DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #59 | Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, COVID-19 Update

DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #59
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
4:00 p.m.

Dare County COVID-19 Case Update

The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 810, of which there are 66 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 810 cases, 485 are residents and 325 are non-residents. Currently, four residents and one non-resident are hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications.

Since the last Dare County DHHS Update issued Friday, November 6, 2020, there have been 41 new positive cases, 21 of which were reported today. Of the 41 new cases since November 6th, 33 are residents and 8 are non-residents. The Dare County website has already been updated to reflect all of these cases.

Of the 33 resident cases since Friday, November 6th:

  • 3 of the cases are connected. 2 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic and all acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 11/9

  • 9 of the cases are not connected. 7 are symptomatic and 2 are asymptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

  • 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 connected. Both are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test result was reported on 11/8

  • 4 of the cases are connected. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual whose positive test was reported on 11/6

  • 13 cases are not connected. 12 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported on 11/1, 11/3, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7,  11/8, and 11/9.

  Of the 8 non-resident cases since Friday, November 6th:

  • 4 of the cases are not connected. 3 are symptomatic and 1 asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 4 of the cases are not connected. All are symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

Contact tracing has been completed on 37 of the new 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 – 14 days. We are working with the other 4 individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts.

Data Analysis

The number of new COVID-19 cases has been trending in the wrong direction for the past several weeks. This past week there were 77 new positive COVID-19 cases in Dare County, the highest number of new cases since we started testing in March. In looking a the rise in cases there are several key points to highlight:

  • The increase in cases is not the result of an increase in testing. While there was an increase late last week in the number of individuals seeking testing as compared to the previous weeks, a large number of those individuals were in quarantine and were sent for testing as part of the direct contact tracing protocol. The percent of positive tests to total tests performed last week was the highest we have seen in Dare County thus far during the pandemic at 8.8%.

  • 80% of positive cases are symptomatic.

  • Because more and more people are gathering with others outside of their household the number of direct contacts associated with recent positive cases has been very high. Currently, there are approximately 400 individuals in quarantine in Dare County because of direct exposure to a positive case. This includes nearly 175 students or staff members associated with schools.

  • 73% of recent cases acquired the virus by direct contact. 17% of recent cases do not know how they acquired the virus which indicates community spread.

  • We have seen recent spread in cases linked to Halloween parties, sleepovers, weddings, coworkers, and gatherings of friends.

Protecting Yourself and Others

Many have heard the phrases, “we can’t let our guard down”, or “people are letting their guard down”. Please know that you shouldn’t  base your decision to wear a mask or not on how well you like or trust your friends or the people you are gathering with. There are people who try to do all the right things and still unfortunately get the virus. Often, you cannot tell by looking at someone that they have the virus and they can spread it to others days before they even realize they have it. Wearing a mask is really about protecting others. Since the virus can be spread before you know you have it, wearing a mask helps contain your respiratory droplets which in turn minimizes the risk those droplets will infect others. However, for masks to help, they must be worn properly, over the mouth and nose.

In addition to wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance, at least 6 feet from people who do not share a household with you, is another key measure to help keep you and others safe from the virus. And of course, please wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. We understand the fatigue and frustration that COVID brings, but we also recognize that if we don’t stay vigilant, practice the 3Ws and keep our guard up, the number of cases and sick individuals is going to get much worse in the months ahead.

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 873 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 17,115.  There were 77 positive cases between November 2 and November 8. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased this week to 4.6%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone increased to 8.8%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the urgent care centers showed that the number of individuals presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms was consistent with the activity over the past several weeks. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.

Testing

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. Testing is widely available in Dare County. Please visit www.darenc.com/covidtesting for details on testing locations.

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.