Following is a summary of key information related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and impacts in Watauga County and surrounding areas. Visit wataugademocrat.com/covid19 for additional coverage on the virus and its impacts. For editorial tips and questions, email editor@wataugademocrat.com

The Watauga Democrat office is currently closed to the public, but our staff is still available to serve you. For your circulation, classified, advertising and news needs, please call (828) 264-6397. 


COVID-19 CASE COUNTS

  Cases Deaths Hospitalized Recovered
 N.C. 24,915 844 702 11,637
 U.S.1,699,933100,442 N/A 391,508
 

 
 Resident Cases Active CasesRecovered Deaths 
 Watauga* 14 5 N/A 0
 Ashe* 32 16 N/A 1
 Avery 2 2 0 0
 Caldwell 120 N/A 61 2
 Wilkes 482 N/A 451 4
 Johnson 15 0 15 0
 Carter 19 1 17 1

NC EXECUTIVE ORDERS (click here for more info): North Carolina is in Phase 2 of the governor's reopening plan. The following orders are in effect through at least June 26.

  • The stay-at-home order is lifted, but high-risk people are urged to stay home and travel only for essential purposes.
  • While in public, people should wear a cloth face covering, practice social distancing by waiting six feet apart from others and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (the three Ws).
  • Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Dine-in services at restaurants are permitted at "emergency maximum occupancy," which is 50 percent fire code capacity with groups of customers separated by at least six feet.
  • Barbers, salons and personal care businesses are permitted to open at "emergency maximum occupancy," which is 50 percent fire code capacity with groups of customers separated by at least six feet, and employees must wear face coverings. 
  • Gyms, playgrounds, theaters, music venues and bowling alleys remain closed.
  • Retail stores are open at "emergency maximum occupancy," which is 50 percent fire code capacity with groups of customers separated by at least six feet.
  • Visitors are not permitted at long-term care facilities.
  • N.C. public schools are closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • Click here for an FAQ document about Phase 2.

WATAUGA COUNTY ORDERS (click here for more info) The following orders are in place until Phase 3 of the governor's reopening plan.

  • All lodging, short-term rentals and other fee-based overnight accommodations for a period of less than 30 days may operate at 50 percent of capacity.

IF YOU ARE SICK

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
  • AppHealthCare recommends that anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 be tested for the virus.
  • If you are sick with a fever, cough or other mild COVID-19 symptoms, 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. Do not show up to a health care provider without calling first.

SCHOOLS

  • North Carolina public schools are closed for the remainder of the school year. The last day for remote learning for students in Watauga County Schools is May 29. More info: Click here. 
  • Watauga High School will host a drive-in or drive-through style graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 30. More info: Click here.
  • Local private, charter schools navigate COVID-19 pandemic. More info: Click here.
  • Watauga County Schools are operating seven feeding sites across the county. Parents from any school may pick up takeout meals at any of the designated sites in a drive-through line, or ask to have them delivered. More info: Click here.
  • Community members take action to recognize WHS Class of 2020. More info: Click here.

HOSPITALS 

  • ARHS announces face masks required to enter facilities. More info: Click here.
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has banned visitors at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital, except on a case-by-case basis for hospitalized minors, patients at the end of life, patients needing help with communication or decision making and patients giving birth. More info: Click here.
  • ARHS has established a new telehealth and drive-through testing process for COVID-19: More info: Click here.
  • Screening, visitation limits in place at Foley Center. More info: Click here.

COMMUNITY AID & WAYS TO HELP

COLLEGES

  • Appalachian announces fall semester plans: no fall break, students to remain home after Thanksgiving. More info: Click here.
  • UNC system president expects campuses to reopen this fall. More info: Click here.
  • The UNC system announced March 30 that online and alternate instruction will continue, including at Appalachian State, for the rest of the spring semester and throughout the summer. More info: Click here.
  • App State commencement ceremonies scheduled for May will be not be held on campus and will instead be held online, or grads can walk in December. More info: Click here. 
  • Lees-McRae closes campus to the public, commencement ceremony rescheduled. More info: Click here.
  • CCC&TI campuses remain closed through May 8, graduation ceremonies rescheduled. More info: Click here.

PARKS & RECREATION

SPORTS 

  • The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended the spring season. More info: Click here. 
  • The Sun Belt Conference has suspended all regular-season and championship athletic events indefinitely. More info: Click here. 
  • Watauga Parks and Rec suspends activities until May 18.

LAW ENFORCEMENT & COURTS

  • N.C., local courts issue orders on filing deadlines, jury trials, in-person court, mask use, operations. More info: Click here.
  • Boone Police are implementing new safety protocols, and Sheriff Len Hagaman has issued policies and recommendations related to the Watauga County jail. More info: Click here. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES

  • Watauga County announced on March 20 that all county buildings would be closed to the public effective March 23, but remain on normal operating hours. More info: Click here.
  • The town of Boone provided an update on town operations on March 24. More info: Click here.
  • Previously, the towns of Boone, Blowing Rock and Seven Devils closed public access to their offices. More info: Click here.

RESTAURANTS/BARS

  • As of March 17, dine-in options for all restaurants and bars in North Carolina are disallowed. Takeout and delivery options are still availableMore info: Click here.

APPALCART 

  • Until further notice, AppalCART will only be running the Green, Red, Orange, Pop 105 and Purple routes. Routes and paratransit service will follow the "break schedule" while ASU classes do not meet in person unless there is a demand to increase capacity. Rural route and Project On Aging route schedules remain the same. For more info, visit www.appalcart.com and follow twitter.com/AppalCART.

DOCTORS & PHARMACIES 

CANCELLATIONS, CLOSURES & REOPENINGS

PROTECT YOURSELF & OTHERS: The following guidance is provided by the CDC, N.C. DHHS and AppHealthCare.

  • 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. More info: Click here.

MORE INFORMATION

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