4/7/20: BREAKING NEWS: 10 PEOPLE HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 IN DARE COUNTY. BULLETIN ANNOUNCES FOUR MORE POSITIVE TESTS.

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Ten people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, according to today’s 1 p.m. Dare County Emergency Management bulletin.

Three of the four new cases announced today, DCEM Bulletin No. 34 says, are “associated with direct contact with the individual whose positive test result was announced on April 4.”

The other new case is said to be a person who “likely acquired the virus through direct contact when out of the area,” according to the bulletin.

There actually were two positive test results announced on April 4: those of cases Nos. 4 and 5. (See The Beacon, 4/4/20.)

The fourth case was reported to be a resident who was tested in Dare County, but was receiving care at a hospital outside of the county. The fifth positive test case was the spouse of the person whose positive COVID-19 test was the second for Dare County.

Bulletin No. 34 reports that of the 10 people who have tested positive 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.”

See the bulletin at https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6097/1483

On Sunday, after learning of the first COVID-19 case presumably caused by community spread, or what is known as silent transmission, The Beacon predicted more positive test results would ensue this week. We based this opinion, in part, on expert analyses of the state of an outbreak in a county that has reported a case of community spread.

According to a study recently released by the University of Texas at Austin, “[i]f a county has detected only one case of COVID-19, there is a 51 percent chance that there is already a growing outbreak underway.”

In their article, “Probability of Current COVID-19 Outbreaks in All U.S. Counties,” UT researchers Emily Javan, Dr. Spencer J. Fox, and Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers state that “COVID-19 is largely spreading undetected, because of the high proportion of asymptomatic and mild infections and limited laboratory testing capacity.”

See https://cid.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/cid/files/covid-risk-maps_counties_4.3.2020.pdf?m=1585958755.

Dr. Fox and Dr. Meyers are Ph.D.s, not M.D.s, and their approach is a statistical one that is based on a tool they developed to estimate the risk of the “silent” Zika virus spreading to the United States in 2016.

The article reportedly will be published in Emerging Infectious Diseases and is online in early release.

Dare County COVID-19 case No. 6, which was announced Sunday, is the only confirmed case that has been attributed to community spread.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/7/20

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