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BOONE — An additional Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, which brings the total positive cases of COVID-19 in Watauga County to seven among residents of the county.

"This case had travel history and is recovering," AppHealthCare, the local health department, stated. "The local health department staff have identified close contacts, who have been quarantined."

In addition to the seven Watauga County residents who have tested positive for the virus, AppHealthCare announced March 31 that an additional person who is not a permanent resident of the county has tested positive and is isolating in Watauga.

Both at the state and local level, positive cases of COVID-19 are represented and counted in a person’s place of residence, AppHealthCare noted. COVID-19 is a required, reportable illness to public health.

"An increasing positive case count is only part of the picture since most people who become sick can follow the current public health guidelines to call their health care provider. In most cases, people who become ill may not be tested and will isolate themselves at home," AppHealthCare stated. "For these reasons, it is important for people to stay home as much as possible to decrease your chance of infection and reduce the spread and impact in our community."

“Every moment we have experienced to date and those we face ahead will challenge us," said Jennifer Greene, health director of AppHealthCare. "We have a new sense of normal, and yet, we know our community is resilient. We can focus on practicing self-care and caring for others during this time when many things in this situation are out of our control. Each of us can do our part by avoiding gathering in groups of 10 or more and following all the local and state orders. You can also call a neighbor to see if they need help meeting their basic needs that could be dropped at the doorstep or consider contributing your time or other resources to help with the many community efforts underway.”

The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services has released expanded data for North Carolina at www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc, which includes demographics of confirmed positive cases, hospitalization data and personal protective equipment requested and received from the Strategic National Stockpile. 

How to Protect Yourself

  • Practice social distancing, which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping six feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible.
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • 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

COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you become ill, please call your health care provider or call AppHealthCare to speak with a public health staff member before going to your provider or the emergency room.

Testing

Based on recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health & Human Services, most people do not need testing for COVID-19, AppHealthCare stated.

"When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it," the department stated. "If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your health care provider." 

People at high risk include anyone who:

  • Is 65 years of age or older
  • Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Have 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; or 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, the department said.

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach them, call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. Visit www.AppHealthCare.com or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has more information at cdc.gov/coronavirus. North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

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 www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”

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