Appalachian State COVID-19 cases more than double in last month


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Appalachian State University’s latest COVID-19 data shows cases are on a steady rise. On September 5, the university’s dashboard shows 288 cases, jump ahead one month and the cases are now at 805.

Chloe Dorin is a master’s student at App State. She’s worried about the recent jump in positive COVID-19 cases on campus. She concerned on the impact it could have on those who live in Boone and neighboring communities.

“We need to be thinking not just about ourselves and the university as a whole but about the community at large,” she said.

Appalachian State University’s percent positive for this past week is 8.4-percent. For the previous week, that number was at 9-percent. Both figures were higher than the state’s overall percent positive. They are also the highest the university has seen since the start of their semester.

When CBS 17 asked specifically about the increase, the university referred to a statement the chancellor issued last week saying, “We need better compliance with wearing face coverings off campus, adhering to quarantine and isolation instructions, and answering contact tracing calls from public health.”

The university said they have spoken with local public health, local law enforcement and local businesses about off-campus parties and gatherings.

Below is a comparison of cases, tests, percent positive and enrollments between ASU and Triangle-area universities.

Appalachian State
Total cases805
Total tests9,503
Percent positive8.4% (week ending 10/4)
Duke University
Total cases95
Total tests72,470
Percent positive0.137% (week ending 10/2)
UNC Chapel Hill
Total Cases1,221
Total tests4,697
Percent positive6% (week ending 9/27)
NC State
Total Cases1,134
Total tests13,065
Percent positive4.4% (as of 10/1)

Amid these differences in the numbers- it’s unclear what specifically ASU will do bring cases back down.

In a letter to the university, Dorin is asking them to end all athletics programs, close down the dorms and Greek life and move all classes online for the remainder of the school year.

“I have no intention on ending my advocacy as long as it’s necessary,” said Dorin.

Read her entire letter to the university below:

In the same statement the university referred CBS 17 to from last week, they state, “We can offer flexible course delivery options to those who need it and, should we need to, we are ready to pivot to all-remote learning.”

It”s difficult to know if Dorin’s recommendations would have an impact.

Differences in campus protocols

ASU made some of the following recommendations to students:

  • Wear face coverings even outside and in small groups
  • Keep group gatherings small. Limitations on gatherings remain at 25 people indoors and 50 outside.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, follow quarantine and isolation instructions.
  • Assist with contact tracing. If you receive a call or text from public health, respond quickly.
  • Take advantage of regular COVID-19 testing events
  • Kindly but firmly, we must hold one another accountable

Duke’s strategy to keeping the lowest percent positive cases of these schools has allowed athletics programs to continue. However their protocols involved campus-wide is mandatory testing of asymptomatic students. That is not something the CDC is recommending for colleges or universities at this point. Duke had only allowed freshman and sophomores to live in the dorms this fall to reduce capacities. Juniors and seniors have been moved to online learning.

NC State started the semester on campus with lecture halls socially distanced and with students living in the dorms. The rise in cases shortly after the start of the school year, resulted in the university’s decision to move undergraduate courses online and students out of residence halls. NC State said they would allow 4,000 students and season ticket holders to attend their home football game against Duke on Oct. 17 at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Following an increase of 135 COVID-19 cases on campus in a week, in-person undergraduate classes at UNC-CH moved online. Graduate, professional and health affairs courses continued to be taught as they were, or as directed by the schools.

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