By Dare County Health and Human Services
Dare County’s COVID-19 data continues to trend in the right direction. Specifically, the total number of new positive cases last week was the lowest it has been since the end of October.
Additionally, the percent of positive tests to total tests for this past week decreased from 13.4% to 10.9%. While this is good news, the overall positivity percentage is still high at 8.25%. We continue to stress the importance of practicing the 3Ws: Wear a face covering, wait 6 ft apart and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. These are the tools proven to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Since our last report on 2/9, there have been 65 new COVID-19 cases. Of these 65 new cases:
52 (80%) are symptomatic
53(82%) acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual or individuals who were positive for COVID-19.
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 2,715, of which there are 99 active cases among residents of Dare County. Currently, 9 residents are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.
As shared over the past couple of weeks, Dare County’s first dose vaccine allocation from the state has been dramatically reduced. We continue to only receive 300 first doses from the state each week. We will hear back by this Thursday if our request is approved to host a Mega Vaccine Event in Dare County and provide 3,000 first doses. If our request is approved we will be able to vaccinate all of those 65 and over who are on the current wait list.
We continue to ask for everyone’s patience with the vaccine roll out. Our ability to vaccinate everyone who wishes to be vaccinated is completely dependent on our vaccine allocation from the state. Over the past 6 weeks we have administered 7,497 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Dare County and 2,344 second doses.
The limited vaccine allotment is only related to first doses. We have not been informed that there are any issues with second dose allotments.
Once we are able to offer vaccinations to everyone on our 65 and over waitlist we will open registration to Phase 3, essential personnel. Information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Dare County can be found at www.darenc.com/covidvaccine. General information on the COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the state’s website www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.
We have been informed by the state that the Walgreens locations in Dare County are participating in the federal COVID-19 vaccination program and have started receiving a limited number of doses weekly. The vaccines provided to Walgreens are not part of the state’s allocations. Please go to www.walgreens.com for more information on their COVID-19 vaccine program.
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 598 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 32,786. There were 65 positive cases between February 8 and February 14. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased to 8.28%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week decreased to 10.9%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms to the emergency department and urgent care centers, showed activity consistent with the past couple of weeks.These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
New Online Retailer for FNS Beneficiaries
North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients can now purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards through Instacart.com or the Instacart mobile app, providing access to an additional authorized online EBT retailer, Food Lion. Instacart’s latest EBT FNS expansion to partner with Food Lion serves as North Carolina’s fifth EBT retailer. This flexibility will allow FNS recipients to buy food while promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will help families with transportation barriers.
Food and Nutrition Services recipients will be able to access their benefits for online grocery delivery and pickup while shopping through Instacart on the Food Lion storefront. Once items are added to their cart through Instacart.com or the Instacart mobile app, (FNS) recipients will be able to select how much of their FNS benefits they would like to allocate to the order. Beginning today through March 16, 2021, Instacart will waive FNS recipient’s delivery and/or pickup fees on up to the first three EBT SNAP orders for each customer with a valid EBT card associated with their Instacart account.
Communications and Information Sharing
Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. Every Tuesday, a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued. Additional updates will be released as needed. 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.