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How can the community help?

How can the community help?

The COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges daily for ARHS and for our patients. We are fortunate to have so many in our High Country community ask us how they can help in the response to these unprecedented times. Here, we’ve listed several ways you can help. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from community members, local businesses, and organizations so far.

If you would like to donate supplies, please fill out the form below or contact Brian Whitfield at bwhitfield@apprhs.org or 828-262-9105.

Make and donate homemade cloth face masks

Photo: Staff-with-Donated-Masks On Friday, April 4th, the CDC made an announcement regarding the use of simple cloth face masks and recommends individuals wear homemade cloth face masks in addition to adhering to the 6-foot social distance requirements and frequent hand washing to slow the spread of the virus.

ARHS employees working in non-clinical areas are encouraged to wear homemade cloth face masks, and ARHS will continue to accept homemade cloth mask donations

Donors can drop these items off at the front entrance of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville or the security checkpoint at Watauga Medical Center.

For more information about donating masks please contact Brian Whitfield at bwhitfield@apprhs.org or (828) 262-9105.

Donate to the ARHS COVID-19 Response Fund

You can donate to support the ongoing efforts of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System to respond to COVID-19, or to directly support patients in need.

Click here to donate online >

You may also mail a check to the address below, or contact Brian Whitfield, Director of Development, at (828) 262-9105 or bwhitfield@apprhs.org.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation
PO Box 2600
Boone, NC 28607

Donate to COVID-19 Patient Emergency Fund

You can donate to support the ongoing efforts of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System to respond to COVID-19, or to directly support patients in need.

Click here to donate online >

You may also mail a check to the address below, or contact Brian Whitfield, Director of Development, at (828) 262-9105 or bwhitfield@apprhs.org.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation
PO Box 2600
Boone, NC 28607

March 24 updates: Visitors prohibited, patient accounts & medical records offices closed

March 24 updates: Visitors prohibited, patient accounts & medical records offices closed

ARHS closes Business Office: account inquiries occur via phone and web

 

In order to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will close its business office to visitors on Wednesday, March 25.

Customers can continue to call the business office at (828) 262-4111 to estimate costs of a procedure, discuss existing accounts, apply for financial assistance or make a payment over the phone.

Customers may also make payments online at https://apprhs.org/services/bill-pay/ or drop-off payments in the mailbox, outside the business office door.

Payments can also be mailed to:

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System
c/o Patient Accounts
155 Furman Road, Suite 101
Boone, NC 28607

 


In order to help protect our patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, effective Tuesday March 24, 2020 at 7:00pm, visitors will not be allowed at Watauga Medical Center or Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis in the following situations:

  • Hospitalized minors
  • Patients at the end of life
  • Patients needing help with communication or decision making
  • Patients giving birth

The health and safety of our patients, their families, and team members remains a top priority for our organization.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time. Rest assured that our patients (your family, friends and neighbors) are receiving exceptional care from our outstanding physicians, nurses and staff.

 


To protect the health of our patients and staff during the COVID-19 public health emergency, in-person pick up of medical records is temporarily suspended.

Patients may utilize the options below to access their medical records.

  1. FollowMyHealth patient portal
  2. Fax my Medical Records
  3. Mail my Medical Records

Click for more information on each of these options >

 


ARHS will begin temperature screening for employees

On Wednesday March 25, ARHS will begin requiring ALL employees and contractors at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital to undergo temperature screening prior to beginning work. This temperature screening will occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The temperature screening process will involve quickly having your temperature taken. If your temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or less, you will be cleared to work for the day.

If you temperature is greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, employees will not be allowed to work and instead be given written instructions about how to proceed, including:

  • Going home for the day
  • Contacting their manager
  • Contacting RelyMD for a screening
  • After screening, contact Occupational Health

Click for more information and temperature screening locations >

March 19 Updates: What has ARHS done to respond to COVID-19

March 19 Updates: What has ARHS done to respond to COVID-19

How ARHS is responding to COVID-19

 

During the past week, ARHS has made significant strides toward dealing with COVID-19. We have:

  • Launched a community-wide telehealth COVID-19 screening program through a partnership with RelyMD
  • Established a hospital incident command center
  • Enacted visitor restrictions at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital
  • Created two alternative COVID-19 testing sites
  • Designated a COVID-19 unit within Watauga Medical Center to extend our ICU capability
  • Closed non-essential areas
  • Postponed all elective surgeries/procedures at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital
  • Created a recreation program for our employees’ children
  • Deployed daily communication updates for employees and the community

All areas of our organization have and will continue to adapt to fulfill our mission to make life better for our community.

“These are truly extraordinary circumstances,” said Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “ARHS is blessed to have staff and medical providers dedicated to taking care of our community during this time of constant change.”

 


Visitor Restrictions

 

Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital:

Patients must designate ONE visitor during their hospital stay. Designated visitors may check in and receive a visitor badge. Visiting hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

  • One designated visitor per patient
  • No visitors who are sick
  • Must be 13 or older
  • No vendors are allowed
  • Waiting rooms and cafeterias are closed to the public

Medical Offices and Outpatient Clinics:

  • Only those who are essential to your care may come with you to appointments.

NEW: Designated visitors to Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital will now have their temperature checked before entering

 


How to contact patients during visitor restrictions

 

We have set up a patient mailbox at the entrance of Watauga Medical Center (WMC) and Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital (CMH) so that you or your children may drop off a note of encouragement that will be hand delivered. The box will be checked and notes will be delivered three times per day. There will be paper, envelopes, and pens available. Just remember to include the patient’s name and room number on the front of the envelope.

Of course you can still stay in touch by phone. At WMC, you can contact the room directly by calling (828) 262-4+the room number. At CMH, just call (828) 737-74+the last two digits of the room number.

You may also send a note by using the U.S. Postal Service. The mailing address for WMC is 336 Deerfield Rd., Boone, NC 28607 and the CMH address in 434 Hospital Dr., Linville, NC 28646. And please remember to include the patient’s name and room number on the envelope.

March 18 Update: Temperature checks for visitors, testing locations, second Watauga County positive

March 18 Update: Temperature checks for visitors, testing locations, second Watauga County positive

Visitor Restrictions

UPDATE: Visitors are no longer allowed in hospitals to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Click for more information >

Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital:

Patients must designate ONE visitor during their hospital stay. Designated visitors may check in and receive a visitor badge. Visiting hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

  • One designated visitor per patient
  • No visitors who are sick
  • Must be 13 or older
  • No vendors are allowed
  • Waiting rooms and cafeterias are closed to the public

Medical Offices and Outpatient Clinics:

  • Only those who are essential to your care may come with you to appointments.

 

 


ARHS COVID-19 Testing Locations are up and running

 

ARHS successfully launched COVID-19 alternative testing sites in Watauga and Avery counties. We are accepting patients referred for testing at both sites. Testing is by referral only. For more information about what to do if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, follow the instructions below:

1. Connect with RelyMD online at relymd.com/covidarhs on your computer or mobile device. $49 with coupon code: BEWELLARHS

2. If the RelyMD physician determines that you meet the criteria for testing, he/she will help you make your appointment at a testing location.

3. If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for 14 days. The testing facility will provide education for you and your family.

Click for more information >

 


Second Watauga County resident tests positive for COVID-19

 

A second Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This case was exposed to a known positive case. They have been in quarantine and are recovering. The local public health staff have identified the close contacts, who are in quarantine.

“We have been preparing to see more positive cases of COVID-19 in our community and our staff and other agencies have been working to protect the public’s health. We want to encourage the public to practice social distancing and take prevention measures like frequent handwashing, staying home when you’re sick, and keeping distance from others who are sick. Keeping our community healthy is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.

Click for more information >

 

March 16 Update: Details on Visitor Restrictions at Hospitals and Outpatient Clinics

March 16 Update: Details on Visitor Restrictions at Hospitals and Outpatient Clinics

UPDATE: Visitors are no longer allowed in hospitals to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Click for more information >

Watauga Medical Center Entrance   Watauga Medical Center Entrance

ARHS is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to implement visitor restrictions at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Visitors and patients may only enter the hospitals at the main entrance. Patients must designate ONE visitor during their hospital stay. Designated visitors may check in and receive a visitor badge. Visiting hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.


Visitor Restriction Policy:

Hospitals: 

  • One designated visitor per patient
  • No visitors who are sick
  • Must be 13 or older
  • No vendors are allowed
  • Waiting rooms and cafeterias are closed to the public

 

Medical Office and Outpatient Clinics:

ARHS has also implemented visitor restrictions in all medical offices and outpatient clinics. We ask that only individuals who are essential to the patient’s care accompany them on office visits.

Thank you for helping us keep our patients and staff safe during this time.


 

What to do if you are sick?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, CALL (828) 264-4995 – Choose option 0 to speak to a healthcare professional.

Call 911 if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, disorientation, or bluish lips or face.

 

March 15 Update: Watauga County Resident Tests Presumptive Positive for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

March 15 Update: Watauga County Resident Tests Presumptive Positive for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

The following information was released by the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHeathCare).

March 15, 2020

Boone, NC – A Watauga County resident has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This is the first presumptive positive case in Watauga County.

The resident is in isolation at home and did have travel history.

“We have been preparing should we see a positive case of COVID-19 in our community. Now that we have a positive case, we will continue to work diligently to protect the public’s health. It is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.

AppHealthCare is working closely with local partners and agencies to ensure the public’s health is protected and precautions are being taken to protect all residents of Watauga County.

“We are confident in public health’s ability to lead this effort and appreciate their partnership with Watauga County and other local agencies to protect our community’s health,” stated Deron Geouque, Watauga County Manager.

We understand that people are going to have questions and we encourage the public to call us or their local provider if they are ill and believe they may need care.

We want to remind the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like handwashing, covering your cough and sneeze, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

 

How to Protect Yourself

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Keeping distance from others who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles

“We want to continue to encourage the community to not use the hospital emergency room unless it is a true emergency. We need to preserve our local hospital capacity to respond throughout this event to meet the various healthcare needs that require urgent action in our community,” said Greene.

Please be aware that you may hear about people who have been instructed by their healthcare provider to self-isolate since they have been tested for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This does not mean that they have tested positive, it means that they are being guided to stay home until a test result is provided. This is a standard procedure for managing public health outbreaks.

 

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you develop a fever, symptoms of respiratory illness or think you may have COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your symptoms so they can be prepared.

Calls can be made to AppHealthCare or can be directed to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. To find more information, go to www.AppHealthCare.com or www.apprhs.org.

 

Those at higher risk for severe illness include:

  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes
  • Weakened immune systems

On March 12 and 14th, Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued new recommendations for all people in North Carolina to prevent and reduce the spread of infection. The recommendations are effective for the next 30 days and then will be re-assessed (link to recommendations here).

AppHealthCare is available and on-call 24/7 to respond to public health emergencies. To reach us, call (828) 264-4995 anytime and follow the prompts. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and will work to keep the public informed. Please visit our website for more information – www.AppHealthCare.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

As a reminder, general questions from community members and agencies inquiring about COVID-19 can call our office number (828) 264-4995 and dial x2222. Healthcare providers and ill persons can call our office number and dial zero.

Questions from agencies requesting support on COVID-19 response, planning efforts, etc. can contact preparedness@apphealth.com. Media inquiries can be directed to media@apphealth.com.

We will maintain a positive case count on our website at www.AppHealthCare.com.

 

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.

A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”