Spread of Coronavirus

Across the United States, as of Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 22, we have reached two somber milestones. The number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is now more than 7 million at 7,065,934. And sadly, the number who have died has topped 200,000 and now stands at 205,064.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 195,549. Currently, 905 people are hospitalized. To date, 3,286North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. NCDHHS estimates that as of Monday 176,422 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 256. The number of Watauga County residents who have tested positive is 854. Of these cases, 131 are currently active. Thirty-five 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 271 residents in Ashe and Watauga are currently being monitored as possibly having Covid-19.
Two Ashe County residents have died from coronavirus. Five Watauga County residents have died, all at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation. They were all in their 70s and 80s and had underlying medical issues. 
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 80 students. All are in isolation, according to the university. A cumulative count of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 is 394 students, 26 employees, 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 on the AppHealthCare website.
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.
Cooper: Large Outdoor Venues Might Open at 7% Capacity

Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference today to update the public on the state’s Covid-19 response and progress. Key takeaways are:
If statistical data stays positive, outdoor stadiums and other venues with a capacity for 10,000 or more may get the go ahead on Oct. 2 to reopen at 7 percent capacity.$40 million in mortgage, rent, and utility assistance could be available to small businesses to cover losses for the months of April-July. The funds are part of the CARES Act from the federal government.He will activate 125 members of the state National Guard to continue assistance to 10 food banks across North Carolina.The SlowCOVIDNC app is now available for free to help North Carolinians track whether they have unknowingly been exposed to someone with the virus.
Read more: https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/fans-can-soon-return-to-football-games-outdoor-concerts-in-nc/19299253/

Census Response Critical to Federal Funding for Our Communities

School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect our community every day.
The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.
When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics.
The US Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.
You can respond to the US Census in three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. Connect with the US Census website: https://2020census.gov/en.html. The deadline is Sept. 30.

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