The following COVID-19 information is compiled from local and state agencies from May 25 to June 1. This weekly update will present the latest COVID-19 information as of publication.
Watauga County experienced an increase of three total COVID-19 cases since May 25 to reach 4,732 total cases as of June 1. The active case count has stayed approximately the same during the course of the week with eight total active cases as of June 1.
AppHealthCare reported no new deaths in the week of May 25 to June 1. The last reported death was on Feb. 16.
As of June 1, AppHealthCare reported 149 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic started in its three-county district that also includes Ashe and Alleghany counties.
AppHealthCare reported three active clusters in Watauga County in its last situation update on May 28. In its COVID-19 situation report, AppHealthCare reported clusters at:
- Watauga County Detention Center with 38 cumulative cases. The last positive result came on May 10, and as of the last report zero cases are active.
- Hospitality House with 18 total cases. The last positive result came on May 25, and as of the last report three are active.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports Watauga County has administered 26,092 first dose COVID-19 vaccines as of June 1 — about 2,000 more than May 24. NCDHHS also reports 23,920 people have completed the vaccine series in Watauga County — about 700 more than last week.
As of June 1, roughly 46.4 percent of the population in Watauga County has been at least partially vaccinated and about 42.6 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS.
NCDHHS is launching a new public campaign encouraging North Carolinians to “Vax Up or Mask Up” to support the new guidance that lifts many of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Vaccines have proven to protect people from COVID-19, according to NCDHHS. To date, nearly half of the state has been fully vaccinated and everyone age 12 and up can get the vaccine (YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov). But for those who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19, NCDHHS stated that wearing a mask is essential to protect themselves and the people they love. The CDC recommends that anyone who is not vaccinated continue to wear a mask in public indoor settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain social distance.
“For the past year, we have all been diligent about practicing the 3 Ws,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. “These preventative measures helped us get to where we are today. We’re incredibly grateful to the community organizations and businesses who helped share the three Ws and made them their own. As we transition to this new phase of the pandemic and this new campaign, we must continue to protect one another as everyone makes the choice to ‘Vax Up or Mask Up.’”
NCDHHS recommends businesses and community organizations post signage reminding employees and visitors to wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated. Because it can be hard to know who is vaccinated and who is not, employers may decide to post signage asking all employees and visitors to wear a face covering until more people in North Carolina are vaccinated. The campaign provides downloadable flyers and social media graphics in both English and Spanish to help transition from the three Ws messaging to the new “Vax Up or Mask Up” campaign. Materials are available for download at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/communications-toolkit.
Under Executive Order 215, masks are still required in certain settings, such as child care centers, schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices and other high risk settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
People who are fully vaccinated can do many of the things that they did before the pandemic. With the exception of the settings included in Executive Order 215, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask or practice social distancing, although they may choose to do so. They also do not have to quarantine or get tested if they are exposed to COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
Unvaccinated people will still need to do these things, according to NCDHHS. Masks are strongly recommended for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — at large crowded indoor events like sporting events and live performances. Read NCDHHS recommendations for “protecting each other from COVID-19” found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/2859/open?mc_cid=c77e077916&mc_eid=89a423aea7.
For more information, reference the interim guidance for public facing businesses as well as the “get back to business” fact sheet, found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/2922/open?mc_cid=c77e077916&mc_eid=89a423aea7.