Dare County resident in 70s dies of COVID-19 complications

As Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday promised free COVID-19 vaccines once they’re rolled out, Dare County reported a total of 1,067 cases since testing began in March, with another death yesterday, this time a county resident in their 70s.

There are currently 77 active cases among residents, the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services said. Nine residents and two non-residents are hospitalized and five residents have now died.

Since Friday, there have been 32 new positive cases. Of those, 25 are residents and seven non-residents.

Of the 25 resident cases since Friday:

  • 5 of the cases are family members. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with another family member whose positive test result was reported on 11/28.
  • 2 of the cases are family members. Both are symptomatic. It is unclear how the first family member acquired the virus before passing it to the other family member.
  • 10 cases are not connected. 8 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported between 11/25 and 11/30.
  • 8 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

Of the seven non-resident cases since Friday:

  • 6 of the cases are not connected. 5 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.
  • 1 individual is symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

Contact tracing has been completed on 28 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 health department said it is working with the other four individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday detailed a distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccines, the first from Pfizer, which will go to health care workers and other high-risk individuals first, he said. Though at first vaccine availability will be limited, Cooper promised that all North Carolina residents will receive the vaccine for free, regardless of whether they have health insurance.

Meanwhile. Dare County remains in the orange category according to the NC COVID Alert System. Orange indicates substantial community spread based on case counts, percent of tests that are positive and hospital impact. The percent of positive tests to total tests in Dare County has continued to increase over the past couple of weeks, as has the overall number of positive cases. This past week alone the percent positive was 7.17%. Even more concerning is that 33.5% of all Dare County Covid-19 positive cases occurred just in the month of November, the health department said.

A close review of the positive cases in Dare County over the past few weeks indicates the following, according to the health department:

  • The primary way people are acquiring the virus is by close contact with an infected individual. 75% of the new cases in November acquired the virus by direct contact. These cases have been linked to dinner parties, church and youth group gatherings, weddings, funerals, birthday parties, work parties, lunch dates and sleepovers.
  • The majority (91%) of individuals infected with COVID-19 are symptomatic.
  • The majority (75%) of new cases are residents. The spread of the virus is not indicating tracking from non-resident to resident or vice versa. The virus is predominantly spreading between people who know each well, from friends to friends and family members to family members.
  • While the majority of individuals experience only mild to moderate symptoms, the number of individuals requiring medical attention related to COVID-19 complications has been increasing. On our dashboard we report hospitalizations. We also remain in close communication with the Outer Banks Hospital regarding individuals presenting to the emergency department with COVID like symptoms as well as individuals who go to the emergency department because of worsening symptoms related to COVID-19. Both of these numbers have been increasing over the past few weeks. The hospital reported that this past week they saw the highest number of COVID related returns and admit/transfers since tracking started.

“Science is showing your greatest risk of acquiring the virus is by gathering indoors with individuals who do not live in your immediate household. If you choose to gather indoors with others outside of your immediate household, North Carolina now requires the gathering to be limited to 10 or fewer people and for all individuals to wear a face covering. These requirements have been established based on the current data of how best to mitigate the spread of the virus,” the health department said.

When gathering outdoors, please wear a face covering if you are not able to remain at least 6 ft from others who do not live in your home. Getting behind the mask, physically distancing from others and frequent hand washing are the best tools to help protect yourself and others.

Key Metrics

Each week the health department reviews the four 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 1,213 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 20,810. There were 87 positive cases between November 23 and November 29. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased to 5.1%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone also increased to 7.17%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the urgent care centers showed an increase in the number of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.

If you have symptoms or have been in correct contact with someone with COVID-19, get tested. Check www.darenc.com/covidtesting for details on testing locations.

About Kari Pugh 1073 Articles
Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com