Spread of Coronavirus

Across the United States, as of Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 5,265,034. Sadly, 166,727 people have died from the virus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 136,844. Currently, 1,111 people are hospitalized. To date, 2,172North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. NCDHHS estimates that as of Monday 116,969 have recovered. 
Much more data is available at the NC DHHS “Dashboard”. See https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.
Locally, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Ashe County is 156. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 319. Of these cases, 132 are currently active. Twenty-three people in the district have been hospitalized at some point during the outbreak. One person has died in Ashe County from coronavirus. In Ashe and Watauga Counties, 116 residents are currently being monitored as possibly having Covid-19.
You can get more local data from the AppHealth Care Dashboard at https://www.apphealthcare.com/covid-19-information/covid-19-data-dashboard/.
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.

Rep. Russell Joins Gov. Cooper at Earthquake Sites
Rep. Russell and NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry (at right) on Tuesday joined Gov. Roy Cooper as he toured Sparta and surrounding areas to view damage from the 5.2-scale earthquake that hit Sunday morning. The quake was felt across much of the state and into Virginia. Gov. Cooper also met with local officials to make assessments of the damage and hear reports on needed assistance.

White House Offers Relief Aid, But Will It Help?

The White House on Saturday offered up four executive orders to provide Covid-19 relief to workers, but will cash-strapped states be able to participate, after being asked to pony up $15 billion as their portion for extended unemployment benefits?
The executive orders, some of which are technically classified as memorandum because Congress ultimately holds the purse strings, will not help North Carolina’s unemployed because the state is experiencing a $5 billion budget shortfall due partly to decreased tax revenue. The main proposal requires that states pay $100 of the White House’s proposed $400 per week unemployment extension payments to individuals.
Other orders cover payroll tax deferments as well as renter and federal mortgage payment protections.
I’ve read the orders and don’t feel they offer any real, positive solutions for states and for unemployed individuals currently struggling daily to get by. The White House needs to make a serious effort to help states and families get through this crisis.
Read FAQ on the orders from an economics correspondent: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/09/heres-what-is-actually-trumps-four-executive-orders/
Here’s North Carolina’s unemployment statistics for June (the most current report from NC Commerce): https://www.nccommerce.com/news/press-releases/north-carolina%E2%80%99s-june-employment-figures-released-0

How to Request an Absentee Ballot for the Nov. Election

Ashe County:https://nmcdn.io/e186d21f8c7946a19faed23c3da2f0da/9daed2ecce2a4df2845caa12db947e3d/files/NC-Absentee-Ballot-Request-Form.pdfNeed more information? Contact the Ashe County Board of Elections at asheelections@ashecountygov.com or call 336-846-5570.

Watauga County:http://www.wataugacounty.org/App_Pages/Dept/BOE/notices.aspxNeed more information? Contact the Watauga County Board of Elections at Matthew.Snyder@watgov.org or call 828-265-8061.
Early voting sites have not been determined yet for either county.

Help During the Pandemic
DHHS 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 NCCARE360.org website is now interactive for all 100 counties. Go to the website to request assistance from agencies in your area: https://nccare360.org/

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 https://apprhs.org/covid19-screening/ 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 https://www.apphealthcare.com/covid-19-information/
For more information from our hospitals, see Appalachian Regional’s website at https://apprhs.org/COVID19/ or Ashe Memorial Hospital’s website at https://www.ashememorial.org/ 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 https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/Also, North Carolina coronavirus updates are available by calling 888.892.1162 or by texting COVIDNC to 898211