DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #72
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Dare County COVID-19 Case Update
New cases of COVID-19 are growing rapidly in Dare County, as well as the state and nation. Since our last report on 12/22, we have seen an increase of 136 new COVID-19 cases. Of these 136 new cases:
117( 86%) are symptomatic
106 (78%) acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual or individuals who were positive for COVID-19. 21 of these cases are connected.
We have seen a marked increase in the percent positivity rate. For the past week alone the percent of positive tests to total tests for COVID-19 was 13.6%. We have also seen an increase in coworker to coworker spread of the virus linked to staff gatherings and meetings.
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 1,560, of which there are 113 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 1,560 cases, 1026 are residents and 534 are non-residents. Currently, 11 residents are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.
Controlling the Spread
The vast majority of new cases of COVID-19 in Dare County are linked to direct contact between close friends, co-workers and families. You can protect yourself and others and help reduce the spread of this virus by practicing the 3Ws – wear a mask, wait six feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Even though our close family, co-workers, and friends are the people we often feel most comfortable with and “safest” around, contact tracing is showing that the virus is spreading most between these individuals and not from the brief interactions at the grocery store or in retail or commercial settings. Whether visiting a neighbor or friend, or at work, please be sure to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 ft of physical distance from individuals who you do not share a household with.
Our department is continuing to vaccinate front line healthcare workers whose duties put them at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 or who are vital to the initial COVID-19 vaccine response (priority Group 1a). We expect to remain in this Prioritization Group for approximately 2 more weeks.
Information on the vaccination plan is rapidly evolving. The CDC has recently made changes to their published vaccine prioritization groups, however Dare County is required to follow the direction of NC DHHS on the prioritization groups. If the state changes the prioritization groups for NC, Dare County will follow those changes. Dare County is not permitted to locally change the prioritization groups.
When registration opens for the general public according to the required Prioritization Groups we will post that information on our Vaccine webpage which can be found at www.darenc.com/covidvaccine. Please visit this site for the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine or visit the NC DHHS website at www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.
Each week we review the 4 key metrics associated with disease investigation and surveillance. The metrics are:
Number of Tests
Positive Tests as a Percent of Total Tests
COVID Like Illness Surveillance
This past week there were 1,118 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 25,346. There were 152 positive cases between December 21 and December 27. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since we started testing in early March increased to 6.04%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week alone was 13.6%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and urgent care centers showed an increase in individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms in the early part of the week. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
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.
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.