April 10, 2020
Fourth Ashe County Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Jefferson, NC – A fourth Ashe County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This case has known travel history and is recovering at home. The local health department staff have identified close contacts who are in quarantine.
The contact investigation continues to identify people who are at highest risk and need to quarantine. AppHealthCare staff are currently partnering with Boone Family Funeral Home to make outreach to close contacts who need to quarantine for 14 days to avoid potential further spread of the virus. AppHealthCare will not be releasing additional information about this case in order to protect patient privacy.
Due to the nature of this particular case investigation, AppHealthCare encourages those who attended a funeral service operated by Boone Family Funeral Home or visited this establishment in Ashe County from March 19 through April 2 to contact public health staff by calling the AppHealthCare office in Ashe County at 336-246-9449 for an interview to determine if further guidance about possible need for self-quarantine is required. “We are taking this additional step out of an abundance of caution in order to accurately identify any additional close contacts that have not previously been contacted as part of our usual case investigation steps,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director.
“We are grateful for the Boone Family Funeral Home and appreciate their support and involvement in assisting with the contact investigation. We understand that people have many questions about individual cases and we want the community to know we are working diligently to keep the community informed while also protecting patient privacy. It is important that everyone practice kindness and understand that we all have a role to play in wearing cloth or other appropriate face coverings when we are in public settings since some spread can occur when someone has mild or no symptoms. We have no reason to believe anyone is intentionally spreading the virus, and while we want to remain vigilant, we know our focus on identifying others at risk are for those with close contact. We urge the Ashe County community to continue staying at home as much as possible, practice social distancing and take prevention measures like wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, continue frequent handwashing, stay home when you’re sick, avoid crowds, and keep distance from others who are sick,” added Greene.
“Boone Family Funeral Home is working closely with AppHealthCare as we work to identify close contacts. We have implemented planning efforts by telephone for families and have changed our procedures to lessen the chance that others become unintentionally exposed. All employees who have been identified as close contacts have been in quarantine and are not working until quarantine is complete. We are committed to protecting our community and will follow guidance from AppHealthCare in order to do our part to slow the spread of this virus,” stated David Boone, Owner and President, Boone Family Funeral Home.
“As we see more cases of COVID-19 in our community, we know it is going to take every single one of us doing our part to slow the spread of this virus. Please follow the Governor’s stay at home order and only go out for essential trips. The newest action taken by Governor Cooper yesterday is to further emphasize our need to practice social distancing. We appreciate the partnership of many local agencies and our citizens and encourage everyone to share only reliable and credible information,” stated Adam Stumb, Ashe County Manager.
How to Protect Yourself
Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
Frequent hand washing
Stay home when you’re sick
Keep distance from others who are sick
Avoid touching your face
Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, lightswitches, tables and handles
Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people like grocery stores or pharmacies – more information about face coverings can be found on the AppHealthCare website.
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Shortness of breath
If you become ill, please call your healthcare provider or call AppHealthCare to speak with a public health staff member before going to your provider or the emergency room.
People at high risk include anyone who:
Is 65 years of age or older
Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Have a high-risk condition that includes:
Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
Heart disease with complications
Compromised immune system
Severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
Based on recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health & Human Services, most people do not need testing for COVID-19. When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your healthcare provider.
Positive Case Counts
Both at the state and local level, positive cases of COVID-19 are represented and counted in a person’s place of residence. COVID-19 is a required, reportable illness to public health and we work closely with healthcare providers to ensure we are informed of cases. A positive case count on the AppHealthCare website, and will typically be updated once in the afternoon each day.
An increasing positive case count is only part of the picture since most people who become sick can follow the current public health guidelines to call their healthcare provider. In most cases, people who become ill may not be tested and will isolate themselves at home. For these reasons, it is important for people to stay home as much as possible to decrease your chance of infection, and reduce the spread and impact in our community.
NC Department of Health and Human Services Data
The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services has released expanded data for North Carolina which includes demographics of confirmed positive cases, hospitalization data and personal protective equipment (PPE) requested and received from the Strategic National Stockpile. The data can be found here.
AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach us, call (336) 246-9449 anytime and follow the prompts. AppHealthCare has set up a COVID-19 hotline at 1+ (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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.
A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”