Dare County Reports 168 New COVID-19 Cases Jan. 20-26
The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports 168 new cases of COVID-19 the week of Jan. 20-26. While the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Dare County was less this past week than the previous three weeks, the percent positivity continues to grow. This past week the percent of positive tests to total tests was 19%, an increase of 3%.
Of these 168 new cases:
114 (68%) are symptomatic
138 (82%) acquired the virus by direct contact with an individual or individuals who were positive for COVID-19.
The total COVID-19 positive case count in Dare County is 2,468, of which there are 201 active cases among residents of Dare County. Of the 2,468 cases, 1,670 are residents and 798 are non-residents. Currently, 10 residents are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.
The DHHS received frustrating news that our area’s vaccine allocation for this current week was cut by more than 50% and the state had instead diverted those doses to a mega vaccine event in the Charlotte area. This unexpected reduction in vaccine allocation puts Dare County in jeopardy of having to cancel hundreds of vaccine appointments scheduled for this coming Friday, January 29th.
After considerable advocacy and begging, the DHHS is pleased to share that they have been able to secure much of the vaccine shortfall from some amazing hospital partners. They are still working to secure more doses for this Friday in hopes of not having to cancel any appointments. Today, team members were calling many of Friday’s appointments to confirm their appointment. If you were scheduled to receive your vaccination on Friday, you will receive a call from the department by the end of the day Thursday. Please be patient and wait for the call. If they are able to secure more vaccines, then the call you receive will be to confirm your appointment. If they do not receive more transferred vaccines this week, then the call you will receive will be to reschedule your appointment, hopefully for next week.
Dare Health Director Dr. Sheila Davies said, “I cannot thank Ronnie Sloan, President of the Outer Banks Hospital, enough for the generous transfer of doses. Additionally, we are grateful to Onslow Memorial Hospital for their generous transfer of doses as well. We are truly blessed to have such extraordinary partnerships across eastern North Carolina to support the betterment of Dare County.”
Looking ahead, the DHHS is supposed to receive notification by this Friday of what the weekly allotment will be for the next three weeks. As soon as they have that information they will be able resume scheduling appointments for upcoming clinics from the county waiting list. There are approximately 2,400 individuals aged 65 and older who are currently on the waiting list. Once the department completes the scheduling of those 65 and over from the waiting list, they will be in a position to move to Phase 3 of the state’s prioritization phases.
The vaccine allotment issue is only related to first doses this week. For the over 4,500 individuals who have already received their first dose, your second dose appointment still stands. The DHHS is scheduled to receive second dose shipments from the state 3-4 weeks after receiving the first dose. The DHHS received its first shipment of second doses last week and are scheduled to receive a second shipment today (1/26/21). The DHHS has not been informed that there are any issues with second dose allotments.
Information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Dare County can be found at www.darenc.com/covidvaccine. General information on the COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the state’s website www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.
This past week there were 877 COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed in Dare County. This brings the total number of tests performed since early March to 30,669. There were 167 positive cases between January 18 and January 24. The percent of positive tests to overall tests in Dare County since testing started in early March increased to 7.9%. The percent of positive tests to total tests for the past week increased to 19%. Syndromic surveillance of the emergency department and urgent care centers showed a decrease in individuals presenting with COVID like symptoms. These graphs can be found on the dare county website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
Controlling the Spread
The amount of viral spread in Dare County continues to be significant. The vast majority of new cases of COVID-19 in Dare County continue to be linked to direct contact between close friends, co-workers and families. The DHHS encourages everyone to follow the 3Ws to protect yourself and others and help reduce the spread of this virus. Please wear a mask, wait six feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
“Non-resident” cases are those who do not have a Dare County address listed on their identification card, including visitors, non-resident property owners, individuals living and working in Dare County for the summer, and those who may have recently moved to the area and have not yet been able to update their identification card.
Cloth face masks or coverings are mandatory to be worn in any public spaces where social distancing can’t be maintained in Dare County and throughout North Carolina.
Local and state health officials continue to strongly encourage everyone to follow the 3 Ws – wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people, wait at least six feet apart and avoid close contact with other people, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
In addition, there is currently a statewide executive order for everyone to stay at home from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. each night, unless they are at work during those hours, which will remain in effect at least through Jan. 29. 2021.