THIS JUST IN . . . The two new positive COVID-19 test results reported over the weekend on the Dare Emergency Management case dashboard without explanation were of family members of the person whose case was reported April 30. According to today’s emergency bulletin, the two people were infected by direct contact. See https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6222/1483
The Beacon’s sources report that the traffic into Dare County this morning through the checkpoint at the Wright Memorial Bridge ran smoothly, with no noticeable backups.
Today is the first day that some non-resident Dare County property owners with valid entry permits—along with their “immediate family”—may enter the county pursuant to a gradual lifting of access restrictions that went into effect March 20.
Non-resident property owners whose last names begin with the letters A through I were permitted entry today, starting at 6 a.m. Those with last names beginning with letters J through R will be given access starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday, and the remaining non-resident property owners (S through Z) may arrive on Friday at 6 a.m.
All non-resident Dare County property owners must have valid entry permits.
In a May 1 welcoming videotaped message, Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman B Woodard asked all arriving non-resident owners to bring enough essential supplies with them to last through their visits, specifically mentioning “groceries, prescriptions, [and] paper products.”
A discussion over the weekend on the social-media neighborhood site, Next Door, brought to The Beacon’s attention that the restriction on the people being allowed to enter Dare County with permitted non-resident property owners has changed.
Whereas originally the County specified only permitted primary property owners and their “minor children” could enter, the current entry regulations specify that “immediate family” members of the permit holder are allowed.
“Immediate family” is defined as “a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent or child,” including “step, half, and in-law relationships.”
Some Next Door commentators questioned this liberal definition, in light of the fact that such relatives of Dare County residents cannot enter—not unless the Dare County resident is a property owner and is in the vehicle with them.
The Beacon does not recall reading a Dare Emergency Management bulletin with an update concerning family members. While some resident homeowners may believe the expansion is unfair, we would ask all residents, as Chairman Woodward did in his message, to “welcome visitors,” and to “act with compassion and kindness” and “foster a warm and welcoming environment.”
See The Beacon, 5/2/20 for news about non-resident property owners, Dare County schools, and more.
STATE METRICS ARE ENCOURAGING
One hundred eight-four new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina during the past 24 hours, based on 6,964 laboratory tests, according to statistics posted at 11 a.m. today on the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services dashboard.
The count of new cases and the percentage of positive results in a 24-hour batch of lab tests are two key metrics of COVID-19 trends in North Carolina that the Governor and the NCDHHS are monitoring to decide whether to lift the statewide stay-at-home order at week’s end and start Phase One of the reopening plan.
Today’s positive test-result percentage is about 5 percent.
The dashboard also reports 498 COVID-19 hospitalizations, another key metric—an increase of 23 over Sunday’s total hospitalizations, which showed a drop of 27.
The NCDHHS case count on Saturday hit a new single-day high with 586, but then it dropped dramatically on Sunday with 155. Today’s total new cases and lab tests are encouraging. NCDHHS has a goal of administering 5,000 to 7,000 tests daily.
Only the NCDHHS knows how reliable and significant these 24-hour snapshots are, but we believe that today’s 5 percent rate of positive tests is a step in the right direction.
Avery County in western North Carolina on the border of Tennessee continues to be the only county that has not reported a positive COVID-19 test result.
One reason may be that Avery County instituted a self-quarantine requirement on April 13. The county mandates that all residents and non-residents who arrive from outside of the county, after having spent an overnight away, “self-quarantine for a period of 14 days or 7 days after symptoms have resolved, whichever time period is longer.”
The county excepted commuting essential workers and first responders from its self-quarantine order.
See Avery County’s State of Emergency at: http://www.averycountync.gov/docs/SKM_C55820042715200.pdf
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Avery County’s population was 17,797, according to the county’s website.
BREAKING NEWS: The Governor this morning signed the two coronavirus relief bills passed by N.C. lawmakers Saturday, one concerning policy and the another directing how to spend $1.57 billion of federal funds coming to the state. See The Beacon, 4/24/20, for background.
North Carolina receives $3.5 billion in federal funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security (CARES) Act.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 5/4/20