By the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 680, of which there are 32 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 680 cases, 387 are residents and 293 are non-residents. Currently, three residents remain hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications.
Since the last Dare County DHHS Update issued Friday, October 23, 2020, there have been 13 new positive cases. Of these 13 cases, 8 are residents and 5 are non-residents. The Dare County website has already been updated to reflect all of these cases.
Of the 8 resident cases since Friday, October 23rd:
4 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.
4 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 10/20/
Of the 5 non-resident cases since Friday, October 23rd:
1 individual is symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 10/22
1 individual is symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.
3 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.
Contact tracing has been completed on11 of the new 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 2 individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts.
Reducing the Spread and Halloween
The number of new COVID-19 cases has been trending in the wrong direction for the past few weeks. While we are seeing cases continue to grow from direct contact, we are also seeing a rise in cases from community spread. While not connected, 3 of the new cases reported over the past couple of weeks shared they had recently attended a wedding, 4 cases had recent air travel, and 6 had participated in social gatherings. While these individuals did not have a known direct contact they believe they most likely acquired the virus by either traveling or attending one of the gatherings. We know interacting with others outside of your household increases your risk of exposure. That is why it is so critically important that if you are going to engage in activities with people outside of your immediate household that you strictly follow the 3Ws.
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.
Halloween is this coming Saturday and this is typically a fun filled evening for many families. A couple of weeks ago we shared guidance from NC DHHS on safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween this year. Many traditional Halloween activities, including trick or treating going door to door, can be high risk for spreading viruses. This year, we encourage you to consider safer, alternative ways to participate. For example, offer one-way trick or treating in your driveway or at the edge of your yard where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go. The key is to maintain at least 6 feet from non-household members. You can consider marking spaces with glow sticks 6 feet apart for trick or treaters to wait their turn before approaching the treat table. A great idea that was shared with us from a family in Avon is using a candy shoot. This creative couple built a candy shoot from the top of their deck to the base of their steps so they can safely give children candy while maintaining their physical distance.
If you are participating in Halloween activities or other social gatherings please wear a face covering, keep at least 6 feet of physical distancing from others and frequently wash your hands. What we do now will shape what the weeks ahead will look like with respect to the spread of COVID-10. We need our community to stay healthy so we can keep children in school and families working.
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 747 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 15,706. There were 39 positive cases between October 19 and October 25. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased slightly this week at 4.27%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone decreased slightly from last week to 5.22%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the urgent care centers showed moderate numbers of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms, consistent with the activity from the past several weeks. 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. Testing is widely available in Dare County. Please visit www.darenc.com/covidtesting for details on testing locations .
In addition to the testing locations provided on our website, we are partnering with Mako Medical Laboratories to host another testing on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at the Nags Head Event site located at 6800 S. Croatan Hwy in Nags Head. This testing event will offer drive through diagnostic testing for ages 5 and older. The diagnostic test indicates whether an individual has a current COVID-19 infection.
If you have questions about testing or locations please visit www.darenc.com/covidtesting. To schedule an appointment for the November 5th testing event, please 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.