Watauga County

Healthcare System Requests Voluntary Visitation Restrictions

December 29, 2014 – Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends.

Taking temperatureAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S. with all 50 states reporting sporadic to widespread illness. North Carolina is reporting widespread illness.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.

“Patients are very vulnerable while in the hospital, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities,” stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients safe.”

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu: Protect yourself, your family and your community

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov or www.cdc.gov/flu.


Salthouse to become CEO of High Country Community Health

Longtime community service advocate will lead effort to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services…

Alice Salthouse, the Director of Community Outreach for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has resigned her post in order to accept a position of Chief Executive Officer with High Country Community Health, Inc.

Alice Salthouse
Alice Salthouse

High Country Community Health, a nonprofit organization that formed in 2010, recently received a $608,333 grant to establish a new federally qualified health center that receives funding under the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Center Program.

In her new role as CEO, Salthouse will operate centers that will provide comprehensive primary healthcare services, as well as supportive services (education, translation and transportation) that promote access to health care. The services provided by the clinic will be available to all, with fees adjusted based on ability-to-pay.

On Salthouse’s new appointment, Chuck Mantooth, President of Watauga Medical Center commented, “Alice has dedicated her life toward serving others in our community. While I am saddened to see her go, she is a perfect fit for this new position. She will most certainly make a meaningful difference in the lives of people in Avery and Watauga Counties.”

Formation of the new centers has been a collaborative effort involving the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, district health departments, and other local individuals – in order to provide healthcare to patients without insurance.

Salthouse is a native of Morganton, NC and has served in various healthcare leadership roles since 1990. She was CEO of Blowing Rock Hospital before the ARHS merger in 2007. Salthouse holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University and a master’s in healthcare administration from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Salthouse’s responsibilities with ARHS included organizing and obtaining a variety of grant funding for programs such as the Migrant Farmworker Program, Watauga County Healthy Carolinians and Appalachian Healthcare Project. All of these projects offer services to low-income, uninsured residents of Watauga and Avery counties.

Gillian Baker, Vice President of Corporate Communications of ARHS, will add oversight of the community outreach department to her current role with the healthcare system.

To learn more about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit www.apprhs.org.

Emergency Exercise August 27th

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) will be participating in an Emergency Exercise on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  This is ONLY a practice exercise and will involve the following local agencies… Blue Ridge Parkway Rangers, Blowing Rock Police Department, Watauga County Emergency Management, ARHS Police, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Watauga County Rescue Squad and Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue.

Residents and visitors in the high country may see emergency vehicles entering the property (via Summit Meadow, between Hwy 321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway), but otherwise the exercise should not interfere with the normal Saturday morning activities in the area.

Gillian Baker, Vice President for Corporate Communications for ARHS shared, “Practicing our hospitals responses during a disaster is a requirement from the Joint Commission, but also a necessary part of what ARHS does to ensure that our staff are always ready for the unthinkable.”

This Emergency Exercise will provide exercise participants the opportunity to evaluate current emergency response concepts, medical surge response operations and law enforcement response to a location.  The exercise will also emphasize emergency response coordination, resource integration, problem identification and resolution between agencies.

Click here to read the Watauga Democrat article by Kellen Moore, “Training to grapple with manhunt, meth, mayhem”.