6/10/20: DCDHHS CITES DIRECT CONTACT WITH INFECTED PERSON AS CAUSE FOR 6 OF 7 LATEST COVID-19 CASES. ‘Some’ of 6 Acquired Virus From Asymptomatic Positive Case, Director Says.


Of the seven people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County between last Friday and yesterday, six acquired the virus by “direct contact with a family member or household contact,” according to a report by the Dare Co. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Of these six, “some” of them acquired the virus by direct contact with an “asymptomatic positive case,” Dr. Sheila Davies, DCDHHS director, said in a videotaped message posted yesterday to the health department’s COVID-19 website.

The remaining case is deemed to be “community acquired,” Dr. Davies said, because no cause can be determined. This person is a non-resident who contracted the virus before coming to Dare County, she noted.

Four of the seven people are non-residents, of whom three are asymptomatic and in home isolation outside of Dare County. The fourth is hospitalized outside of the area.

As you may recall, three of the non-residents are young people under age 24, two of them just 17 years old. The fourth non-resident is between the ages of 50 and 64. (See The Beacon’s posts on 6/7/20.)

The three Dare County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 are all symptomatic, Dr. Davies said, and are recovering in home isolation.

Dr. Davies stressed three “takeaways” from a review of the seven positive cases in her message:

  1. Acquisition of the virus by direct contact with an asymptomatic case “reinforces the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”
  2. The spread of the virus occurs “quickly among family members and members within the same household.”
  3. The number of direct contacts associated with the latest positive cases is greater than previously seen with positive cases, an increase that Dr. Davies attributes to a relaxation of infection-control restrictions in phases one and two of the economic reopening.

The increase in the number of direct contacts means the the DCDHHS’s job of contact tracing is more time-intensive.

“From family gatherings to social parties and backyard barbecues, the number of direct contacts individuals have is on the rise,” Dr. Davies said. “While this is to be expected, please note this increases your risk of exposure.”

Dr. Davies said she is continuing to work on plans for the “next community testing clinic,” which will involve both diagnostic and antibody testing for COVID-19. An antibody test requires a blood sample to be drawn indoors.

The DCDHHS director will announce details of the testing clinic as soon as they are available. The next COVID-19 update on the website will be Friday.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 6/10/20


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