The total number of new laboratory confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Dare County for the past week was 81. Currently, based on the reported positive cases, there are 49 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County. There are 9 residents hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19. A resident case is considered active if they are in their 5 day isolation period or report being symptomatic beyond 5 days.
Both the number of reported positive cases and the number reported tests have been steadily decreasing over the past few weeks. These numbers do not include home tests as those tests are not reportable. Dare County remains an area of high community transmission of COVID-19.
As we emerge from the latest COVID-19 surge, the landscape looks different today than it did two years ago or even two months ago. More is known about the virus and there are now several effective tools that reduce risk for people. Vaccines and boosters are widely available and have protected millions of people against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Treatment is available for those at higher risk of severe disease and access to treatment has expanded so more people can benefit. Additionally, trends nationally, statewide and locally are decreasing, lowering the risk of infection, and improving hospital capacity.
Therefore, as we have seen throughout the pandemic, the CDC and NCDHHS is adapting the response and guidelines based on the data and for the current stage of the pandemic. NC DHHS announced on 2/17/22 they were encouraging schools and local governments to end mask mandates. High risk settings like long-term care, correctional facilities, and health care settings should continue to require masks and follow all CDC guidelines.
Regardless of the setting, you should wear a mask if you are at high risk of disease, if you have a COVID infection or a known exposure, or if you are not up to date on your vaccines. Because well-fitting masks like a KN95 or N95 provide an added layer of protection, people may still choose to wear them.
The most effective tools are vaccines and boosters. Everyone five and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine and everyone 12 and older should get a booster as soon as they are eligible.
If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, get tested and stay away from others if you are sick or test positive. Get treatment early if you are at high risk for severe illness.
COVID Vaccinations in Dare
All individuals 5 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 5 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 27,951 (76%) Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 26,721 (72%) individuals have been vaccinated with a two dose mRNA series or one dose or J&J, a total of 13,768 (37%) have received booster doses.
COVID-19 Booster Dose Information
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended booster vaccine shots for individuals ages 12 and older to help strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19. If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get your booster dose five months after your second shot. If you received the J&J vaccine you can get your booster two months after your shot.
If you received a third additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna, that was originally authorized for immunocompromised individuals in August of 2021, it is now authorized for you to receive a booster dose. This does NOT apply to individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson primary vaccine. With the decreased booster waiting period of 5 months, certain immunocompromised people may now qualify for their booster shot. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have questions about getting a booster dose.
Dare County Department of Health & Human Services offers Moderna and Pfizer booster vaccines. You may call your area pharmacy or call our Clinical Services team at 252.475.5003 (select option #2, leave a message if you reach voicemail) to register for a vaccine appointment,
For more information or questions about COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, please visit www.darenc.com/COVIDvaccine
Each week we review the 4 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 312 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests reported since early March of last year to 72,098. There were 81 positive cases between February 14 and February 20. The percentage of reported positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in March 2020 increased slightly this week to 15.01%. The percentage of reported positive tests to total tests for the past week decreased from the previous week to 25.96%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms to the emergency department and urgent care have decreased. 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.
Weekly positive cases will be updated on the dashboard and on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page each Monday. 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.