AppHealthCare encourages community, students to continue COVID-19 safety amid holidays


Ricky Barker, Columnist

AppHealthCare released a report Nov. 6 detailing several statistics involving coronavirus clusters and active cases in Watauga County. They also informed college students on how to stay safe during the holiday season.

College students going home should be tested before leaving and quarantine for 14 days after arriving, according to AppHealthCare.

“App State is working on departure guidance for all (of) campus, which includes faculty, staff and students, to be published today, that also encourages them to get tested and self-quarantine,” according to the report. That information was published Nov. 6 and gives a step by step overview of what university students should do.

The number of active cases in Watauga County has decreased compared to the week of Oct. 25-31 and previous weeks. There are 121 active cases as of Nov. 11. However, there has been an increase in local hospitalizations due to COVID-19 . 

“Given the spike in cases we experienced a few weeks ago, we urge everyone to not let up on the actions we can take to continue to slow the spread in our community. These metrics are fragile and we must keep up the work to ensure they continue to go in the right direction,” according to AppHealthCare.

AppHealthCare reports that the majority of cases fall into the 18-24 age range. As of Nov. 11, 16 Watuaga residents have died from the virus, with 13 of them coming from Glenbridge Health & Rehabilitation and one at Foley Center, both are nursing homes.

Most exposure to virus has come through living and working closely with others or attending social gatherings outside immediate family, according to the report.

“We encourage everyone to commit to actions that will keep you and the entire community healthy and safe and reduce the risk of virus transmission. We must keep up this commitment to ensure our metrics continue going in the right direction,” said Jennifer Green, AppHealthCare Health Director.

The report suggests people do the following if planning on hosting events for the holidays: 

  • If you are sick or think you have been exposed, stay at home
  • Have small gatherings
  • Keep gatherings outdoors 
  • Stay away from self serve food
  • Try asking guests to self quarantine for 14 days before any event or at least reduce your exposure to others before the event
  •  Keep a safe distance of six feet from others
  • Wash your hands and wear face coverings

AppHealthCare’s report encouraged community members to acknowledge “this virus is still with us,” and to try to keep up the work in attempting to prevent it.