Dare County sees third highest week of new positive COVID-19 cases

Dare County is continuing to experience widespread community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Dare County is in the red category on the CDC’s Level of Community Transmission map. Red indicates a high level of community transmission of the virus. The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests to total COVID-19 tests in Dare County last week was 19.4%.

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 226, which marks the 3rd highest week of new positive cases since the pandemic began. During the same week last summer, there were a total of 18 new positive cases reported in Dare County and a 1.6% positivity rate. Of the 226 new cases last week:

  • 203 (90%) are symptomatic

  • 176 (78%) acquired the virus by direct contact with someone who was positive for COVID-19.

  • 70 were breakthrough cases (11 had J&J vaccine; 28 had Moderna, 31 had Pfizer).

Currently, there are 146 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County. There are12 individuals hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 (7 residents and 5 non-residents).

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.

Delta Variant

According to the CDC and NC DHHS,  the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2. Preliminary data indicates:

  • The Delta variant is more contagious

  • The Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

  • Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern

  • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period

Currently, a random sample of positive COVID-10 specimens are being sequenced by the Vidant Medical laboratory and the state laboratory to assess for variants. County specific data is not available, however Dare County’s specimens are included in the regional data released by Vidant Medical. In the COVID-19 weekly released today by Vidant Medical, the Delta variant was present in 95 of the 95 (100%) specimens sequenced.

Breakthrough Cases

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 1,089 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Dare County with 207 of those cases being identified as breakthrough cases. Of the 207 breakthrough cases:

  • 124 residents and 83 non-residents

  • 114 reported mild symptoms and 8 reported moderate symptoms

  • 1 is hospitalized

  • 42 had the J&J vaccine

  • 80 had the Moderna vaccine

  • 83 had the Pfizer vaccine

  • 2 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.

Following endorsement from the FDA and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) the CDC and NC DHHS has now endorsed the use of an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to people with moderate to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine series. Dare County DHHS is now accepting registrations for an additional COVID-19 Vaccine dose for individuals with  moderate and severe immune compromise. Register online at www.darenc.com/Register4Vaccine. You will receive a call between 8/17 and 8/19 for an appointment the week of 8/23. For more information please see DCDHHS COVID-Update #108.

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About Kari Pugh 1074 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