Spread of Coronavirus

Across the United States, as of Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 18, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 5,623,512. Sadly, 174,141 people have died from the virus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 146,779. Currently, 1,026 people are hospitalized. To date, 2,396 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. NCDHHS estimates that as of Monday 127,749 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 174. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 390. Of these cases, 166 are currently active. Twenty-three people in the district have been hospitalized at some point during the outbreak. The figure includes Alleghany County which is part of the local health department district, and which are not separated in the hospital count among counties. One person has died in Ashe County from coronavirus. In Ashe and Watauga Counties, 184 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.

App State Includes Dashboard of Covid-19 Cases

Appalachian State is closely monitoring the developing COVID-19 situation, which continues to evolve rapidly. While all units currently remain operational, modifications and precautions are being taken to support social distancing. Access to many campus buildings remains limited.
The active case count as of Tuesday, Aug. 18, is 11 employees and 47 students. All are in isolation, according to the university. A cumulative count of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 is 22 employees, 99 students, and 41 subcontractors (workers on campus who were not staff or faculty). These figures are included in AppHealthCare’s daily updates
The site is updated regularly. Click on the link to view more details: https://www.appstate.edu/go/coronavirus/

UNC-CH Goes Virtual After Outbreak of Covid-19 Cases
After a spate of COVID-19 infection clusters during the first week of classes, the university will shift all undergraduate instruction to remote learning Wednesday and continue efforts to greatly reduce residence hall occupancy.
Read more: https://www.unc.edu/posts/2020/08/17/shift-to-remote/
UNC System President Peter Hans said that there are no plans to have other campuses move to all-virtual learning. 
Read his statement: https://www.northcarolina.edu/news/unc-system-president-issues-statement-on-fall-semester/

The Bluffs Cafe Grand Re-Opening Set for Saturday

After a decade hiatus, The Bluffs cafe on the Blue Ridge Parkway will have its grand re-opening on Saturday, Aug. 22. The homey and welcoming cafe for many years was a favorite of tourists and locals alike, but after closing in 2010, the building fell into disrepair. The Blue Ridge Park Foundation and others joined forces in 2016 to revitalize the circa-1949 stone and wood structure.
Read more: https://www.brpfoundation.org/initiatives/doughton-park-repair-reopen-bluffs-buildings
Visit the restaurant website at https://www.bluffsrestaurant.org/
The Bluff is located at mile marker 241 near Laurel Springs.

Completing the Census is Safe, Easy and Important!

Completing the survey is quick and easy to do. You can complete your Census questionnaire online, by phone or on paper.
The process is safe, easy and important and you can respond in one of three ways:Online by visiting my2020census.gov.By phone by calling 1-800-923-8282.  Via mail.
Help Make NC Count! View and download resource materials by checking out the NC Census Outreach & Engagement Toolkit.You can also track Census response rates near you. View the latest data here.

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.

State BOE’s FAQ on Absentee Ballot Process in NC
Given the presence of Covid-19 in our communities, many people are considering voting by absentee mail-in ballot. Here’s a link to frequently asked questions about the process for North Carolina:https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Outreach/Absentee/FAQs_Absentee_Voting_2020_FINAL.pdf

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 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