Confirmed case of COVID-19 in off-campus student

Posted 04/08/20 at 7:02 p.m.

This afternoon, Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) informed Appalachian State University leadership that an App State student, who is a resident of Ashe County and lives off campus, has tested positive for COVID-19. The case is travel related and is the third case to occur within Ashe County. Read the news release here.

The student has not been on campus since March 4, and remains at home, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control.

Appalachian State University, AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department) and the North Carolina Division of Public Health continue working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With 98% of our students currently off campus, we may continue to learn of self-reported, confirmed cases in App State students that are not being tested by AppHealthCare or App State and reside outside of Watauga County. As we learn of these cases, 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.

Students who are concerned about symptoms should call Student Health Services at 828-262-3100 and ask to speak with a nurse. They are continuing medical and screening services to students in person and remotely. Faculty or staff who have concerns about students or their own health diagnoses should reach out to

Those who are not necessarily at risk of serious disease can carry the disease to their loved ones, and should carefully adhere to social distancing practices as outlined in Governor Cooper’s executive order of March 27, 2020, which directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member, bans gatherings of more than 10 people, and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from othersMore information here.

It is important to rely on official sources of information for facts about COVID-19, not share unconfirmed information, and practice prevention measures like handwashing, covering your coughs and sneezes, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

The university has a dedicated website about its response to COVID-19.

Below is information Public Health has shared with the university and High Country communities regarding COVID-19:

If you develop a fever, symptoms of respiratory illness or think you may have COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider. Members of the App State community who are concerned about symptoms they might be experiencing can contact Student Health Service at (828) 262-3100 or AppHealthCare at (828) 264-4995. Call before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your symptoms so they can be prepared.

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach AppHealthCare, call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. 

Public Health encourages the community to use the hospital emergency room only for true emergencies in order to preserve our local hospital capacity to meet the various healthcare needs that require urgent action in our community.

General questions from university and community members about COVID-19 can call (828) 264-4995. A positive case count is available at

Protect yourself and others 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
  • Wearing cloth face masks in public areas where social distancing may be more difficult, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Please read more about this new guidance from the CDC here.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) 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.

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

For the latest official situation updates:

We will work together to continue monitoring COVID-19 at the university and in our community and to keep the public informed. 


Jennifer Greene, MPH
Health Director/CEO
Appalachian District Health Department

Margaret Bumgarner, MBA, FACHE, FACMPE
Administrative Director of Student Health Service
Appalachian State University