5/13/20: COVID-19 UPDATE: Cases Increase in N.C. and Worldwide in Nations That Have Eased Restrictions; Dare County Prepares for Visitors To Arrive Saturday.

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The number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, completed tests, and hospitalizations in North Carolina all increased in the past 24-hour counting period, but not alarmingly so, according to today’s N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services dashboard.

More than 8,000 tests (8,213) for the novel coronavirus were administered, of which 470, or about 5.7 percent, tested positive. Yesterday’s positive test rate was 4.7 percent, a low figure that was very encouraging.

Today’s positive test rate is lower than most of the other rates calculated during the past two weeks. Daily positive test rates have tended to be between 6.0 percent and 7.5 percent.

Eight thousand daily tests are well above the 5,000 to 7,000 daily tests that NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen has said is the State’s goal.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide increased by 46 to a total of 521.

IN DARE COUNTY: Today’s Dare Emergency Management bulletin reminds local businesses of the restrictions that are in effect, and of recommended infection-control measures, during Phase One of the State’s three-phase reopening plan, which Governor Roy Cooper implemented by executive order.

Phase One, according to the Governor, will last at least two weeks before Phase Two will be initiated. Progression is dependent on the COVID-19 metrics that the dashboard tracks and on the State’s ability to test people and trace the contacts of people who have been infected.

Dr. Cohen has said that everyone in North Carolina should be able to get a test now, regardless of symptoms or personal risk.

The Dare bulletin also addresses the return of visitors to the Outer Banks starting this Saturday, reminding everyone to practice the three W’s of virus-transmission control: 1) Wear a cloth face covering; 2) wait six feet apart in public, avoiding close contact; and 3) wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer.

See Dare Emergency Management Bulletin No. 60: https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6250/1483

The Dare County dashboard reports that of the 20 non-fatal COVID-19 cases in the county, 16 have recovered or been asymptomatically cleared. Four people have active cases.

THE COVID-19 NEWS WORLDWIDE IS SOBERING as nations, such as Germany and South Korea, that had reported success with virus-transmission control and had eased up on restrictions have either backtracked or are considering closures because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, according to today’s The Washington Post.

Lebanon has imposed a near-complete four-day lockdown, almost two weeks to the day that it began easing up on restrictions, The Post reports.

In Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus first emerged, authorities ordered all 11 million inhabitants to be tested after a cluster of six new COVID-19 cases occurred, five weeks after the city thought it had eliminated the disease.

South Korea last week rescinded an order to allow bars and clubs to reopen after a spike in cases quickly manifested.

In Germany, a cluster of cases at a meatpacking plant has raised fears of a new outbreak.

“We always have to be aware that we are still at the beginning of the pandemic,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said last week. “And there’s still a long way in dealing with this virus in front of us.”

The Post also reports that India and Russia are going ahead with plans to ease their restrictions, even as COVID-19 cases “continue to soar.”

Firass Abiad, who oversees coronavirus efforts in Beirut at Lebanon’s main government hospital, told The Post that a country’s success in containing the virus will depend less on how it curtails the spread than on how it manages the inevitable case surge as a shutdown or lockdown ends.

“A lockdown is a means, not an end,” he said. “It’s a means either to allow you to regain control or put measures in place to control coronavirus when it comes back [such as testing and tracing]. When we eased the lockdown, we knew there would be an increase in the number of cases.”

For the full Washington Post article, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/as-some-countries-ease-up-others-are-reimposing-lockdowns-amid-a-resurgence-of-coronavirus-infections/2020/05/12/6373cf6a-9455-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html

REMEMBER: Saturday, May 30, is bulk-waste collection day. Trash must be at the roadside by 5 a.m. that day to be collected. No TVs or building materials. For other do’s and don’ts, see the Town website.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 5/13/20

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