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 email@example.com.
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COVID-19 CASE COUNTS
|Resident Cases||Active Cases||Recovered||Deaths|
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Brushy Fork Church meal distribution site to move to Cove Creek School. More info: Click here.
- WCS free, reduced lunch applicants may be eligible for Pandemic Electronic Benefits. More info: Click here.
- Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge seeks donations to support area food banks. More info: Click here.
- Addiction support, recovery groups find connection crucial amid COVID-19 crisis. More info: Click here.
- Reenergize Watauga Fund loan program proposed to help small businesses. More info: Click here.
- Subsidies available for child care, but 76 percent of centers are closed in Watauga. More info: Click here.
- Through CARE.BOX effort, businesses, volunteers provide 36,000 meals. More info: Click here.
- Shop Local Saturdays to support local businesses. More info: Click here.
- Blowing Rock launches relief fund for local businesses. More info: Click here.
- Second Harvest Food Bank urges coordination of efforts in Watauga. More info: Click here.
- ARHS seeks supplies and donations, other groups seek volunteers, supplies, monetary donations, cards for assisted living facilities and donations of blood. More info: Click here.
- Local bar manager raises $5K and counting to help locals with bills, food, meds. More info: Click here.
- Diaper Bank moves to Health & Hunger Coalition during COVID-19 pandemic. More info: Click here.
- Food pantries adjust hours & services; New text, phone services can help families find food. More info: Click here.
- Coping with COVID-19: Mental health during a pandemic. More info: Click here.
- App State, Blue Ridge Energy launch emergency funds. More info: Click here.
- Virtual Dinner Concert Series. More info: Click here.
- Care Box (food for service industry workers), Virtual Tip Jar, faith community food pickup sites, Quiet Givers Emergency Relief Fund, High Country United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund for nonprofits. More info: Click here.
- Hunger & Health Coalition, Hospitality House food pantry, Christian Outreach Center, Quiet Givers. More info: click here.
- Watauga County Schools are operating food sites at 7 locations Monday-Friday, plus food boxes & pantries at 17 more sites. More info: Click here.
- 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
- Pisgah National Forest begins reopening trails, roads; camping restrictions partially lifted. More info: Click here.
- Parkway sections near Blowing Rock, Grandfather to reopen May 15. More info: Click here.
- NC state parks to reopen, overcrowding a concern. More info: Click here.
- Valle Crucis Park closes to public. More info: Click here.
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.
- As of March 17, dine-in options for all restaurants and bars in North Carolina are disallowed. Takeout and delivery options are still available. More info: Click here.
- 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
- Grandfather Mountain set for limited opening May 15. More info: Click here.
- Events canceled or postponed include the Daniel Boone Rail Jam, Boone St. Patrick's Parade, Banff Film Festival, App State concerts and arts events, and other events of 100 or more people on town of Boone property. More info: Click here.
- MerleFest announced it is canceling the 2020 festival. More info: Click here.
- Appalachian Theatre announces cancellations, postponements. More info: Click here.
- Sugar Mountain Resort to close March 17, following Beech and ASM. More info: Click here.
- Luke Combs' Boone stadium show rescheduled for 2021. More info: Click here.
- An Appalachian Summer Festival canceled, online programming planned. More info: Click here.
- Singing on the Mountain, Highland Games events canceled due to COVID-19. More info: Click here.
- Lees-McRae cancels all summer conferencing, Summer Theatre, events until fall. More info: Click here.
- Mountain Home Music cancels 2020 season. More info: Click here.
- MusicFest 'N Sugar Grove rescheduled to 2021. More info: Click here.
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.
- Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
- NCDHHS: ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus
- NC COVID-19 Response: nc.gov/covid19
- AppHealthCare: www.apphealthcare.com
- Appalachian Regional Health Care System: apprhs.org/COVID19
- Appalachian State University: www.appstate.edu/go/coronavirus
- Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute: www.cccti.edu/COVID-19/