Dare County is now requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public settings when they cannot maintain six-foot social distancing.

Dare County will be open to non-resident property owners who have valid entry permits and government-issued IDs starting Monday, May 4, and continuing on Wednesday and Friday of that week, in order of the owners’ last names, according to an elaborate plan announced this afternoon by the Dare County Control Group.

As part of that plan, the Control Group also has extended the County’s stay home-stay healthy order until May 22, leaving in place all current restrictions and adding to them the requirement that people wear a mask or cloth covering in public settings when they cannot maintain other social-distancing measures.

According to Bulletin No. 48, which lays out the new plan, the Control Group will address access for visitors “at a future date to allow for necessary syndromic surveillance and monitoring of resource availability.”

See bulletin at https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6172/1483

To apply for an entry permit, see: https://lfp.darecountync.gov/Forms/nonresident.

Starting May 4 at 6 a.m., non-resident property owners with proper permits and IDs whose last names begin with a letter between A and I will be allowed entry.

On May 6, at 6 a.m., non-resident property owners with proper paperwork whose last names begin with a letter between J and R will be given access, and all remaining non-resident property owners (S-Z) will be allowed entry on May 8, at 6 a.m.

Law enforcement officers at the entry checkpoints will check the identification of every person in a vehicle, according to the “Frequently Asked Questions” portion of the Dare County bulletin. Only those people who are listed on a permit with matching government-issued ID will be allowed entry, along with their minor children.

The Control Group further asks that non-resident property owners bring “their own supplies to sustain themselves in their homes as much as possible, including groceries, prescriptions, paper products, and other essentials.”

In response to an FAQ about why Dare County is lifting restrictions later than Currituck County is, the bulletin states: “Dare County has developed a plan for gradual lifting of restrictions on entry based on the science, trends, data, epidemiology, and resource availability. We do not have information on what criteria Currituck County used to make their decision on entry.

The Currituck County Board of Commissioners voted yesterday to approve reentry of non-resident property owners to the Currituck-Outer Banks this Thursday at 9 a.m. The Beacon wrongly expected Dare County to follow suit and is pleased to discover that Dare has been quite circumspect in its planning.

But shouldn’t law enforcement officers deny entry into Dare County to all non-resident Corolla property owners who are not essential workers? They don’t have permission to be in Dare County, and they cannot get to Corolla without going through Dare.

Oh, well.

The Control Group cites in its statement of “plan rationale” a number of changes that have improved the county’s position regarding COVID-19, including:

*The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Dare County has been stable for over a week, and there have been no new cases during that time.

*Syndrome surveillance indicates no immediate increase in respiratory illness or COVID-19-related symptoms.

*Testing is now readily available in Dare County in accordance with current N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services guidelines.

*Testing turnaround—the time between specimen collection and test results—has dramatically decreased over the past few weeks so that results are now received within 24 to 72 hours.

*The Dare County Dept. of Public Health has increased capacity for contact tracing.

Non-resident property owners would be well-advised to read the details about Dare County’s stay home-stay healthy order and the answers to the FAQ that are provided in the emergency bulletin.

The Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order is in effect until April 29 and will likely be extended.

In other COVID-19 news, The Charlotte Observer reported today that North Carolina’s LabCorp has received the first approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an at-home testing kit for COVID-19.

According to The Observer, the company said its kit will involve placing a swab inside a person’s nose, then mailing the swab to LabCorp for testing.

The FDA has not officially cleared or approved the LabCorp product, but it has authorized its use. For now, the kit will be used on the pandemic’s front lines, going to healthcare workers and first responders who need it.

LabCorp said its kit will be available to the general public within the coming weeks and will cost $119, according to The Observer’s article.

See https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article242168736.html

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/21/20


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