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Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has been working with multiple state and local agencies (CDC, NCDHHS, Emergency Management, AppHealthCare, Toe River Health Department, Watauga County and Avery County) to implement safe policies to protect the community, should a case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus appear in the High Country.


Please help us protect our patients

We ask that you avoid unnecessary visits to ARHS hospitals and clinics to limit the person-to-person spread of the virus, and to protect our most vulnerable community members. If you are experiencing general symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call (828) 264-4995 – Choose option 0 (zero) to speak to a healthcare professional.

However, if you are experiencing emergency warning signs of COVID-19 (difficulty breathing, persistent pain/pressure in chest, new confusion/disorientation or bluish lips or face) call 911 immediately.


COVID-19 Information Line: 828-264-4995 (Option Zero)

If patients and providers have questions about COVID-19 including options for treatment and management of symptoms, they can contact the Health Department at 828-264-4995 and choose 0 (zero) for a healthcare professional.


Visitor Restrictions Implemented

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

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In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ARHS is limiting visitors at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

COVID-19 Visitation Restrictions:

  • ONE visitor allowed per patient
  • NO visitors who are sick
  • Visitors must be 13 or older
  • NO vendors are allowed
  • The cafeteria is closed to guests and visitors during the Visitation Restrictions.


Employee Travel Restrictions

ARHS is implementing safety precautions to include travel restrictions for ARHS employees, volunteers and contract laborers. Since NC has already confirmed several cases, ARHS wants to do our part to slow the spread of the virus and limit the number of patients and employees who become infected.


Incident Management Preparedness

A multidisciplinary team of ARHS leaders have established an Incident Management Team as a response to the evolving COVID-19. A Command Center has been established and will operate around the clock when one diagnosed case requires inpatient care at Watauga Medical Center or Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Personal protective equipment and supplies (masks, gowns, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc) are being monitored to ensure they meet the current needs as well as future demands.