Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) has informed Appalachian State University leadership that it has confirmed 16 subcontracted workers who are non-Watauga County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
AppHealthCare identified a small number of university employees with potential exposure. One tested positive – this case was reported by the university and AppHealthCare on May 7. The others have tested negative. There is no direct risk to the university community related to these cases. The contractor has engaged in a thorough cleaning at the job site and workers will remain off campus until cleared by public health to return.
When App State learned of self-reported cases through one of our contractors, we engaged with the contractor and AppHealthCare to ensure access to testing was available to all members of the work crew.
The university is implementing enhanced precautionary measures which require all subcontracted workers to wear masks and maintain appropriate physical distance.
University employees currently working on campus must wear masks and maintain appropriate physical distance.
All construction projects remain on schedule.
We continue to hear of self-reported, confirmed cases that are not being tested by AppHealthCare or App State. 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. AppHealthCare continues to be a valuable university partner, helping verify tests that may have been performed in other counties. App State will continue to keep the university community informed about verified, positive cases.
Students who are concerned about symptoms should call Student Health Services at 828-262-3100 and ask to speak with a nurse. Faculty or staff who have concerns about students or their own health diagnoses should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
App State and AppHealthCare will work together to continue monitoring COVID-19 at the university and in our community and to keep the public informed.
Below is information Public Health has shared with the university and High Country communities regarding COVID-19:
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms.
People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
Based on the latest recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health & Human Services, testing has been expanded. Our public health strategy has needed to be flexible and responsive, and this expanded testing guidance allows for more testing to occur. Expanded testing will allow us to continue to identify additional cases of COVID-19, isolate them and quarantine close contacts to hopefully break the chain of infection. Expanded testing allows a clinician to test when they suspect a COVID-19 test may help the course of treatment for that patient. We are working closely with the NC Department of Health & Human Services and other partners to ensure testing capacity is increased as we begin to ease restrictions.
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we would recommend you be tested. This means if you are sick with a fever, cough or other mild symptoms, call your healthcare provider or AppHealthCare. 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.
Please do not just show up to a healthcare provider without calling first. This will help your provider prepare should you need to be tested and lessen the potential exposure to others. AppHealthCare will serve anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. As is our usual day-to-day practice, a patient will not be turned away due to inability to pay.
If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.
During this time, it is important to manage your overall health. There are resources available if you need to reduce anxiety or stress, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, need to better manage chronic conditions and more. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.
AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach us, call 828-264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. AppHealthCare has set up a COVID-19 hotline at 828-795-1970 for information during regular business hours. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and will work to keep the public informed. Please visit our website for more information - www.AppHealthCare.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Questions from agencies requesting support on COVID-19 response, planning efforts, etc. can contact email@example.com.