Students, faculty and staff:
Appalachian State University and Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) are working closely together to investigate and respond to two active clusters of confirmed COVID-19 associated with sororities. 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 nine students associated with the Kappa Delta sorority who have tested positive within the past 14 days. Four are recovering in active isolation and five are past the isolation stage. Additionally, there are 10 students associated with the Chi Omega sorority who have tested positive within the past 14 days. Three are recovering in active isolation and seven are past the isolation stage. AppHealthCare and App State have been providing support to the students and have been working with them to continue to identify close contacts.
These case clusters have been identified and confirmed by App State and AppHealthCare based on the number of cases identified within 14 days and all individuals having common links with the sororities.
Public health staff have identified and reached out to all identified close contacts of those who have tested positive. A close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 and virus transmission prevention. AppHealthCare will closely monitor the active cases and continue to conduct response testing in coordination with App State.
App State will have a pop-up testing event this Saturday, Sept. 19 in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon-5 p.m. Students, faculty and staff can walk up or drive up for a free COVID-19 test. No appointments are required, but you will be asked to show your AppCard. These free pop up testing events will take place every Saturday in September and October. AppHealthCare and App State encourage members of the university community to take advantage of these testing opportunities. The more information we have, the better we are able to respond to active cases and help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
It is important to note that in some instances, the definition of a cluster is not met until after a number of the cases in the clusters are no longer active. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including the number of cases identified in a 14-day time period, contact tracing to identify and determine plausible epidemiologic linkage, and COVID testing and results. Responding to calls and inquiries from public health officials who are tracing close contacts is extremely important for a rapid response from AppHealthCare and App State.
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, it is critically important 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.
App State will have pop-up testing events every Saturday in September and October in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon-5 p.m. No appointments are required, but you will be asked to show your AppCard.
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.
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.
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 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
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
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.
AppHealthCare’s COVID-19 call center is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day to take COVID-19 related inquiries. Call 828-795-1970. You can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. Call anytime and follow the prompts:
Watauga County: 828-264-4995
Ashe County: 336-246-9449
Alleghany County: 336-372-5641