DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #65 | Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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

DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #65
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
3:00 p.m.

Dare County COVID-19 Case Update

The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 1,067, of which there are 77 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 1,067 cases, 680 are residents and 387 are non-residents. Currently, nine residents and 2 non-residents are hospitalized. We are saddened to report that one resident, in their 70s, died yesterday due to complications from COVID-19.

Since the last Dare County DHHS Update issued Friday, November 27, 2020, there have been 32 new positive cases. Of the 32 new cases since November 27th, 25 are residents and 7 are non-residents.

Of the 25 resident cases since Friday, November 27th:

  • 5 of the cases are family members. All are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with another family member whose positive test result was reported on 11/28.

  • 2 of the cases are family members. Both are symptomatic. It is unclear how the first family member acquired the virus before passing it to the other family member.

  • 10 cases are not connected. 8 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals whose positive test results were reported between 11/25 and 11/30.

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

  Of the 7 non-resident cases since Friday, November 27th:

  • 6 of the cases are not connected. 5 are symptomatic and 1 is asymptomatic. All acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

  • 1 individual is symptomatic. It is unclear how these individuals acquired the virus.

Contact tracing has been completed on 28 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. We are working with the other 4 individuals to identify and notify their direct contacts.

Controlling the Spread

Dare County remains in the orange category according to the NC COVID Alert System. Orange indicates substantial community spread based on case counts, percent of tests that are positive and hospital impact. The percent of positive tests to total tests in Dare County has continued to increase over the past couple of weeks, as has the overall number of positive cases. This past week alone the percent positive was 7.17%. Even more concerning is that 33.5% of all Dare County Covid-19 positive cases occurred just in the month of November.

A close review of the positive cases in Dare County over the past few weeks indicates the following:

  • The primary way people are acquiring the virus is by close contact with an infected individual. 75% of the new cases in November acquired the virus by direct contact. These cases have been linked to dinner parties, church and youth group gatherings, weddings, funerals, birthday parties, work parties, lunch dates and sleepovers.

  • The majority (91%) of individuals infected with COVID-19 are symptomatic.

  • The majority (75%) of new cases are residents. The spread of the virus is not indicating tracking from non-resident to resident or vice versa. The virus is predominantly spreading between people who know each well, from friends to friends and family members to family members.

  • While the majority of individuals experience only mild to moderate symptoms, the number of individuals requiring medical attention related to COVID-19 complications has been increasing. On our dashboard we report hospitalizations. We also remain in close communication with the Outer Banks Hospital regarding individuals presenting to the emergency department with COVID like symptoms as well as individuals who go to the emergency department because of worsening symptoms related to COVID-19. Both of these numbers have been increasing over the past few weeks. The hospital reported that this past week they saw the highest number of COVID related returns and admit/transfers since tracking started.

Science is showing your greatest risk of acquiring the virus is by gathering indoors with individuals who do not live in your immediate household. If you choose to gather indoors with others outside of your immediate household, North Carolina now requires the gathering to be limited to 10 or fewer people and for all individuals to wear a face covering.  These requirements have been established based on the current data of how best to mitigate the spread of the virus.

When gathering outdoors, please wear a face covering if you are not able to remain at least 6 ft from others who do not live in your home. Getting behind the mask, physically distancing from others and frequent hand washing are the best tools to help protect yourself and others.

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 1,213 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 20,810.  There were 87 positive cases between November 23 and November 29. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased to 5.1%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone also increased to 7.17%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and the urgent care centers showed an increase 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

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.