Dare County sees 70 new COVID-19 cases in six days; direct contact responsible for spread

The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported 70 new positive coronavirus cases between July and July 12, bringing the percent of positives among all testing to 7.2 percent for the past week.

As of Tuesday morning, the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Dare County is 215, 58 of which are considered active. Of the 215 cases, 124 are residents and 91 are non-residents. 

The majority of cases continue to experience mild to moderate symptoms, however there are cases which have experienced severe illness. Currently, one resident remains hospitalized in critical condition, the health department said in a news release. 

Since Friday, July 10, there have been 35 new positive cases. Of these 35 cases, 23 are residents and 12 are non-residents.

Of the 23 resident cases:

  • 1 of the cases is symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive tests were reported on 7/11.
  • 3 of the cases are siblings, all symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with a family member whose positive test results was reported on 7/7
  • 1 of the cases is symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with a family member whose positive result was reported on 7/3
  • 6 of the cases, 4 asymptomatic and 2 symptomatic, are close contacts who acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test was reported on 7/11
  • 2 of the cases are co-workers, both symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive result was reported last week outside of Dare County
  • 1 case is symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive result was reported last week outside of Dare County – this case is not related to the one above
  • 2 of the cases are asymptomatic family members. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus, which indicates community spread.
  • 7 of the cases are not connected, 3 symptomatic and 4 asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus, which indicates community spread.

Of the 12 nonresident cases:

  • 2 of the cases are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with a resident whose positive result was reported on 7/7
  • 2 of the cases are household contacts, both symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive results were reported on 7/3
  • 2  cases are family members, both symptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact 
  • 6 of the cases are not connected, 4 symptomatic and 2 asymptomatic. Three acquired the virus by direct contact with positive individuals outside of Dare County and the other 3 most likely acquired the virus by community spread outside of Dare County.

Contract tracing has been completed on 33 cases and direct contacts provided by these individuals have been identified, notified, and directed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure with the positive case. Unfortunately, we are still working with 2 of the individuals in attempts to get them to cooperate with contact tracing.

Reducing the Spread

The county continues to see growing cases of COVID-19 in Dare County. The majority of cases are occurring because of direct contact.

“We are seeing friends spreading the virus to friends, and then it spreading further to family members and close co-workers. It is important to maintain physical distancing from others, at least 6 ft, and limiting direct contact with others outside your household,” the health department said.

The 3Ws are proven tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Since we do not have medications or vaccines it is critically important that we all follow the 3Ws: wear, wait and wash.

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people. 
  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer

In addition to following the 3Ws, all individuals are reminded not to go out if you are sick or if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness. Do not go to work, do not go to the grocery store or visit with friends. If you are feeling sick contact your healthcare provider, but otherwise call on friends or family members to drop off needed supplies.

“Some of our recent positive cases occurred when individuals who had very mild symptoms had direct contact with friends. Unfortunately, they exposed their friends to the virus before they realized their symptoms were actually related to their COVID-19 infection,” the release said.

Testing

On July 9, 2020 Dare County DHHS partnered with Mako Medical Laboratories to host an Antibody & Diagnostic testing event for COVID19. The following is a summary of the results:

  • 222 diagnostic tests conducted – 7 positive, 0 inconclusive, 0 invalid, 215 negative
  • 127 antibody tests conducted – 2 positive, 125 negative

Today we are partnering with Mako Medical Laboratories to host a community testing event starting at 1:00 pm at Dare County Parks & Recreation located at 602 Mustian St, Kill Devil Hills, NC.

Results from this clinic are expected to be available beginning Friday, July 24.

Key Metrics

Dare County DHHS monitors and evaluates 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 970 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County (748 performed by local healthcare providers and 222 performed at the community testing clinic on July 9th). This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 4,547.  We had 70 positive cases between July 6 and July 12. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased again this week to 4.53%. The percent positive to total test for the past week alone was 7.2%. The syndromic surveillance of individuals who presented to the emergency department did not show patients presenting with COVID like symptoms, however, the local urgent care centers saw a high number of patients presenting with COVID like symptoms.  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. On Tuesdays, a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued, on Thursdays a Spanish Video Update is issued, and on Fridays a written update is issued. All released videos and written updates can be found on our website, DHHS facebook pageDare 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.

New positive cases are updated on the dashboard on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page when we receive them. 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

 

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About Kari Pugh 660 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 [email protected]