Since the NC Legislature’s short session is paused for now. These newsletter will be published as events demand, but at least every two weeks.

Newsletter Published Twice a Week

We will continue to publish this newsletter several times a week with Covid-19 updates and other news. We’ll also publish more often if events unfold that warrant it.

Spread of Coronavirus

Across the United States, as of Friday afternoon, July 17, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 3,720,845. Of late, an average of over 60,000 new cases are being reported every day–the most than at any time during the pandemic crisis. Sadly, 141,447 people have died from coronavirus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 95,477. Currently, 1,180 people are hospitalized. To date, 1,606 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. 67,124 are presumed to have recovered. The number of new cases and the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 continue to climb.
Much more data is available at the NC DHHS “Dashboard”. See
Locally, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Ashe County is 69. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 159. Of these cases, 105 are currently active. Nine people in the district are currently hospitalized. One person has died in Ashe County from coronavirus. In Ashe and Watauga Counties, 187 residents are currently being monitored as possibly having Covid-19.
You can get more local data from the AppHealth Care Dashboard at
Our prayers are with all these people affected by coronavirus along with their families.
Please follow public health officials’ guidance: Wear a face mask in public settings. Wait 6 feet apart. Wash your hands frequently.

Local Schools Can Choose From Options for Opening

In August, schools may open for in-person instruction under an updated Plan B that requires face coverings for all K-12 students, fewer children in the classroom, measures to ensure social distancing for everyone in the building, and other safety protocols. 
The Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit outlines the updated requirements for Plan B. Districts also may choose to operate under Plan C, which calls for remote learning only, and health leaders recommend schools allow families to opt in to all-remote learning.
Read more from a press release from the governor’s office:

Free Drive-thru Covid-19 Testing at WHS on Saturday

AppHealthCare is partnering with Mako Medical Laboratories to offer COVID-19 testing for Watauga County residents. Drive-thru testing will be available Saturday, July 18th 8:30am-2:00pm at Watauga High School, 300 Go Pioneers Drive in Boone.
Read more:

What’s Next? Federal Relief for State & a Special Session?

The legislature isn’t scheduled to return to Raleigh until after Labor Day, but the actions of Congress might change those plans — and perhaps interrupt some summer vacations to address urgent state budget shortfalls.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed that he might call a special session if there’s a need to allocate new federal coronavirus relief money or make budget adjustments before Sept. 2.
Read more:

Help During the Pandemic

DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced last week the launch of a website that will assist those in need of things like help navigating the unemployment landscape, food assistance, or housing and shelter, among other things.
The website is now interactive for all 100 counties. A test program was created in 2019 for four NC counties, and it was thought it would take until December 2020 for the program to go live for the whole state, but teams rollled up their sleeves and worked overtime to make it available during this critical time for the state. Go to the website to request assistance from agencies in your area:

If You have Coronavirus Symptoms…

If you believe you have symptoms of coronavirus and live in Watauga County:1) Call AppHealthCare at 828-264-4995 or (828) 795-1970 during regular business hours,2) Visit online and follow screening instructions, or3) Call your primary care doctor.
If you believe you have symptoms of coronavirus and live in Ashe County call AppHealthCare at 336-246-9449 or call your primary care doctor.

More Information

Our public heath office, AppHealthCare, is the primary local source of information about coronavirus. See
For more information from our hospitals, see Appalachian Regional’s website at or Ashe Memorial Hospital’s website at for their updates.
For information specific to North Carolina, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) provides the latest information on COVID-19 at, North Carolina coronavirus updates are available by calling 888.892.1162 or by texting COVIDNC to 898211