Continuity in the time of COVID-19

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Dashboard

The following charts are updated each day. The data come from AppHealthCare district health department and reflect the confirmed cases at Appalachian State University. The “Employees” category includes both faculty and staff. The “Subcontractors” category indicates individuals working on campus construction projects who are employed by private construction companies, rather than the university. 

Detailed information on regional cases is available on the AppHealthCare website. Note: There is some overlap between the data reported on the two dashboards; however, the App State dashboard does include some cases outside of the AppHealthCare reporting area.

What we report

App State reports confirmed cases of all students, employees and subcontractors regardless of where they are or where they are tested. The Environmental Health and Safety & Emergency Management team works with public health to confirm all reported cases prior to adding them to the dashboard. Some of the cases reported on the App State dashboard are reported by other public health agencies, but all are confirmed by public health before they are added to the App State dashboard.

Active cases

As noted on the above App State COVID-19 Active Cases graph, active cases represent those individuals who are in isolation, and individuals are included in the active case count for the duration of their isolation period as determined by public health. There is no set time for isolation.

  • Active case status is determined by public health. App State case counts are updated daily with data reported to us by AppHealthCare, our local public health agency, who follows current guidance from NCDHHS and CDC to determine when a case is active.
  • Active case counts may decrease, increase or stay the same as public health moves individuals in and out of isolation.
  • While many factors affect the number of active cases, one factor is an increase in testing. As noted above, the On-Campus Testing chart includes on-campus testing data and is updated each Monday.
  • Case counts are not changed based on enrollment or employer status. If a student, employee or subcontracted worker is affiliated with the university at the time of positive test result, they are included in, and remain in, the case counts.


A cluster is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases. Cluster notification is a federally required public notification; therefore, the university will notify campus in the event of a cluster.

Self-reporting of COVID-19 tests and Care and Concern reports

Whether you are an employee or a student, you are required to report the following:

  • If a health care provider tells you that you are presumed positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19.
  • The results, whether positive or negative, of your COVID-19 test.

You can self-report this information to Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management in either of two ways:

Care and Concern reports

Students, faculty and staff who hear about others who may have COVID-19 can use the Illness/Exposure Concern Report to submit a “Care and Concern” report to ensure the university is aware of their positive test result. In addition, if you have a concern about a student, you can report that concern to the Dean of Students.

When you complete this form, the university will immediately begin working with public health professionals to reach out to the individual and conduct contact tracing and provide needed resources and support as needed. Faculty and staff who may need leave for reasons related to COVID-19 should communicate with their supervisor and/or Human Resources about special COVID-19 leave provisions that are currently in effect.

NOTE: App State will report positive cases of faculty, staff and students that have been verified by public health to campus. No personally identifiable information will be shared with the University community.

All reported information will remain confidential.

What happens when someone tests positive?

Over the coming months, it is likely we will see an increase in self-reported cases that have not been tested by AppHealthCare or App State. When we hear of these reports, we are coordinating with local public health agencies to the greatest extent possible, in consultation with the North Carolina Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team, to confirm positive cases.

In North Carolina, when someone tests positive, their health care provider is required by law to report that to their local health department. They also report positive test cases to the state. This is to ensure health care is being provided to individuals who have tested positive, and the health of the public is being protected by implementing isolation procedures.

When an App State student, faculty or staff member tests positive, the local public health department makes contact with that person and gives public health guidance to isolate away from others, stay home and not go to work. AppHealthCare is responsible for public health in Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany Counties.

Additionally, local public health departments are responsible for contact tracing – no matter where someone received a test. This means AppHealthCare will work to:

  • Identify cases of COVID-19
  • Isolate those who have tested positive
  • Identify and quarantine close contacts of those who have tested positive
  • Monitor positive cases and close contacts until released

Students, faculty and staff who are tested on campus are identified as affiliated with App State at the time their test is taken. It is possible for a student, faculty or staff member to be tested by an entity not connected with App State or AppHealthCare and not identify any connection with App State. In that instance,they would still be isolated by public health and unable to attend classes or work, and would be identified as associated with the university when they complete their Illness/Exposure Concern Report and/or reach out to faculty and/or their supervisor to explain their inability to attend.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is under the purview of public health. The university assists as needed.

  • Contact tracing is one of the most effective tools in reducing the spread of COVID-19. 
  • When a person tests positive for COVID-19, public health will work to determine who may have been exposed and in close contact with the confirmed positive individual. 
  • They will then reach out to those who have been determined to have been in close contact with the confirmed positive individual. Close contacts will be advised to quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. The CDC defines close contacts as "someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated."
  • If you receive a call from public health, it is critically important that you answer and/or return their calls and answer their questions. The purpose of the call is to support those who may have been in close contact with the contagious person and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
  • In response to questions about how contact tracing calls are identified, AppHealthCare has shared that calls from public health may show up as “NC Outreach” or “Contact Tracing” or from 844-628-7223 or 828-264-4995; however, some cell phone carriers may flag the call as spam. If you receive a message, please return the call.

There is no punishment for individuals who disclose their close contacts, and AppHealthCare and university staff will not share personally identifying information.

SlowCOVIDNC mobile app

Download and install the SlowCOVIDNC mobile app for free from the App Store or Google Play to anonymously share a positive COVID-19 result or receive a notification if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. SlowCOVIDNC protects your identity and privacy while empowering you to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Campus isolation and quarantine procedures

Students, faculty and staff should, to the greatest extent possible, limit travel and interactions with those who are not in their immediate household in order to reduce exposure and help keep our community safe.

AppHealthCare, our local health department, is responsible for public health in Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany Counties. 

When a student, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed and needs to be isolated or quarantined, the university assists our local health department as needed. Isolation is implemented with confirmed positive cases; quarantine is implemented with cases of potential exposure.

Isolation is managed by the individual’s local public health agency, and people who are instructed to isolate are not likely to be permitted to travel.

  • When AppHealthCare places a student, faculty or staff member into isolation or quarantine, AppHeathCare provides information and guidance. This includes instructions on how to isolate/quarantine, as well as how and when to access emergency medical care.
  • The location where a person will isolate and quarantine will vary depending on living arrangements. The university will assist in making safe isolation and quarantine arrangements for on-campus, residential students as appropriate when circumstances prevent a person from safely isolating/quarantining at their place of residence. AppHealthCare coordinates isolation and quarantine arrangements for off-campus students, faculty and staff who live within its three-county district.
  • The university, with assistance from AppHealthCare, coordinates support for on-campus, residential students in isolation/quarantine depending on needs and location. This is situation-dependent but can include meals, lodging and other services. In addition, AppHealthCare coordinates support for off-campus students, faculty, and staff who live within its three-county district.
  • The university has a designated team of staff that will coordinate with students, faculty and staff under isolation/quarantine to provide support. The team includes representatives from Student Health Service, Office of Dean of Students, Campus Dining, University Housing, Human Resources, and Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management.
  • When a student is in isolation or quarantine, the student is assigned a case manager from the Office of the Dean of Students. The case manager will check in with students periodically throughout their quarantine or isolation in order to provide support and resources. Students are encouraged to contact their case manager should they need anything while in isolation or quarantine.

Who will be notified?

In the event of a positive test, only close contacts of those who have tested positive will be notified by health care providers. This is to protect the privacy of the individuals and prevent the disclosure of protected health information. This procedure is also consistent with CDC and public health guidelines, as well as with the university’s communicable disease notification practice.

The university has a dedicated website about its response to COVID-19, where you can find a dashboard with case counts that is updated as positive cases related to the university are identified. App State will use this dashboard to keep the university community informed about verified, positive cases.

Additionally, AppHealthCare has developed a website dashboard with case counts for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties.