AppHealthCare confirms additional cases of COVID-19 in Watauga County

Jackie Park, Reporter

AppHealthCare identified two individuals in Watauga County with COVID-19 it announced in a press release Tuesday.

The first individual is a Watauga County resident with a travel history. AppHealthCare is currently investigating the individual’s close contacts. This brings the total number of cases in Watauga County residents to 6.

The other case involves an individual whose primary residence is elsewhere, but they are in isolation in Watauga County. Close contacts for this individual are now in quarantine.

“Both at the state and local level, positive cases of COVID-19 are represented and counted in a person’s place of residence. COVID-19 is a required, reportable illness to public health and we work closely with healthcare providers to ensure we are informed of cases,” the press release states.

This announcement comes one day after Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay at home order took effect. AppHealthCare encourages everyone to follow the order’s protocol, but especially those who are considered high risk. According to the release, an increase in the number of positive cases is only “part of the picture” as most often, people who become sick might not be confirmed cases, but can isolate at home.

“Our public health staff are working diligently to identify and notify any close contacts to a positive case, as it is our usual practice in infectious disease investigations. Close contacts are quarantined and guidance is provided to them to decrease their chance of infection and decrease spread in the community. Since a positive case count is only part of the picture, we urge people to stay home to the greatest extent possible, practice social distancing and prevention measures like washing your hands, covering your cough and sneeze and staying home if you are sick,” stated Jennifer Greene, health director for AppHealthCare.

Protect yourself with these preventative measures:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Keeping distance from others who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles

COVID-19 signs & symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you are concerned about symptoms you might be experiencing, you can contact Student Health Service at (828) 262-3100 or AppHealthCare at (828) 264-4995, ext. 0.

Those at higher risk for severe illness include:

  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Individuals with high-risk or underlying health conditions like heart disease with complications, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, diabetes, renal failure or liver disease, or severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems
  • Individuals who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility