At least five restaurants on Hatteras Island are currently closed after a rash of positive COVID-19 tests among employees who attended a recent private gathering.
The Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar and the Frisco Sandwich Company were first to announce they were temporarily closing last week after learning some employees had been in direct contact with someone who tested positive.
Over the weekend, after 16 new positive coronavirus cases reported in Dare County, several other restaurants announced they were closing either due to employees testing positive, or as a precaution while awaiting test results.
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Dare County health officials say the recent spike in cases is mainly due to a large group of local residents attending a social gathering, and not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. As of Tuesday morning, the county’s case count was 97.
Since Friday, there have been 20 new positive cases. Of these 20 cases, 18 are residents and 2 are non-residents.
Of the 18 resident cases:
- 12 of the cases are connected. The 12 individuals are close acquaintances or family members and acquired the virus through direct contact. 4 are symptomatic and 8 are asymptomatic.
- 3 of the cases are family members, all symptomatic, who acquired the virus from another family member whose positive result was reported on 6/24.
- 1 is asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive result was reported on 6/24.
- 2 other cases are not connected. One is asymptomatic and one is symptomatic and both most likely acquired the virus by community spread.
Of the 2 nonresident cases:
- The cases are not connected
- One is asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact outside of Dare County
- One is symptomatic and most likely acquired the virus through community spread outside of Dare County
Contract tracing has been completed and direct contacts provided by these 18 resident individuals have been identified, notified, and directed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure with the positive case. Calls are made to check on compliance with the quarantine directive and legal action can be taken for individuals violating quarantine and isolation orders. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Isolation and quarantine are public health tools to help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
Dare County DHHS monitors and evaluates 4 key metrics associates 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 had the highest number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed by healthcare providers in Dare County at 578 tests. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 2,569. We had 44 positive cases between June 22 and June 28,” health officials said in a statement. “The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased slightly this week to 3.62%. The percent positive to total test for the past week alone was 7.6%. The syndromic surveillance of individuals who presented to the emergency department with COVID-19 like symptoms increased this week. We are also seeing an increase in the number of sick individuals presenting to the area urgent care centers. These graphs can be found on the Dare County website at www.darenc.com/covid19.”
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“The spread of COVID-19 is not a local versus visitor issue. The spread we are seeing currently is local to local spread because people are not following the guidelines,” said Sheila Davis, director of the Dare Department of Health and Human Services.
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