First Ashe County resident tests positive for COVID-19

Jackie Park, Reporter

An Ashe County resident with close contact to someone with a travel history is the first in the county to test positive for the new coronavirus, AppHealthCare announced in a press release Friday.

The health department identified the individual’s close contacts they are now in quarantine as well.

“We have been preparing should we see a positive case of COVID-19 in Ashe County. Now that we have a positive case, we will continue to work diligently to protect the public’s health. It is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” Jennifer Greene, health director for AppHealthCare, said in the release.

AppHealthCare is working with local agencies to protect the health of Ashe County residents, the release stated.

“We are confident in public health’s ability to lead this effort and appreciate their partnership with Ashe County and other local agencies to protect our community’s health,” Adam Stumb, Ashe County manager, said in the release.

The release stated that at state and local levels, positive cases of COVID-19 are represented with an individual’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. We have added a positive case count on our website, which will typically be updated once in the afternoon each day,” the release stated.

The release also said that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released data for North Carolina’s positive cases, hospitalization numbers and requests for personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. The data can be found here.

“An increasing positive case count is only part of the picture since most people who become sick can follow the current public health guidelines to call their health care provider. In most cases, people who become ill may not be tested and will isolate themselves at home. For these reasons, it is important for people to stay home as much as possible to decrease your chance of infection, and reduce the spread and impact in our community,” the release stated.

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