Dare COVID cases continue decline; Masks optional in most state facilities starting March 7

COVID-19 metrics in Dare County and around the state have continued their steady declines, and more mask mandates are being dropped at the statewide level starting next week.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that based on improving trends with the coronavirus, masks will become optional in most state agencies and facilities beginning March 7.

This coincides with updates to guidance from state health officials based on the emerging science and evidence to best protect North Carolinians.

“COVID-19 levels are declining rapidly, and we have vaccinations, boosters, and effective treatments that are making this step possible,”  Cooper said in a news release. “This virus is still causing serious illness and death mostly in unvaccinated people and the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated and boosted.”

Agency heads may require face coverings in settings that they determine to be high-risk including long term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and health care facilities, and federal regulations continue to require masks in certain facilities.

Requirements remain in place that employees who are not vaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week. Beginning March 7, employees may use at-home rapid antigen tests to meet the testing requirements in addition to PCR tests.

Dare County COVID-19 Update for March 1, 2022:

The total number of new laboratory confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Dare County for the past week was 51. Currently, based on the reported positive cases, there are 36 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County.

There are 7 residents hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19. Of the 7 hospitalized resident cases, 2 are between the ages 25-49, one between the ages 50-64 and four are over age 65. None are vaccinated.

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 is now in classified as a medium (or yellow) level of community transmission of COVID-19.

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 27,965 (76%) Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 26,739 (72%) individuals have been vaccinated with a two dose mRNA series or one dose or J&J, a total of 13,739 (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

Key Metrics

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 292 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests reported since early March of last year to 72,390.  There were 51 positive cases between February 21 and February 27. The percentage of reported positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in March 2020 remained stable this week to 15.02%. The percentage of reported positive tests to total tests for the past week decreased from the previous week to 17.47%. 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.

Contact Us

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.