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BOONE — A fourth Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, AppHealthCare announced Thursday, March 26. This case had travel history and has been in isolation since being tested. The local public health staff have identified the close contacts, who have been in quarantine.

“We recognize that another case may cause increasing concern in the community. Remember, you can help us slow the spread of this virus. Stay home to the greatest extent that you are able, especially if you are a person who is at a higher risk for severe illness. If you do become ill, call your healthcare provider or call AppHealthCare to speak with a public health staff member before going to your provider or the emergency room,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.

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. We urge everyone to follow current public health guidance to protect our community,” stated Deron Geouque, Watauga County manager.

AppHealthCare reminds the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like hand-washing, covering your cough and sneeze and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings, keeping 6 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, lightswitches, tables and handles

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Based on recommendations issued by the N.C. 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 said. "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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