Spread of Coronavirus

Across the United States, as of Friday afternoon, Aug. 7, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 5,050,976. Sadly, 163,149 people have died from the virus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 132,812. Currently, 1,123 people are hospitalized. To date, 2,134North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. NCDHHS estimates that as of Monday 105,093 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 144. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 302. Of these cases, 161 are currently active. Fourteen 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, 123 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.

Gov. Cooper Extends Phase 2 Until Sept. 11

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed Executive Order 155, extending North Carolina’s Safer at Home Phase 2 restrictions for an additional five weeks until Friday, Sept. 11. “Other states that lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher. We will not make that mistake in North Carolina.”
Here is the full briefing from Gov. Cooper (click on 08/05 briefing in English or Spanish): https://www.unctv.org/coronavirus/

Blue Ridge Energy Continues Ban on Disconnections

Since the beginning of COVID-19, Blue Ridge Energy has worked to assist its members during this difficult time. With the expiration of Gov. Cooper’s Executive Orders 124 and 142, Blue Ridge officials say they remain committed in their efforts by continuing to suspend disconnects and waiving penalty and late fees for electric members until October. However, they encourage everyone with a past due balance (including Flexpay members) to call BRE by August 31 at 1-800-451-5474 to set up a special payment plan or ask about crisis assistance from the In This Together Relief Fund.

Wake Health Covid-19 Community Research Partnership

Our goal is to enroll a representative sample of participants from our region in the COVID-19 Community Partnership Research study over the next few months, with particular interest in the elderly (age 65 and older) and racial/ethnic minority groups. The data below reflects study participation since April 2020. Additional data will be included in the future.
See data: https://www.wakehealth.edu/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Community-Research-Partnership/Updates-and-Data

Deputy 4 A Day Back to School Event in Ashe County

Sheriff Phil Howell announced that his department will hold a “Deputy 4 A Day” drive-through school event 10-11 am next Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Ashe County Sheriff’s office. The office is located at 140 Government Circle, Jefferson.
Students will receive a school packet that includes a tote backpack, earphones, water bottle, Frisbee, and more. There will also be a demonstration of the sheriff’s office K-9 Unit.

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. 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: 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