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 Sunday through Saturday of the prior week.
Situation Update for July 12 through July 18, 2020
We are continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases for Ashe County. The increase is steady and we
are not seeing a spike in new cases so that’s good news. We are continuing to see community
transmission occurring and when we can determine how exposure occurred, most cases were from
people traveling, attending social gatherings or living or working in close proximity to others. This has
remained the case through recent weeks.
“There are tools we have in our toolbox right now that will help to slow the spread of this virus in our
community. We all have the power to positively affect the impact this virus has. We urge each person to
practice the 3Ws when you leave your house and will be around others – wear a cloth face covering, wait
6 feet from others and wash your hands. In addition to the 3Ws, clean high-touch surfaces, stay home if
you’re sick and avoid mass gatherings,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.
Key points from this week:
● We are tentatively planning a drive-thru COVID-19 testing event for Ashe County residents on
August 1st. Stay tuned for more information and we will be promoting the event in the coming
● We are continuing to work to increase testing opportunities for the community. Planning for
proactive testing for staff in locations that have opted-in to that service continues. Also, we are
conducting response based testing when data gathered in the case investigation of a positive
case informs the need to conduct broader testing. These response based testing events are
intended to focus on areas where there is potential for further spread, a cluster of cases, or an
● Turn-around times for testing is 7-10 days, with most tests resulting around 7-8 days. Lab testing
turnaround remains a top concern. However, we have heard that the NC State Laboratory for
Public Health is continuing to work to shorten turnaround for their samples.
● We have hired 4 additional case investigators to assist with increased demand as we see
numbers of confirmed cases increase. They begin work August 3, 2020. Additional staff may be
hired to assist with testing and tracing needs.
● Preparing for additional contact tracing capacity is a top priority with the planned return of
public schools under Plan B -hybrid remote/at school instruction plans. Open communication
continues with Ashe County Schools.
● Outreach continues to be an important part of our collective community strategy to address
○ We continue to promote the Show Your Love campaign and are encouraged by the ways
we see the campaign take shape in our community.
○ Local long term care, assisted living and group home facilities participate with
AppHealthCare in a regional discussion about COVID-19, testing, prevention, and control
measures every two weeks to provide best practices and peer learning.
○ Regular meetings take place with community partners to discuss the current situation in
the county, strategize areas for growth and improvement and provide a time for
questions and answers.