COVID-19 Situation Update for Ashe County July 9, 2020

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COVID-19 Situation Update for Ashe County July 9, 2020

 

This document is intended to provide a regular update on the local response to COVID-19 in our
communities and timely, trended data related to COVID-19. This report will be published on Thursdays
each week for the Monday through Sunday of the prior week.

Situation Update for June 29 through July 5, 2020

We continue to see an increase in new cases for Ashe County. Among newly confirmed cases, there is
not a single event or location to be the cause of the increase. There have been multiple incidences of
exposure identified by people traveling, attending social gatherings or living or working in close
proximity to others. However, community transmission is occurring locally which means there is not
always an identified source of exposure for the cases. Once a positive case is identified, we highly
encourage close contacts of that individual to get tested. This has led to more confirmed positives,
including identifying individuals who have been asymptomatic.

“This virus remains with us and will for the foreseeable future so we encourage people to take actions to
protect themselves and loved ones. Show your love for yourself and others and practice the 3Ws
anytime you leave your house – wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet from others and wash your hands
often or use hand sanitizer. If we all do these things, we have the power to slow the spread and lessen
the impact in our community. This is an uncertain and stressful time for our community so we
encourage everyone to take care of yourself, friends, family and neighbors. We have a strong
community and will continue to rely on that strength to weather this storm,” stated Jennifer Greene,
Health Director, AppHealthCare.

Key points from this week:

● NC DHHS publishes county specific data for race, ethnicity, and gender. This data is updated
regularly and can be found on NC DHHS’s website .

○ 37% of cases are between 50-64 years of age

○ 25% of cases are between 25-49 years of age

● We are continuing to work to increase testing opportunities for the community.

○ Planning for proactive staff testing continues in locations that have opted-in to that
service. They include long term care facilities, shelters, local businesses with frontline
workers, healthcare providers, law enforcement, and first responders, etc.

○ The local testing strategy includes the need to increase availability of testing sites and
capacity, along with community education efforts to alert individuals about who should
be tested. In addition, NC DHHS Find My Testing Place and Check My Symptoms provide
linkages to local testing locations.

○ Response based testing also continues. These events are intended to focus on areas
where there is potential for further spread, a cluster of cases, or an outbreak. Data
gathered in the case investigation informs the need for response based testing.

○ A community based testing event is being actively planned for early August to respond
to the fact that cases have increased the past three weeks. This will provide additional
data to further inform testing strategies in the future. AppHealthCare will be working
with local partners to communicate and promote this event.

● PPE (personal protective equipment) levels remain stable.

● Turn-around times for testing is 2-7 days, with most tests resulting between 5-7 days. This is
concerning. We have noticed there is a delay in testing results which has been outlined as a
national challenge to overcome. NC DHHS continues to communicate about this challenge and
plan for additional strategies to assist local communities.

● NC DHHS issued updated guidance that included steps for people after they receive a COVID-19
test. What should someone do while waiting for test results, what if the test is negative or
positive, prevention measures and home care if someone is sick are included in this guidance
and can be found here .

● Additional case investigators are being recruited currently to add to the team of case
investigators and contact tracers in place.

● Outreach continues to be an important part of our collective community strategy to address
COVID-19.

○ A bulk order of reusable cloth face coverings have been ordered by AppHealthCare to be
distributed in the community soon, and local municipalities report sourcing additional
face masks and hand sanitizing stations for distribution.

○ Local long term care, assisted living and group home facilities have been invited to
participate in a regional discussion about COVID-19, testing, prevention, and control
measures next week. We hope this will provide an opportunity to provide additional
best practices and peer learning.

Data for Ashe County

An important note about data context: The graphs below show the available data. Please carefully read
the descriptions below the graph to understand the data limitations. The most current data is available
on the AppHealthCare dashboard , as the data below is past data trended.

Important Disclaimer About Data

It is imperative that this report and the data contained within is understood in the appropriate context.
Please, if you use this report, please be certain that the information included within is shared within the
appropriate context. Doing otherwise may be damaging to the public health response efforts. There are
multiple factors involved in addressing this virus, including compliance with public health control
measures implemented by the local health director and referenced in NC GS 130A. These measures are
imperative for limiting the spread of COVID-19. AppHealthCare strongly advises that when data is
shared for the purposes of educating the public or informing policy decisions, it should come directly
from NC DHHS or AppHealthCare as it is presented with appropriate context from those directly
involved in public health response.

Additional data can be found on AppHealthCare’s data dashboard . This data is updated each day by
8pm. You may notice a difference between our case count and the NC DHHS state database . Sometimes
we get notification of positive results before they show up on the state dashboard. Also, individuals can
sometimes get “assigned” to our counties that actually do not reside in our counties. When that
happens, we work with the state to get that data reassigned to the person’s place of residence.
Additional Data and Information from NC Department of Health & Human Services

● Zip Code Data – NC DHHS publishes data for confirmed cases by zip code for the state. The map
and data can be found here .

● Outbreak Data & Information – This data is broken down by type of congregate setting like a
nursing home, residential care facility, correctional facility, or a congregate working setting. The
map by county and report can be found here .

Key Messages

● Show Your Love! This multi-county communication
campaign focuses on showing your love to yourself, others
around you and the community. Posters and social media
graphics for the 3Ws are now available on our website in
both English and Spanish. Download them here .

● Practice the 3Ws if you have to leave your house – Wear a
cloth face covering, Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer and Wait 6 feet from
others.

● If you are sick, please stay home except to receive medical care.

● If you are at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, we encourage you to stay at home to
the greatest extent possible to decrease your chance of infection.

Testing

If you meet any of the criteria listed below, we encourage you to be tested for COVID-19. You can call
your healthcare provider or AppHealthCare. You should be tested if:

● You believe you have symptoms of COVID-19,

● You have no symptoms and you are at higher risk for severe illness (you are 65 or older, you
have an underlying health condition or chronic condition), or have been in close contact with
someone who is known to have a positive result,

● You are someone working in a frontline role or essential business where social distancing is hard
to maintain,

● You are a first responder, law enforcement officer, fire department staff member, or healthcare
staff member,

● You live in or work in a facility where social distancing is hard to maintain, like congregate living,
healthcare facilities or home care.

● You are part of a historically marginalized population who may be at higher risk for exposure.

● You have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings where you could have been
exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others because it may have been
difficult to practice social distancing.

NC DHHS has tools for the public including a website to Check Symptoms and another to Find My Testing
Site that are located here . AppHealthCare does not require someone to have symptoms to be tested.
Alleghany (336) 372-5641 | Ashe (336) 246-9449 | Watauga (828) 264-4995
AppHealthCare COVID-19 Hotline (828) 795-1970
General COVID-19 Questions: preparedness@apphealth.com
Media inquiries: media@apphealth.com
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