Twelve new cases of COVID-19 in Dare County; regional death toll now 90

Health officials reported twelve new positive tests for COVID-19 in Dare County since Friday, while the death toll from the coronavirus across northeastern North Carolina has now reached 90.

The total COVID-19 positive case count since mid-March in Dare County is 477 as of Tuesday, including ten active cases among residents, according to an update posted Tuesday by the county’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the 477 positive tests since the pandemic began, 256 were in residents of Dare County and 221 non-residents.

Albemarle Regional Health Services also announced Tuesday six additional deaths in their service area, five in Hertford County and one in Bertie.

Pasquotank County has the most deaths in the area with 27, while Currituck remains the only local county that has had yet to record a death from the coronavirus. Two residents of Dare County have died.

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Of the 9 Dare County resident cases since Friday, September 4:

  • 4 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic. Three are college students. All 4 acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County
  • 3 of the cases are family members and are all symptomatic. They acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.
  • 2 of the cases are not connected. Both are symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus which indicates community spread.

Of the 3 non-resident cases since Friday, September 4:

  • 1 individual is symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County.
  • 1 individual is asymptomatic. It is unclear how this individual acquired the virus.
  • 1 individual is symptomatic. It is unclear how this individual acquired the virus.

Contact tracing has been completed on all 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 2 to 14 days.

Given the current population in Dare County and the level of activity and interactions, we are seeing relatively low numbers of new cases. This is encouraging and shows the effectiveness of taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please remain vigilant by following the 3-Ws to help reduce the spread COVID-19.

  • 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

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 444 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County by local healthcare providers. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 11,313.

Over the past 2 weeks we have seen a drop in the number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed. This drop in testing also corresponds to a reduction in the number of individuals presenting to the emergency department and urgent care centers with COVID-19 related symptoms. There were 22 positive cases between August 31 and September 6.

The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased slightly this week to 4.16%. The percent positive to total tests for the past week alone also increased to 4.96%.

As previously mentioned, syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the local urgent care centers showed a decrease last week in the number of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.

Testing
The testing guidelines in North Carolina have not changed despite some recent language changes in the CDC testing guidance for COVID-19. Anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID-19 can get a test. There are 5 locations in Dare County which provide testing. These locations can be found on our website at darenc.com/covid19, under the testing frequently asked questions. We strongly encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms to be tested as well as anyone who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. We know asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus. If you are sick and do not have a prior exposure, testing will allow you to either rule out or confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19. This information is valuable in helping reduce the spread of the virus to others, if you indeed have a positive test result. If you have questions about testing or locations please feel free to call the COVID-19 call center, open Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 5 pm at 252-475-5008.

Communications and Information Sharing
Dare County DHHS has an established schedule of communication to share information regarding COVID-19. On Tuesdays, we release a written update and a video update which includes an overview of the previous week’s COVID-19 key metrics is issued. On Fridays a written update is issued. 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.

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.

Contact Us
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.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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