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BOONE — A third Watauga County resident tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), according to a March 24 AppHealthCare announcement.

This case had travel history, has been in isolation since being tested and is improving, the agency stated. The local public health staff have identified the close contacts, who have been in quarantine for several days.

“During this time, we want to encourage the public to continue practicing social distancing, staying home to the greatest extent possible, frequent hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze and following the recommendations issued by NC Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC," said Jennifer Greene, the Health Director at AppHealthCare. "We realize this is a challenging time for all of us and it will be important for us to all do our part to slow the spread of this virus. We are rapidly adapting to the newest NC DHHS and CDC guidance."

Greene added that AppHealthCare is working closely with local partners and agencies to ensure the public’s health is protected and precautions are being taken to protect all residents of Watauga County.

“We recognize this is a challenging time for all of us to quickly adapt as the situation changes and we are confident in our community partnerships to continue our response efforts," said Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque. "We urge everyone to follow current public health guidance to protect our community."

AppHealthCare stated that it wanted to remind the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

How to protect yourself

  • Practice social distancing. This means avoiding gatherings, keeping 6 feet or more among others others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Stay home when sick
  • Keep distance from others who are sick
  • Avoid touching ones face
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles

COVID-19 signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Based on recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, most people do not need testing for COVID-19, according to AppHealthCare. When leave the home to get tested, people could be exposed to COVID-19 if they do not already have it. If someone does have COVID-19, they 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 healthcare provider," AppHealthCare stated.

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
    • 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.

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach the agency, call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. AppHealthcare will continue to monitor COVID-19 in the community and will work to keep the public informed. Visit the agency's website for more information at www.AppHealthCare.com. The agency can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Questions from agencies requesting support on COVID-19 response, planning efforts, etc. can contact preparedness@apphealth.com. Media inquiries can be directed to media@apphealth.com.

AppHealth will maintain a positive case count on its website at www.AppHealthCare.com.

Additional Resources

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.

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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