Dare County’s COVID-19 positivity rate jumps to 7%

Fledra Hatch receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Giner Niu at the Durham County Department of Public Health on January 8, 2021. [photo courtesy NCDHHS]

COVID-19 cases are on the rise on the Outer Banks once again.

Dare County Health and Human Services is reporting 27 new cases over the past week, with 89 percent of cases symptomatic and 94 percent acquiring the virus by direct contact with unvaccinated individuals who were positive for COVID-19.

There were no breakthrough cases this past week.

Currently, there are 17 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County, two residents remaining hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19. There have been a total of 11 breakthrough COVID-19 cases reported in Dare County.

Health officials say Dare County went from a 2% positivity rate for the week of June 21 to a 7% positivity rate for the past week.

“At the state level the Delta variant has been rapidly replacing the other variants as the predominant variant. Positive COVID test samples are being sequenced to assess for variants, however this sequencing takes approximately 3 weeks so we have not received Dare County specific data from the state,” the health department said in its weekly update. “However, based on the prevalence of the Delta variant in the state it is reasonable to expect the Delta variant is present in Dare County.”

During the week of June 7, a little over 10% of the sequenced COVID-19 viruses from NC were identified as the Delta variant. For the week of June 24, that percentage rose to 40%. The Delta variant is 66% more transmissible and early indication is that it causes more illness and potentially more hospitalizations. The currently available COVID-19 vaccinations are proving to be effective against the Delta variant, the health department said.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19. In North Carolina, 99.2% of newly diagnosed cases are in unvaccinated individuals. All individuals 12 years of age and over are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccination,” the update said. COVID-19 vaccinations are available at numerous locations throughout the county including the health department and many area pharmacies like: Walgreens, CVS, Sunshine Family Pharmacy, Island Pharmacy, Bear Drugs, and Beach Pharmacy.

Since late December 2020, a total of 23,001 (62%) of eligible Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 22,017 (59%) are fully vaccinated.

Metrics
This past week there were 370 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March of last year to 41,426. There were 27 positive cases between June 28 and July 4. The percentage of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in March 2020 remained the same at 8.00%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week increased to 7.00%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms to the emergency department and urgent care centers continues to show low levels of activity. 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.