Visitor Access to Outer Banks Restricted Due to Coronavirus (UPDATED)
UPDATE 4/12/20: Dare County has reported 15 positive test results for COVID-19. Of the 15 individuals who have tested positive, eight have recovered/or are asymptomatically cleared (meaning they are seven days post testing with no symptoms), five are asymptomatic (meaning they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms), one is recovering at home and one died.
UPDATE 4/9/20: The Dare County Division of Public Health has received confirmation of three positive cases of COVID-19 linked to residents and staff at Peak Resources, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Nags Head, NC. Of the three who tested positive, two individuals are Dare County residents and one resides in another county.
The additional testing that led to these results was part of a comprehensive public health investigation based on a single positive test result announced on Sunday, April 5. The patients and staff who had direct contact with the positive individual were tested on Monday, April 6. With these positive test results, all patients and staff at the facility are now being tested.
Since the original positive test for the individual residing at Peak Resources was received on Sunday, staff and leadership at Peak Resources, local public health leadership, Outer Banks Hospital and Vidant Medical Group leadership have been communicating and prioritizing strategies and actions to care for those affected and to reduce the risks for others at the facility.
Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced updated guidelines for all North Carolina congregate living facilities, including the use of face masks while interacting with patients, closing communal areas, and requiring residents and staff to be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms. Local health officials have shared the updated guidelines with all congregate facilities in Dare County. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now offering information online to show outbreaks at congregate living facilities, including correctional facilities and nursing homes.
This now brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Dare County to 13. Of the 13, six have completely recovered, five are asymptomatic (meaning they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms), one remains hospitalized out of the county, and one has died.
UPDATE 4/9/20: The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services is reporting the first COVID-19 associated death in Dare County.
The individual died this morning from complications associated with the virus. The individual was in their early 90s and had several underlying medical conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about this individual will be released.
UPDATE 4/7/20: As of today, a total of 10 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County. Three of the four new cases announced today are all associated with direct contact with the individual whose positive test result was announced on April 4. The other new case is an individual who also likely acquired the virus through direct contact when out of the area.
Of the 10 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, five have completely recovered, three are asymptomatic (meaning they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms), one is recovering in isolation and one remains hospitalized out of the county.
Now that community spread is likely in our community, you must act as if everyone you come in contact with has COVID-19 and has the ability to spread the virus. To protect yourself, your family, and our community, it is imperative that everyone in Dare County follows the Stay Home – Stay Healthy order (which aligns with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Executive Order). Restrict ALL non-essential movement. Only go out when absolutely necessary (for essential needs). Avoid direct contact, other than immediate family members. Practice good hygiene.
Recently, the CDC released an updated recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings as a voluntary public health measure in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Please understand that the use of face coverings alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures should also be utilized
UPDATE 4/5/20: The Dare County Division of Public Health has announced the sixth positive test result for COVID-19 in Dare County. The individual is a resident who was tested in Dare County.
“The individual is currently in isolation and being monitored,” according to Dr. Sheila Davies, Director of the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services. It is unknown at this time how the individual acquired the virus. It is possible that this individual may have acquired the virus from an asymptomatic individual, indicating community spread.
“The CDC shared this week that as many as 25% of the people infected with the COVID-19 virus may not show symptoms. At this point we believe community spread is likely, as we have not found any connection between this individual and any other individuals who tested positive in Dare County,” commented Davies.
UPDATE 4/4/20: Five individuals in Dare County have now tested positive for Covid-19. The second reported (March 31) positive individual’s spouse had also been tested, and those results were received on April 4 by Dare County Division of Public Health and it was confirmed that the spouse tested positive for COVID-19. This is not a case of community spread and the spouses were tested two days apart. Contact tracing of direct contacts associated with both spouses was conducted by public health staff last week. Both spouses have remained in isolation and are improving daily.
To date (as of April 4), the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services has reported a total of five positive test results. Two have completely recovered, two are spouses who remain in isolation and improving daily and one individual is receiving care at a hospital outside of Dare County.
UPDATE 4/3/20: Three individuals in Dare County have tested positive for Covid-19. Two of the three individuals have completely recovered from their illness and the third person remains in isolation and is improving daily.
UPDATE 3/20/20: Non-resident property owners are now prohibited from entering Dare County.
Visitor access to the Outer Banks is restricted due to the ongoing health concerns regarding the Cornavirus (also known as Covid-19) starting today (Tuesday, March 17), as local and national events have been canceled or postponed and bars, restaurants, and schools have been ordered to close throughout the state.
In response to updated guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to avoid discretionary travel and follow the national Coronavirus Guidelines for America, the Dare County Control Group has made the decision to restrict visitor access to Dare County beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Beginning at 2:00 p.m., checkpoints will be established at entry points to Dare County and no visitors will be allowed access. Permanent residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of Dare County businesses may review entry guidelines at www.darenc.com/entry. Reentry permits from previous years will not be accepted. Staff was working to activate the online permitting system by 1:00 p.m.
To avoid contact with personnel, please display your permit on your dashboard so it is clearly visible for checkpoint personnel.
Visitors will not be allowed to travel through Dare County to access Currituck County (Corolla), Hyde County (Ocracoke Island), or Tyrrell County. People who reside, own property or work in Corolla or Ocracoke will be allowed entry.
Personnel working at the Emergency Operations Center are available to answer COVID-19 related questions using a dedicated phone line. Please call 252.475.5008. Personnel anticipates a high volume of calls. If you reach a voicemail, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
As of this writing (on March 17), there are currently no individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, while there are currently 39 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina.
Yesterday the federal government announced guidelines and a plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. Dare County will adhere to the guidance from CDC and North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS). All Dare County community members should adhere to the guidelines that were issued and available at www.coronavirus.gov.
The Outer Banks Hospital has implemented new visitor restrictions. Only one immediate family member over the age of 16 and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness may visit a patient at The Outer Banks Hospital and/or Medical Group clinic.
Starting today, Tuesday, March 17, The Outer Banks Hospital will begin screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness as they enter the Medical Office Building and Main Lobby. Patients and visitors with illness will be masked and asked to sanitize their hands prior to going to their appointment.
All event gatherings of 10 or more people are strongly discouraged for the next 15 days, while events of 50 or more people are to be canceled, postponed, or modified for the next eight weeks, including concerts, conventions, festivals, and weddings.
LOCAL EVENT CANCELLATIONS
Numerous events scheduled on the Outer Banks have been canceled as a result of the ongoing pandemic, including Taste of the Beach, the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, the St. Patrick’s Parade, the Spring Scare Fair, and more to be announced.
Visitor centers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Hatteras Island, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island, and Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills are temporarily closed, effective immediately.
UPDATE (3/23/20): R/C Theatres in Kill Devil Hills is now closed as well, in accordance with the Governor’s mandate.
UPDATE 3/30/20: All 2020 Outer Banks Bike Week events have been canceled.
UPDATE 4/7/20: The Lost Colony outdoor symphonic drama at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island has canceled it’s 2020 season of performances.
Additional cancellations, closings, and the most current information from the towns and the National Park Service is available at www.darenc.com/covid19.
**This post will continue to be updated as more news comes in.**