N.C. death toll from COVID-19 reaches 20,000; Dare had 978 new cases over past week

The death toll from COVID-19 in North Carolina reached 20,000 on Tuesday, and a third of every test was coming back positive. And there was another huge jump in both new cases and percent of positive tests in Dare County over the last seven days.

4,630 patients currently hospitalized statewide have the coronavirus, according to the latest data from North Carolina health officials.

And a federal website where Americans can order four free COVID-19 tests that will be delivered to your home has launched a day early at covidtests.gov.

State and regional epidemiological reports indicate that the Omicron variant accounts for approximately 96% of the sequenced samples from our state and our region.

The total number of new positive cases reported in Dare County for the past week was 978. Due to the excessive number of positive cases, contact tracing is no longer possible on all resident cases in Dare County, the Dare County Department of Health and Human Service in the weekly update published Tuesday.

All positive resident cases receive a phone call and text message from Dare County Department of Health & Human Services’ Public Health Division providing isolation and quarantine guidance and asking individuals to please notify their direct contacts of the exposure.

Contact tracing and support phone calls are being provided to the elderly, those with children, and facilities where there are outbreaks or clusters (i.e. churches, child care centers, businesses, etc.).

In light of this, a number of data metrics are no longer able to be accurately reported (i.e. symptomatic/asymptomatic, vaccination status, direct contact).

Currently, based on the reported positive cases, there are 391 active COVID-19 cases among residents of Dare County. There are 11 residents hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19. A resident case is considered active if they are in their 5 day isolation period or report being symptomatic beyond 5 days.

The reported positive cases only include laboratory confirmed cases reported by medical providers, urgent care centers, the hospital, or the state, which includes tests performed at area pharmacies. Self-reported, over the counter, home tests are not counted in the reported count totals, however contact tracing is conducted for the positive self reported cases.

Dare County remains in the red category on the CDC’s Level of Community Transmission map, which indicates a high level of community transmission of the virus. All 100 counties in NC are in the red category.  While Dare County remains an area of widespread community transmission, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, ages 5 and over should wear a mask when indoors in public settings. All individuals should consider wearing a mask when outside if gathering in large crowds. Individuals ages 5 and over should get vaccinated for COVID-19 to help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death.

Drive-Thru Testing Available Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 2:30 pm

Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group and Mako Medical are partnering to provide a Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing site available for anyone in need of COVID-19 testing. Drive-thru testing will be available Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm at the Dare County Family Recreation Park located at 602 Mustian Street in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Patients will not be charged for the test. Insurance information will be collected for those with insurance.

For fastest service at the Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing site, pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Individuals may pre-register on-line at https://bit.ly/nc-kdh-18931. Results will be available through the Mako Medical on-line portal within 48 hours from the test date.

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 27,488 (74%) Dare County residents have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 26,218 (71%) individuals have been vaccinated with a two dose mRNA series or one dose or J&J, a total of 12,892 (34%) 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 all 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.

Dare County Department of Health & Human Services offers Moderna booster vaccines. Below you will find a breakdown of where Dare County residents can receive first, second and booster doses.

First, Second or Booster Dose of Moderna
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).

First Dose or Booster Dose of J&J
Call your area pharmacy.

First, Second or Booster Dose of Pfizer
Call your area pharmacy.

For more information or questions about COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, please visit www.darenc.com.COVID/vaccine

Flu Vaccine and COVID-19

Individuals ages 6 months and older are encouraged to get vaccinated for influenza. You may contact our department, your pharmacy, or area healthcare provider to get your vaccine. Our department is currently offering flu vaccines at no cost to you. Please make an appointment by calling 252.475.5003, selecting option #2, and leaving a voicemail if your call is not answered. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the spread of influenza and can lower the risk of severe illness resulting in hospitalizations and deaths. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit. While it is unknown what the vaccine effectiveness of this year’s influenza vaccine will be, the A(H3N2) component was recently updated and is genetically similar to A(H3N2) viruses currently circulating.

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 2,057 COVID-19 diagnostic tests reported in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests reported since early March of last year to 68,712.  There were 978 positive cases between January 10 and January 16. The percentage of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in March 2020 has been increasing over the past twenty-one weeks. This past week was 13.55%. The percentage of positive tests to total tests for the past week increased from the previous week to 47.54%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms to the emergency department and urgent care have increased. 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.

New positive cases this week will be updated on the dashboard and on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page Monday- Friday. 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.