The number of new COVID-19 cases has been relatively stable over the past 2 weeks, however Dare County continues to experience widespread community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and remains in the red category on the CDC’s Level of Community Transmission map. Red indicates a high level of community transmission of the virus. We are hopeful with continued practice of mitigation measures, including getting vaccinated, masking, physical distancing and good hand hygiene, we will continue to see new case numbers decrease.
While Dare County remains an area of widespread community transmission, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, ages 5 and over should wear a mask when indoors in public settings. All individuals should consider wearing a mask when outside if gathering in large crowds. Individuals ages 12 and over should get vaccinated for COVID-19 to help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
The total number of new positive cases reported in Dare County for the past week was 119. Of the 119 new cases last week:
104 (87%) are symptomatic
99 (83%) acquired the virus by direct contact with someone who was positive for COVID-19.
91 (76%) were not vaccinated. Of the 28 vaccinated cases: 6 had J&J vaccine; 11 had Moderna, 11 had Pfizer).
Currently, there are 70 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County. There are 13 residents hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.
The reported positive cases only include laboratory confirmed cases reported by medical providers, urgent care centers, the hospital, or the state, which includes tests performed at area pharmacies. Self-reported, over the counter, home tests are not counted in the reported count totals, however contact tracing is conducted for the positive self reported cases. If an individual tests positive more than once (i.e. retests and still positive) it is only counted as one case.
When an individual tests positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that is considered a breakthrough case. Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19. According to the CDC, there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick.
Since the week of April 12th when the first breakthrough case was reported, there have been 2,707 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Dare County. 2,176 (80%) of those cases were not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Of the 531 breakthrough cases:
299 residents and 232 non-residents
201 were asymptomatic; 253 reported mild symptoms and 37 reported moderate symptoms
2 were hospitalized
108 had the J&J vaccine
216 had the Moderna vaccine
204 had the Pfizer vaccine
3 had Astrazeneca
The whole numbers provided above are for informational purposes and not an indication of effectiveness of one vaccine compared to the others. Of note, the Moderna vaccine has been the predominant vaccine administered by Dare DHHS. The breakdown of the COVID 19 vaccines administered by Dare DHHS are: 5% J&J, 24% Pfizer and 71% Moderna.
COVID Vaccinations in Dare
All individuals 12 years of age and over are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccinations are readily 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.
Individuals ages 12 and over should get vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Since late December 2020, a total of 26,104 (71%) of eligible Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 24,788 (67%) are fully vaccinated.
Moderna and J&J Booster Dose information
At this time the booster doses are only available for those who received their initial two doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. More information regarding booster doses for those who received Moderna or J&J is expected to be available later in October. The FDA has scheduled a meeting for October 26, 2021 to review booster dose data submitted by Moderna.
Pfizer Booster Dose Information
On September 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made their recommendation regarding Pfizer booster doses and authorized booster administration for certain populations. You can get a booster if it has been at least 6 months since your second Pfizer shot, and one of the following is true:
You are 65 or older.
You are 18 and older and:
You live or work in a nursing home or other long-term care residential facility.
You have a medical condition that puts you at high risk for severe illness; for example obesity, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
You work in a high-risk profession, meaning you come into contact with a lot of people, and you don’t know their vaccination status; for example, health care workers, first responders, teachers, food processing workers, retail and restaurant workers, and public transportation workers.
You live or work in a place where many people live together; for example, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, migrant farm housing, dormitories or other group living settings in colleges or universities.
Individuals who received Pfizer for their first and second dose and who are interested and eligible (based on criteria above) in receiving a booster dose may call an area pharmacy to schedule an appointment or you may register online at www.DareNC.com/Register4Vaccine receive their Pfizer booster through Dare County Department of Health & Human Services at a Pfizer vaccine clinic scheduled for Saturday, October 30, 2021.
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 717 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March of last year to 54,879. There were 119 positive cases between October 4 and October 10. The percentage of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in March 2020 increased slightly to 10.44%. The percentage of positive tests to total tests for the past week increased from the previous week to 16.97%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms to the emergency department and urgent care centers showed a small decrease in activity from the previous week. These graphs can be found on the Dare County website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
Communications and Information Sharing
Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. Every Tuesday, a written update which includes 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 and on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page Monday- Friday. 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.