Dare County records 35 new COVID-19 cases as health department receives first vaccine doses

Dare County Health and Human Services reported 35 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, for a total of 1,423 since testing began and 70 since last Friday. Of those, 103 cases are active among Dare County residents, with eight hospitalized.

Health officials also received the department’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations. Starting this week and continuing over the next couple of weeks, the agency will be vaccinating fron line healthcare workers whose duties put them at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 or who are vital to the initial COVID-19 vaccine response.

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“We have been working hard to prepare for this and are excited to add this new tool to our COVID-19 defense toolbox,” health officials said in a news release. “In time, everyone who wishes to receive a vaccine will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost.”

Though the vaccine will be a powerful tool over time, Dare County Health Director Sheila Davies said it remains “essential that we all continue to use the other tools of protection as this virus remains highly contagious and debilitating to many. Please follow the 3ws (wear, wait and wash) to protect yourself and others.”

“I have heard concerns that some people don’t think these measures work. The claims are that if these tools were working then we wouldn’t be seeing the rise in cases we are seeing, not only in Dare but across the state and nation,” Davies said. “Many have stated they see great compliance with masks and social distancing when they go to the stores or restaurants, which is wonderful and which may explain why we are not seeing any significant spread linked to those settings.”

“But if you look at the predominant way this virus is spreading, you will find that in settings like homes, work conference rooms and break rooms, dinner parties, and wedding receptions and funerals, we are not seeing good adherence to wearing masks and social distancing.”

Over the past week, the county has seen113 new cases, with 82 of those, or 73%, contracting the virus by direct contact in one of the above mentioned settings.

Since Friday, Dec. 18, Dare County has seen 95 new cases, with 70 of those residents and 25 non-residents. 

Of the 70 resident cases:

  • 9 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who positive test results were reported on 12/15 and 12/18.

  • 3 of the cases are connected. Two are symptomatic and one is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive on 12/15.

  • 2 of the cases are connected. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 5 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 2 are asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 38 cases are not connected. 33 are symptomatic and 5 are asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported between 12/8 – 12/19. 

  • 13 of the cases are not connected. 10 are symptomatic and 3 are asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

  Of the 25 non-resident cases:

  • 17 of the cases are not connected. 14 are symptomatic and 3 are asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 8 of the cases are not connected. 6 are symptomatic and 2 are asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus. 

Contact tracing has been completed on 82 of the new cases and direct contacts provided by these individuals have been identified, notified, and directed to quarantine. Health officials are working with the other 13 individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts. 

Key Metrics

Each week the health department reviews the four key metrics associated with 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 past week there were 1,276 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 24,228.  There were 113 positive cases between December 14 and December 20. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased to 5.69%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone was 8.86%. Syndromic surveillance of  the emergency department and urgent care centers showed an increase in individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms in the early part of the week. These graphs can be found on the Dare County website at www.darenc.com/covid19

 

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