Dare County sees uptick in COVID-19 cases, four of them in children

Dare County has seen 14 new COVID-19 cases in the last two days, four of those cases in children 18 and younger.

Health officials say the lower numbers of coronavirus seen over the last two months compared to midsummer has been encouraging, but the latest numbers serve as a reminder that COVID-19 remains in the community.

“While more and more people are beginning to re-engage in activities with others, we can expect to see cases increase,” Dare County Health and Human Services said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, the total COVID-19 positive case count in the county is 547, with 15 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of those, 295 are residents and 252 are non-residents. Currently, one resident remains hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications. Three people have died.

Since last Friday, there have been 18 new cases, nine of them residents and nine non-residents.

Of the nine resident cases since Friday, Sept. 25:

  • 4 of the cases are close contacts, 3 symptomatic and 1 asymptomatic, who acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 9/25.

  • 2 of the cases are not connected. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County 

  • 2 of the cases are not connected. One is symptomatic and one is asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

  • 1 case was reported to us yesterday from the state reporting system. This was a late report from when the individual tested positive outside Dare County. The individual has since fully recovered. 

 Of the 9 non-resident cases since Friday:

  • 3 of the cases are family members. All are asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 2 of the cases are not connected. 1 is symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. Both individuals acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 4 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

Contact tracing has been completed on 15 of the 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. The 14-day quarantine requirement is very important to slowing the spread of the virus as the incubation period for this virus is two to 14 days. Health officials are working with the other three individuals to identify their direct contacts.

The recent uptick in cases is a reminder that it is critical for everyone to be responsible and follow the 3Ws to help reduce the spread COVID-19, health officials said. The 3Ws are really the most effective tools to help protect yourself, your family and our community. Please,

  • 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.

State Updates

North Carolina DHHS has recently shared some important information regarding COVID-19. This information includes:

  • COVID-19 exposure tracking app. This is a new app which individuals may download to their smartphone. This app can alert you if you have been in close contact to a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19. More information on this app is available at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc

  • Extra Credit Grant program. On September 4, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0. This program provides funds to help families with qualifying children in North Carolina by providing economic support to assist with virtual schooling and child-care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant amount is $335.00 total for each eligible individual, even if the individual has two or more qualifying children. If you filed your 2019 taxes you do not need to do anything to receive the funds, however if you have not filed 2019 taxes you need to go to the NC DOR website to submit an application to receive the funds. For more information visit NCDOR‘s Extra Credit webpage

  • Halloween guidance. The state’s guidance, modeled after the CDC’s recommendations, outlines lower and moderate risk activities for Halloween this year. This guidance can be found at darenc.com/covid19 by clicking on the Halloween banner.

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 631 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 13,010.  There were 20 positive cases between September 21 and September 27. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March remained stable this week at 4.10%. The percent positive to total tests for the past week alone decreased to 3.17%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department showed an increase early last week in the numbers of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms. The local urgent care centers also saw a slight increase in the number of patients presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms over this past week. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19 

Testing

Dare County strongly encourages anyone who is experiencing symptoms to be tested as well as anyone who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you have questions about testing or locations please visit www.darenc.com/covidtesting or call the COVID-19 call center, open Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 5 pm at 252-475-5008.