For the first time since the pandemic began, Dare County health officials have released the total number of coronavirus tests performed locally since March. As of April 26, 357 had been tested for the virus, with 15 positives.
Dare County Health and Human Services Director Sheila Davies said the number equals .96 percent of the population and is in line with state testing in relation to population, which is about 1.04 percent.
Mass testing of patients and staff at the 126-bed Peak Resources nursing home and rehabilitation center in Nags Head in early April accounts for a large portion of Dare County’s test numbers.
In late March, OBXToday filed a North Carolina Freedom of Information Act request for the number of coronavirus tests performed in Dare County, a number Davies had declined to release due to patient privacy concerns.
OBXToday argued that the release of the test numbers was in the public interest and would “contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of how Dare County is responding to this pandemic.”
Davies responded in writing saying “We do not have any documents responsive to your request.”
In deciding to release the number of Dare tests results, Davies said in a Wednesday video update that she felt privacy concerns had been mitigated and releasing the number of tests was “the right thing to do” to give the public more information and help ease stress and fear.
The number of tests will be released weekly on Tuesdays.