With the two year anniversary approaching of the first case of COVID-19 being recorded on the Outer Banks, the latest numbers show the coronavirus is continuing to decline in Dare County.
Since March 25, 2020 when the first laboratory case was reported by the Dare County Department of Health in Human Services, one out of every five of the county’s nearly 38,000 residents has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Tuesday’s weekly update from the health department, the total number of new laboratory confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Dare County for the past week was 32.
Currently, based on the reported positive cases, there are 16 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County. There are 5 residents hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19. Of the 5 hospitalized resident cases, 2 are between the ages 50-64 and three 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.
CDC COVID-19 Community Levels
Last week, the CDC announced changes to their metrics and definitions of county level COVID-19 classifications of community transmission.
With current high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people. At the same time, there are some people and communities, such as elderly individuals, people who are immunocompromised, and people with disabilities, who are at higher risk for serious illness and face challenging decisions navigating a world with COVID-19.
The CDC is now using the combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days — to determine the COVID-19 community level. New COVID-19 admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied represent the current potential for strain on the health system. Data on new cases acts as an early warning indicator of potential increases in health system strain in the event of a COVID-19 surge.
Using these data, the COVID-19 community level is classified as low, medium, or high.
Dare County is now classified as a low (or green) COVID-19 community transmission level.
More information on the CDCs COVID-19 levels is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html.
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 28,067 (76%) Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 26,871 (73%) individuals have been vaccinated with a two dose mRNA series or one dose or J&J, a total of 14,014 (38%) 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.
The CDC has recommended that those with immune deficiencies get three shots as part of their initial series, followed by a fourth shot as a booster. People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a total of 4 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The 4 doses are made up of a primary series of 3 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, plus 1 booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (4th dose). 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
Each week we review the key metrics associated with disease investigation and surveillance. The CDC dropped the percent positivity metric for COVID-19 cases. With the wide scale availability and use of home tests which are not reportable, percent positivity is no longer a valid metric of community transmission levels. Moving forward we will report on 3 key metrics the metrics are:
- Number of Tests
- Confirmed Cases
- COVID Like Illness Surveillance
This past week there were 242 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests reported since early March of last year to 72,632. There were 32 positive cases between February 28 and March 6. 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.
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.