County officials: Act as if everyone you come in contact with has COVID-19

North Carolina COVID-19 map April 6, 2020

In North Carolina, there are currently 2,870 cases of COVID-19 in 89 counties. There have been  33 fatalities in NC associated with COVID-19. Currently, the state is reporting 261 hospitalizations across the state from COVID-19 illness. 

On Sunday, the Dare County Division of Public Health announced the sixth positive test result for COVID-19 in Dare County. It is possible that this individual may have acquired the virus from an asymptomatic individual, indicating community spread. The Division of Public Health will continue to report on any positive test results as soon as possible. 

There are community members asking for more information on travel patterns of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. By law, patient confidentiality must be protected. In a small community such as Dare County, this means only limited information can be shared. Public health staff contacts individuals or facilities that may have had direct contact (6 feet or less for 10 minutes or greater) with an individual who tests positive as part of each contact tracing investigation. 

According to Dr. Sheila Davies, Director of the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services, “The details that some are seeking about individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 is neither helpful nor productive. What we all must do to protect ourselves doesn’t change because of a positive test result. To protect yourself, your family and our community, everyone must stay at home other than for essential needs. Now that community spread is likely, it is important to act as if everyone you come in contact with may be COVID-19 positive and has the ability to spread the virus. Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is going to be the result of what each of us does, and where each of us goes.”

It is also important to point out that even though Dare County is seeing indications of community spread of COVID-19, state testing guidance from NC DHHS has not changed. Medical providers in Dare County are testing patients who meet testing criteria: fever of 100.4 or greater, cough and difficulty breathing. Individuals should call ahead to their provider or urgent care before going to the medical facility.

Patients who are asymptomatic are not advised to be tested. Patients who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate. The reason it is not advised to test those who do not have symptoms is because of the risk of exposure when going to be tested. For those who are mildly or moderately symptomatic, testing is not advised because of the risk of exposure to others and because there are no medications to cure COVID-19.