Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people like grocery stores or pharmacies — more information about face coverings can be found on the AppHealthCare website at

COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell 

People at high risk include anyone who:

  • Is 65 years of age or older
  • Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Has a high-risk condition that includes:
    • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • Heart disease with complications
    • Compromised immune system
    • Severe obesity — body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
    • Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.


Based on the latest recommendations issued by the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services, testing has been expanded. Expanded testing allows a clinician to test when they suspect a COVID-19 test may help the course of treatment for that patient. 

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, AppHealthCare recommends that you be tested. This means if you are sick with a fever, cough or other mild symptoms, call your health care provider or AppHealthCare. Do not just show up to a health care provider without calling first. This will help your provider prepare should you need to be tested and lessen the potential exposure to others. AppHealthCare will serve anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. 

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Managing Overall Health

During this time, it is important to manage your overall health. There are resources available if you need to reduce anxiety or stress, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, need to better manage chronic conditions and more. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. Call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. AppHealthCare has set up a COVID-19 hotline at 1(828) 795-1970 for information during regular business hours. Visit AppHealthCare's website for more information.

Questions from agencies requesting support on COVID-19 response, planning efforts, etc. can contact

Additional Resources

CDC website at

NCDHHS website at

A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at (1-866) 462-3821. To submit questions online, go to and select “chat.”

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(3) comments

So, 9 cases...cases, not the entire county, but we remain in shutdown. That is totally unnecessary. TIme to open up the county, let people LIVE, and work. Government scaredy cats are shutting down an entire county and plunging it toward financial ruin for a "pandemic" that is less dangerous than a typical flu season!


Are you for real... Government scaredy cats are the reason we only have 9 cases. When was the last time you saw the flu cause 83,000 deaths in 2 months with more than a thousand deaths per day, EVERY DAY!?

Watauga County is NOT immune to Covid-19.


"This case is linked to an ongoing investigation with a known outbreak in a food processing facility in another county." Seriously? Why can't you come right out and say where? It's the Tyson plant in Wilkes. Of course they won't come out and say how many of the workers there actually have covid-19 either. But yeah, everything is rosy, let's open up!

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