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 Tuesday afternoon, July 21, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 3,993,452. 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, 144,485 people have died from coronavirus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus reached a milestone this week with more than 102,861 reported. Read more about what experts are saying this means for the state:, 1,179 people are hospitalized. To date, 1,668 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. 78,707 are presumed to have recovered. 
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 79. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 193. Of these cases, 120 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, 228 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.

As Testing Increases, Backlog is Creating Results Delay

If you’ve recently been tested for COVID-19 in North Carolina, it could take your results twice as long to come back as it would have last month.Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, expressed concern this month over “ballooning turnaround times” for commercial testing labs. The average turnaround time was approaching six to seven days, she said—up from two to three days in June.
Read more:

Gov. Cooper Wants More Help for Unemployed

Gov. Cooper held a press conference today to update the state on Covid-19. During the press conference Cooper announced that:

  • 900,000 masks will be distributed to farm workers by way of local Cooperative Extension Service offices. Distribution has begun and will continue through next week.
  • NC DHHS will partner with NC Community Health Center Associates to expand free testing sites to under served communities. DHHS currently has two other vendors providing this service throughout the state.
  • He will urge Congress to extend the $600 per week federal unemployment subsidy that is ends this week.
  • He is urging leadership at the NC General Assembly to take up a revision of the state’s current unemployment laws when the House and Senate return to Raleigh later this year. The state currently ranks near the bottom in the US for compensation (currently a maximum of $350 per week) and length of time compensation can be awarded (12 weeks).

More Early Voting Sites Planned for November Election

Early voting sites should be easier to find in this fall’s elections, at least in North Carolina’s biggest cities, because of an order issued by the N.C. State Board of Elections on Friday.
North Carolina Republicans say the change to statewide voting rules is just a partisan ploy to help Democrats, but state officials say it’s necessary to help protect voters against coronavirus.
Read more:

Help During the PandemicDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced recently 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 InformationOur 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