4/12/20: COVID-19 UPDATE: TWO MORE PEOPLE TEST POSITIVE AT PEAK RESOURCES, BRINGING TOTAL NUMBER OF DARE COUNTY CASES TO 15.

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Two more people associated with the Peak Resources nursing/rehab facility in Nags Head have tested positive for COVID-19, according to today’s Dare Emergency Management bulletin.

Both of these people are asymptomatic, the bulletin states, but that does not mean that they are not infectious. Bulletin No. 40 gives no other details about the individuals’ situations, however.

Of the 15 Dare County residents who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Bulletin No. 40 recaps, eight have recovered or been asymptomatically cleared; five are asymptomatic; one is recovering at home; and one has died

See COVID-19 Bulletin No. 40 at https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6121/1483

Test results from the state lab for the mass testing last week of staff and residents at Peak Resources were sent to the Dare County Division of Public Health earlier than anticipated. Family members of Peak residents were told to expect results tomorrow.

Bulletin No. 40 does indicate, however, that the Division of Public Health has received “the majority” of these results, not all.

For the first time in its COVID-19 case-reporting process, Dare County did not lead off a daily bulletin with breaking news of more positive test results. Today’s Bulletin No. 40 buries the report of the two additional Peak Resources cases beneath Easter greetings, a reminder about the guidelines in place for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and an updated accounting of cases and fatalities statewide.

AROUND TOWN

While out earlier today on my essential once-a-week spin through Southern Shores, I received greetings on Ocean Boulevard at the Chicahauk Trail intersection from the Easter Bunny and a female companion, who looked like Little Bo Peep with a face mask. They waved feverishly at all passersby.

I regret that I did not immediately pull over and take their photograph because about 12 minutes later when I drove past again, they were gone. An opportunity missed.

Little else caught my eye:

The unleaded regular gas at Han-Dee Hugo’s BP (and the Mobil station down the bypass in Kitty Hawk) is selling for $1.95.99 per gallon—about 50 cents less than it would be if vacationers were here, I would imagine.

The Home Depot and Walmart were doing a brisk business, but Harris Teeter and Food Lion were relatively quiet.

The Governor’s rules on maximum occupancy in retail establishments take effect tomorrow at 5 p.m.

All retailers who have permission to continue operating during the statewide stay-at-home order must observe an “emergency maximum occupancy” of either 20 percent of the state fire capacity or five persons per 1,000 square feet of building space, whichever is less.

Whatever the maximum number of occupants is, retailers must post it “in a conspicuous place,” according to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 131.

The majority of the customers in area stores are not wearing face masks, nor are the store employees. I would attribute this differential to a perceived lack of risk of COVID-19 transmission in Dare County, not to partisan politics, as a recent ABC/Ipsos poll would seem to suggest. (The message: More Democrats than Republicans and Independents wear face masks–apparently true among the 512 adults who were “randomly” sampled and self-reported their political-party affiliation.)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as a grocery store or pharmacy, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission of the virus. That is not Dare County.

See CDC’s use of cloth face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf

I wear a cotton face covering, as well as gloves, mostly out of respect and concern for other customers and store employees–although I do have a nearly 96-year-old mother whom I would not wish to infect with the coronavirus nor stop seeing. If my wearing a mask makes other people more comfortable, I figure it is a small price to pay.

There will be more hard news developments next week about the COVID-19 spread in this county and the state and national response to it. (How and when does the country “reopen”?) I welcome a respite today.

It is a beautiful day in Southern Shores. Enjoy the springtime. It will be a stormy Monday.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/12/20

 

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