Two young non-residents, one female and one male, have tested positive for COVID-19 locally and been transferred to their home counties for isolation, according to today’s Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services’ dashboard.

The dashboard reports that one of the young people who tested positive is 17 years old, and the other is between the ages of 18 and 24.

Of the 46 COVID-19 cases reported in Dare County, more than half (25) involve people under the age of 50. Forty-one percent (19) are non-residents.

As The Beacon reported in detail yesterday, Dare County is responding to the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases both statewide and locally by implementing a mandatory face-covering requirement, effective tomorrow at 9 a.m.

The order requires face coverings on all “customers, employees and other users of restaurants, grocery and retail stores,” when they are indoors, and on all “persons in any other indoor or outdoor setting” in which they cannot maintain six-foot social distancing.

The county’s order further requires people to wear face coverings that cover both their noses and mouths.

Children under age 12 are exempt from the face-covering requirement. Other situational exceptions to the order include while dining in a restaurant and while in the company only of fellow household members. (See The Beacon, 6/19/20, for a list of exceptions.)

Violation of the face-covering requirement is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and 60 days’ imprisonment.

At a press briefing Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper strongly used North Carolinians to wear face masks or coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 and said he is considering imposing a statewide face mask/covering requirement.

The Governor also promised to announce a “comprehensive plan” to address COVID-19 conditions in North Carolina next week ahead of the June 26 expiration of Phase Two of the state’s economic reopening.

For the first time Thursday, Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, publicly acknowledged that the rising number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is not “due to [increased] testing alone.”

“Cases are being driven by younger folks,” she said, especially those between the ages of 25 and 49 who “may be asymptomatic and can spread” the virus.

For more about face coverings, including how to make one, see: https://www.darenc.com/departments/health-human-services/coronavirus/face-coverings.

A WORD ON TRAFFIC TODAY: The prohibition on the left turn from eastbound U.S. Hwy. 158 on to South Dogwood Trail took effect at 11 a.m. today and will continue until 8 p.m. The same hours will be in effect tomorrow.

Please let us know the traffic conditions that you experience on your road and elsewhere in Southern Shores throughout today and tomorrow. We are counting on your firsthand reports to document the effects of the closure of South Dogwood Trail to traffic arriving in Dare County that is headed north.

I can already detect at 11:30 a.m. a difference in the volume of northbound traffic flow and the traffic noise level on Hickory Trail, near the East Dogwood Trail intersection.

Bicyclists’ accounts are especially welcome!

Thank you.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 6/20/20

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