Fall 2021 Guide to Campus Operations

Confirmed cases of COVID-19

Posted 09/17/20 at 4:32 p.m.

Students, faculty and staff:

Appalachian State University and Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) are working closely together to investigate and respond to an active cluster of confirmed COVID-19 associated with App State’s Thunder Hill Residence Hall. 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.

Currently, there are seven student residents of Thunder Hill who have tested positive within the past 14 days. Two are recovering in active isolation and five are past the isolation stage. The students are being provided support by the university.

The cluster of cases was identified and confirmed by App State and AppHealthCare based on the number of cases identified within 14 days and all individuals having a common link with the residence hall. Individuals were tested at a variety of locations in the past 14 days.

Public health staff have identified and reached out to all identified close contacts of those who have tested positive. A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.

AppHealthCare has been working closely with App State throughout the COVID-19 response, and continues to provide public health recommendations and guidance for infection prevention and virus transmission. With this active cluster of cases, AppHealthCare will closely monitor the active cases and conduct response testing in coordination with App State.  If you are a resident of Thunder Hill, public health staff highly encourages you to be tested.

How to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

The actions of each person can help flatten the App State curve:

  • Remember to perform your daily health check each day before leaving your residence hall or coming to campus. If you are feeling sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please do not attend class or be around others.

  • Students, faculty and staff can report illness or exposure using this online web form.

  • Follow the 3Ws when you leave your home and are around others: wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and wait to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. 

  • If you receive a call from public health, we urge everyone to cooperate with the contact tracing process. This allows public health and the university to work together in implementing the appropriate measures to control the spread of this virus. The information we receive from individuals who are positive or are close contacts is intended to guide our response efforts. There is no punishment for individuals who disclose their close contacts, and AppHealthCare and university staff will not share personally identifying information.

Where to get a COVID-19 test:

App State will have pop-up testing events every Saturday in September and October in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon-5pm. No appointments are required, but you will be asked to show your AppCard.

Additionally:

  • If you are a student, contact Student Health Service for an appointment. Tests are conducted weekdays. Clinic hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information on the types of tests available and how to make an appointment to get tested are available on the Student Health Service website.

  • Faculty, staff and students can be tested by AppHealthCare Monday-Friday. AppHealthCare will serve anyone, regardless of ability to pay. Schedule a test with AppHealthCare by calling the AppHealthCare COVID-19 Hotline at 828-795-1970. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and many primary care providers also offer testing.

    • For a list of testing locations in Watauga County, click here.

    • For a list of testing locations in Ashe County, click here.

    • For a list of testing locations in Alleghany County, click here.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) offers two additional tools to help you determine whether you should be tested and find testing sites:

Find information about additional testing options for App State students, faculty and staff on the university’s dedicated coronavirus website.

How to Protect Yourself

This virus spreads most commonly through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes and is in close contact with another person. Close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as 6 feet of distance or less for 15 minutes or longer. In a setting where people are in close contact with others and not practicing the 3Ws, there is an increased risk of exposure. 

  • Wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth 

  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer 

  • Wait at least 6 feet from others

  • Stay home when you’re sick 

  • Keep distance from others who are sick

  • Avoid touching your face 

  • Avoid crowded areas 

  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms. These include:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Where to find more information:

For more information related to COVID-19, including local data, visit AppHealthCare’s website. AppHealthCare reports data to App State for students, employees and subcontractors who are confirmed positive. App State maintains a data dashboard for cumulative confirmed cases and active cases. University-specific information and data are available on the App State coronavirus website.

Our COVID-19 call center is available from 8:00am to 8:00pm each day to take COVID-19 related calls - (828) 795-1970 and you can also email questions to preparedness@apphealth.com

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach them, call Watauga (828) 264-4995, Ashe (336) 246-9449, Alleghany (336) 372-5641 anytime and follow the prompts. For more information, visit www.AppHealthCare.com and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.