Recent coronavirus cases in Dare County acquired by contact with asymptomatic patient

The first drive-thru testing site was at First Flight High School on May 26, 2020. [Kari Pugh photo]

Dare County Health and Human Services is reminding the public of the need to wear masks and continue social distancing after an increase in cases over the weekend.

As of Tuesday, the number of positive COVID-10 tests in Dare County is 32. Since Friday, the county has experienced seven additional positive cases. Of those, three are residents and four are non-residents. Six of these cases acquired the virus by direct contact with a family member or household contact.

One case is deemed community acquired and it is believed the individual contracted the virus before coming to Dare County. Of the three residents who recently tested positive, all are recovering in home isolation. Of the four non-residents who recently tested positive, three are asymptomatic and in home isolation (one in Dare and two returned to their permanent residence) and one is hospitalized out of the area.

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There are several takeaways which are important to stress from review of the recent positive cases, Dare health officials say:

  • Some of the recent cases acquired the virus by direct contact with an asymptomatic positive case. This reinforces the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
  • The spread of the virus occurred quickly among family members and members within the same household.
  • There is an increase in the number of direct contacts associated with the recent positive cases. More and more people are interacting with others since restrictions have been relaxed. From family gatherings, to social parties and backyard barbecues, the number of direct contacts individuals have is on the rise. While this is to be expected please note this increases your risk of exposure.

All of these takeaways reinforce how important it is to follow the 3Ws – wear, wait and wash.

  • 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

Dare County COVID-19 Key Metrics Data

Each week four key metrics are evaluated as part of Dare County DHHS’s disease investigation and surveillance. The metrics are:

  • Number of Tests
  • Confirmed Cases
  • Positive Tests as a Percent of Total Tests
  • COVID Like Illness Surveillance

This week had the highest number of tests performed at 374 tests (205 at the drive thru event and 169 at area healthcare facilities) and also had the largest number of positive cases with 9 cases between June 1 and June 6. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March remains low at 2.29%. However, if you look at last week in isolation and remove the drive thru testing numbers the percent of positive tests to total tests for the given week was 5.3%. The syndromic surveillance of individuals who presented to the emergency department with COVID-19 like symptoms last week remained low. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19

Testing

NC DHHS released expanded testing guidance today and recommends that clinicians conduct or arrange for diagnostic COVID-19 testing for:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms.
  • Populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected, if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing.

Please contact your healthcare provider or local urgent care center if you believe you need diagnostic testing.

Dare County DHHS is continuing to work on plans for the next community testing clinic for diagnostic and antibody testing. Since antibody testing requires a blood draw (not a finger stick) this event will need to be held indoors. More details will be shared as soon as they are available.

Communications and Information Sharing

Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. On Tuesdays, a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued, on Thursdays a Spanish Video Update is issued, and 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.

We encourage you to stay informed by visiting www.darenc.com/covid19 or by visiting the CDC or NC DHHS websites. If you have specific needs or questions you may also call the Dare County COVID-19 call center open Monday-Friday from 8:30 to 5:00 at 252-475-5008.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.