ASHE COUNTY — As Ashe takes a shift back into significant impact, active cases rise to 29 as of April 19. Forty-eight individuals are being actively monitored and 2175 have tested positive thus far.

Vaccines are continuously being distributed by AppHealthCare, however the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused until further notice.

“On April 13, the CDC and FDA recommended pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they review data involving six reported cases of a rare type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said AppHealthCare in their weekly situation update. “We will pause administering Johnson & Johnson while we await additional guidance from CDC and NC DHHS. We take this very seriously and will be watching carefully for additional guidance as CDC reviews the data. We do have Moderna vaccine available if you are interested in receiving this vaccine.”

Currently, 31.5 percent of Ashe’s population has had at least one dose, while 24.8 percent is fully vaccinated.

In surrounding counties, Watauga currently has 31 active cases with 83 individuals being closely monitored. In Alleghany, there are 19 active cases and only 14 are being monitored. Throughout the course of the pandemic, Watauga has totaled 4594 positive cases while Alleghany has totaled 997.

Ashe County has moved from light yellow to yellow, meaning moderate impact has now become significant, according to the NCDHHS County Alert System.

NCDHHS reported that North Carolina currently has seen 949,336 total cases as of 11:45 a.m. on April 19. The state has completed 11,968,084 COVID-19 tests. 1,096 individuals are currently hospitalized in relation to the virus.

Global cases have reached 141,819,360, according to John Hopkins University & Medicine. As of 10 p.m. on April 19, deaths have totaled 3,027,353, over 567,000 of those in the U.S. alone.

AppHealthCare continues to encourage those who are interested to sign up for a vaccine appointment.

Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is available for ages 16 and up and all other vaccines are approved for ages 18 and older. Vaccine appointments can be made at apphealthcare.com. Appointments will be made available based on vaccine supply.

AppHealthCare continues case investigation and contact tracing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you receive a call from a member of the case investigation or contact tracing team, they urge you to cooperate and provide information that will help them conduct response efforts. You may receive a call from (844) 628-7223 or (828) 264-4995. It may also show up as “NC Outreach” or “Contact Tracing.” Your cell phone carrier may flag the call as spam. It is so important to answer the call of a contact tracer. It is a key tool in slowing the spread of this virus.

Turnaround time for testing remains between two and four days.

Free COVID-19 testing is offered at AppHealthCare by appointment. They offer testing on Monday and Thursday each week unless otherwise noted. Schedule an appointment through the AppHealthCare website or by calling their COVID-19 Call Center at (828) 795-1970.

Testing is also offered by appointment at Mountain Family Care Center (336) 846-6322 (located on the campus of Ashe Memorial Hospital), CVS Pharmacy in West Jefferson, Ashe Pediatrics and other local healthcare providers may offer testing as well.

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