By Dare County Health and Human Services
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 502, of which there are 11 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 502 cases, 267 are residents and 235 are non-residents. There are currently 2 individuals, one resident and one non-resident, who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications.
Since the last Dare County DHHS Update issued Friday, September 11, 2020, there have been 20 new positive cases. Of these 20 cases, 8 are residents and 12 are non-residents. The Dare County website has already been updated to reflect all of these cases.
Of the 8 resident cases since Friday, September 11th:
2 of the cases are family members, both symptomatic. They acquired the virus from another family member whose positive test was reported on 9/11
2 of the cases are close contacts, both symptomatic. They acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive tests were reported on 9/5
3 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic. One individual acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County and then spread the virus to the other 2 individuals.
1 individual is symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County
Of the 12 non-resident cases since Friday, September 11th:
1 individual is symptomatic and acquired the virus from a family member whose positive test was reported on 9/10
6 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.
4 of the cases are not connected. 2 are symptomatic and 2 are asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.
1 individual is asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.
Contact tracing has been completed on 17 of the cases and direct contacts provided by these individuals have been identified, notified, and directed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure with the positive case. The 14 day quarantine requirement is very important to slowing the spread of the virus as the incubation period for this virus is 2 – 14 days. We are working with the other 3 individuals to identify their direct contacts.
We continue to see the predominant way COVID-19 is spreading in our community is through direct contact. A very powerful public health tool to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases is quarantining. We use quarantining to separate individuals who have been exposed to a person who has a laboratory confirmed positive test for COVID-19. The quarantine period is for 14 days from the date of last exposure to the positive individual. It is critical that if you are notified by the health department that you are a direct contact to a confirmed positive case that you stay in quarantine for the entire 14 day period, even if you have a negative test. Just this week we had several new positive cases where individuals acquired the virus because they had contact with an individual who was in quarantine. The individual in quarantine tested negative on day 3 from their exposure but became symptomatic by day 10 and then tested positive.
While violating quarantine orders can result in a misdemeanor charge and carry a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment, we cannot monitor quarantined individuals 24 hours a day. Individuals must do the right thing by being responsible and showing concern for others.
Over the past six weeks we have seen lower numbers of new COVID-19 cases as compared to the number of cases in July and early August. While this is encouraging, we recognize this situation can change quickly. Just since Friday we have seen an increase in 20 cases. Please remain vigilant, be responsible, and follow the 3Ws to help reduce the spread COVID-19.
Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
Each week we review the 4 key metrics associated with disease investigation and surveillance. The metrics are:
Number of Tests
Positive Tests as a Percent of Total Tests
COVID Like Illness Surveillance
This past week there were 543 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County by local healthcare providers. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 11,856. There were 26 positive cases between September 7 and September 13. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March remained stable this week at 4.18%. The percent positive to total tests for the past week alone decreased slightly to 4.79%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department showed relatively low numbers of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms. The local urgent care centers saw a slight increase in the number of patients presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms over this past week. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19
We strongly encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms to be tested as well as anyone who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. We know asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus. If you are sick and do not have a prior exposure, testing will allow you to either rule out or confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19. This information is valuable in helping reduce the spread of the virus to others, if you indeed have a positive test result. If you have questions about testing or locations please feel free to call the COVID-19 call center, open Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 5 pm at 252-475-5008.
Communications and Information Sharing
Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. On Tuesdays, we release a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued. On Fridays a written update is issued. All released videos and written updates can be found on our website, DHHS facebook page, Dare County Twitter page, and Dare Emergency Management Twitter page. If you would like to receive these updates directly to your email, please sign up to receive our enotifications.
New positive cases are updated on the dashboard on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page when we receive them. To find the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 cases in Dare County visit www.darenc.com/covid19. State COVID-19 data is available at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.