Dare County released the following COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 17, which details the county’s most recent active cases, testing efforts, and additional community information.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Dare County has continued to trend in the wrong direction for the past several weeks. This past week there were 108 new positive COVID-19 cases, the highest number of new cases since we started testing in March. In looking at the rise in cases there are several key points to highlight:
- The increase in cases is not the result of an increase in testing. The percent of positive tests to total tests performed last week was the highest we have seen in Dare County thus far during the pandemic at 9.44%.
- 78% of the recent new cases are residents
- 85% of positive cases are symptomatic.
- 73% of recent cases acquired the virus by direct contact.
- The recent spread in cases is linked to gatherings of friends, co-workers, and family members at birthday parties, dinner parties, church services, youth group meetings, weddings, and in office break areas.
Dare County COVID-19 Case Update
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 904, of which there are 90 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 904 cases, 563 are residents and 341 are non-residents. Currently, six residents and one non-resident are hospitalized . We are deeply saddened to report that one resident, in their 40s, died this past week due to complications from COVID-19.
Since the last Dare County DHHS Update issued Friday, November 13, 2020, there have been 39 new positive cases. Of the 39 new cases since November 13th, 31 are residents and 8 are non-residents. The Dare County website has already been updated to reflect all of these cases.
Of the 31 resident cases since Friday, November 13th:
- 3 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 11/10
- 6 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.
- 4 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 11/11
- 2 of the cases are family members. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported on 11/11
- 2 of the cases are family members. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported on 11/13
- 1 individual is asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 11/12
- 11 cases are not connected. 8 are symptomatic and 3 are asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported on 11/5, 11/10, 11/11, 11/12, and 11/13.
- 2 of the cases are not connected. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.
Of the 8 non-resident cases since Friday, November 13th:
- 4 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.
- 4 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.
Contact tracing has been completed on 34 of the new cases and direct contacts provided by these individuals have been identified, notified, and directed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure with the positive case. The 14 day quarantine requirement is very important to slowing the spread of the virus as the incubation period for this virus is 2 – 14 days. We are working with the other 5 individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts.
Protecting Yourself and Others
We know how the virus is predominantly spreading in our community, through direct contact in social settings. Please understand, our message about how to protect yourself is not about social isolation. It is, however, about being socially responsible by getting behind the mask and physically distancing yourself, at least 6 ft apart, when you are gathering with others outside of your immediate household. To get the spread of this virus back under control we must do these things, as these are the most effective tools we have to protect ourselves and others. Please get behind a mask, keep a safe distance, at least 6 feet from people who do not share a household with you, and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. The fatigue and frustration that COVID brings is real, but so is the rapid growth in sick individuals with COVID-19. If we don’t stay vigilant, practice the 3Ws and keep our guard up, the number of cases and sick individuals is going to get much worse in the months ahead.
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 1,144 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 18,259. There were 108 positive cases between November 9 and November 15. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased this week to 4.9%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone increased to 9.4%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the urgent care centers showed that the number of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms was consistent with the activity over the past several weeks. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
We strongly encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms to be tested as well as anyone who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. Testing is widely available in Dare County. Please visit www.darenc.com/covidtesting for details on testing locations.
Communications and Information Sharing
Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. On Tuesdays, we release a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued. On Fridays a written update is issued. 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.