JEFFERSON — A third Ashe County resident, who is also an Appalachian State University student, has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), and is recovering at home, according to AppHealthCare.
"The individual has known travel history and has not been on the university campus since March 4," the department stated.
Local health department staff have identified close contacts who are in quarantine, and contact investigation continues to identify people who are at highest risk and need to quarantine. In order to protect patient privacy, additional information about this case will not be released, the department said.
“We realize that people have many questions about individual cases and we want the community to know we are working diligently to keep the community informed while also protecting patient privacy. During this time, we continue to encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible, practice social distancing and take prevention measures like frequent hand-washing, staying home when you’re sick, and keeping distance from others who are sick,” AppHealthCare Health Director Jennifer Greene said.
“We realize this is a challenging time for all of us, and we are confident in our community partnerships and citizens to do everything we can collectively to slow the spread of this infection in Ashe County," Ashe County Manager Adam Stumb said. "We continue to encourage the community to share only reliable and credible information.”
Margaret Bumgarner, administrative director of Student Health Service at Appalachian State University, said, “With 98 percent of our students currently off campus, we may continue to learn of confirmed cases in App State students who reside outside of Watauga County. As we learn of these cases, we are coordinating with local public health agencies to the greatest extent possible, in consultation with the North Carolina Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team.”
How to Protect Yourself & Others
- Practice social distancing: avoiding gatherings, keep 6 feet or more away from others and remain at home as much as possible.
- Frequent hand washing for 20 seconds.
- 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.
- People at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible.
- Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
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; or Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
If You Are Sick
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- If you become ill, 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.
- N.C. DHHS currently recommends that “most people do not need testing for COVID-19. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your health care provider.”
Sources: Office of Gov. Roy Cooper, Watauga County, N.C. DHHS, AppHealthCare
- Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
- NCDHHS: ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus
- AppHealthCare: www.apphealthcare.com or call (828) 264-4995
- Appalachian Regional Healthcare System: apprhs.org/COVID19
- Toll-free hotline for non-emergency questions: 1-866-462-3821 or visit www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”