Spread of Coronavirus
Across the United States, as of Friday afternoon, Sept. 11, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 6,608,623. Sadly, 196,810 people have died from the virus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 182,286. Currently, 938 people are hospitalized. To date, 3,028North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. NCDHHS estimates that as of Monday 156,652 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 238. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 660. Of these cases, 93 are currently active. Thirty-four 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 is not separated out in the hospital count among counties. AppHealthCare reports that 152 residents in Ashe and Watauga are currently being monitored as possibly having Covid-19.
Two Ashe County residents have died from coronavirus, and we are sad to report that this week Watauga has had its first deaths. Three Watauga residents of Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation in Boone were determined to have succumbed to the virus. All three were in their 70s or 80s and had underlying medical conditions, according to a release by AppHealthCare. 
Note: You may notice some discrepancy between AppHealthCare numbers and those on the NCDHHS website. This is because AppHealthCare utilizes rapid-results testing, and it takes a few days for the results to be entered into the state database. AppHealthCare is the most up-to-date source for data on Covid-19 in Ashe and Watauga counties.
You can get more local data from the AppHealthCare Dashboard at https://www.apphealthcare.com/covid-19-information/covid-19-data-dashboard/.
The active case count at App State is 53 students. All are in isolation, according to the university. A cumulative count of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 is 25 employees, 255 students, and 41 subcontractors (workers on campus who were not staff or faculty). These figures are included in AppHealthCare’s daily updates, although it should be noted that students who physically reside in Ashe or Watauga County (in a dorm, apartment, or house) are counted in AppHealthCare’s totals. If a student physically resides in neighboring counties (and commutes from there to school), their data is counted in the home county. Likewise, employees who live outside Ashe and Watauga are counted in their home counties.
The site is updated regularly. Click on the link to view more details: https://www.appstate.edu/go/coronavirus/
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.
A Day of Remembrance, Grief, and Resolve
The 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 were the deadliest ever to occur on American soil. The plane hijackings that struck the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field killed nearly 3,000 people including 400 heroic first responders who fought to save lives. 
The attacks dramatically changed the United States, ushering in an unprecedented level of security measures at home and started the War on Terror. But it also brought the nation together, unified in our grief and our resolve to treasure our freedom.
Although we cannot formally come together this year to remember, we will never forget those who lost their lives on that terrible day and those who have given their lives in the aftermath.

FEMA OK’s 3 More Weeks of $300 Unemployment Boost
There’s enough money for a $300-a-week unemployment boost to run six weeks instead of three, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday.
Just when and how that money will go out to people who are collecting unemployment in North Carolina remains to be seen, but the agency said states should plan to make the payments for “no more than six weeks.”
Read more: https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/fema-another-3-weeks-ok-d-for-300-unemployment-boost/19281040/

Extra Credit Grant of $335 for Qualifying Children
The NC Coronavirus Relief Act recently signed into law includes a provision for qualifying families to offset some of the costs associated with virtual schooling and child care. The one-time $335 checks are available to qualifying families, regardless of the number of children in the household.
For more information on the grant program and how to apply, visit:https://files.nc.gov/ncdor/documents/files/Extra-Credit-Grant-FAQs_0.pdf

Rep. Russell Named ‘Jobs Champion’ by NC Chamber
The NC Chamber this week named NC Rep. Ray Russell a 2019-2020 Jobs Champion in its annual How They Voted report. How They Voted details state legislators’ voting records on bills identified as critical to preserving and enhancing North Carolina’s position in the national race for jobs. Rep. Russell was recognized as a Jobs Champion for voting with the Chamber’s Jobs Agenda 80 percent of the time during the 2019-2020 legislative biennium.
“In a COVID-19 world, supporting policies that promote healthy job growth is vital to our ability to relaunch economically and remain competitive with other states,” said Rep. Russell. “I am proud to be a Jobs Champion for North Carolina and my district.”
Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido had praise for Rep. Russell.
“Following a strong, pro-jobs long session in 2019, legislators in 2020 showed an unprecedented level of bipartisanship in supporting our state’s response to COVID-19. We are grateful for Rep. Russell’s leadership in helping North Carolina navigate the unique challenges of the pandemic and put us squarely on a path to relaunching our state’s economy. We look forward to continuing to work with him to help chart a new course for our state.” 
You can view this year’s edition of How They Voted click herehttps://ncchamber.com/wp-content/uploads/How-They-Voted-2019-2020.pdf?_zs=kaThl&_zl=we7n1

$40 Million Grant to Address Barriers to Remote Learning
Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced that NC would receive nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students.
Read more: https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-announces-nearly-40-million-connect-students-and-communities-high-speed

Early Voting Locations and Schedule Released
Ashe Countyhttps://www.ashecountygov.com/departments/board-of-elections
Watauga Countyhttp://www.wataugacounty.org/App_Pages/Dept/BOE/notices.aspx
Mail-In Absentee Ballots
Registered voters may request an absentee ballot through the online Absentee Ballot Request Portal (https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home) or fill out a North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form  (https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm.pdf) and return it to their county board of elections.
The form is due to your local Board of Election no later than Oct. 27 for them to send you your ballot, but please remember that your ballot must be received or postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 3).
To review Frequently Asked Questions about absentee voting, visit: https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-mail/faqs-voting-mail-north-carolina-2020
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