Of the 20 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County since last Friday, 15 of them acquired the virus through direct contact with family members or close acquaintances, according to Dr. Sheila Davies’s update today.
The Director of the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services posts two case-transmission updates every week, one on Tuesday, and the other on Friday.
In an unusual move, Dr. Davies reported yesterday that many of the recent cases—18 of whom are locals—acquired the virus through direct contact with household members who attended a large gathering where people did not maintain social distancing or wear face coverings. (See The Beacon, 6/29/20.)
She made it clear in her report that those locals who did not take infection-control measures chose “not to do the right thing.”
She also said that people who are not sick and are seeking COVID-19 diagnostic testing at local urgent care centers “because they are curious” should cease and desist from that practice and instead call the Dare Care COVID-19 call center at (252) 475-5008 for guidance.
People who are sick should contact their healthcare providers before visiting an urgent care center. They should not simply show up.
The transmission breakdown of the 18 Dare County resident cases, according to Dr. Davies’s update, is as follows:
*12 of the cases are connected, either through family relationships or close acquaintances. All 12 acquired the virus through direct contact: Four are symptomatic, and eight are asymptomatic. (These would seem to be some “large gathering” folks.)
*Three of the cases are members of another family. They acquired the virus through direct contact with a person whose positive test result was reported by the DCDHHS on June 24. All three of these people are symptomatic.
*One is asymptomatic and acquired the virus through direct contact with a person whose positive test result also was reported by the DCDHHS on June 24.
*The remaining two locals have no connection with each other, and it is assumed both acquired the virus by community spread. One is symptomatic, and the other is asymptomatic.
The two non-resident cases are not connected, according to Dr. Davies’s update. One of them is asymptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact outside of Dare County, and the other is symptomatic and most likely acquired the virus through community spread outside of Dare County.
Dr. Davies reports that contact tracing of the 18 residents has been completed, and DCDHHS staff have identified, notified, and directed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure all of the contacts.
Quarantine, Dr. Davies explains, “separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.”
DCDHHS calls people who are directed into quarantine to check on their health status and compliance. Noncompliance can result in criminal charges.
Isolation, the health director distinguishes, “separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.” A violation of an isolation order also can result in criminal charges being brought against the noncompliant person.
Today, Dare County is hosting, in partnership with Mako Medical Laboratories of Raleigh, a community COVID-19 antibody and diagnostic testing clinic in Kill Devil Hills.
The clinic had 525 appointments reserved, according to Dr. Davies, who says the results of the tests will be provided in next Tuesday’s update.
She also reports that area healthcare providers are now receiving COVID-19 test results from commercial labs an average of four days after they submit the specimens. Previously, the turnaround time was from 48 to 72 hours.
Dr. Davies attributes the delay to an increase in testing.
Between June 22 and June 28, she says, 578 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were performed, of which 44 were positive. That is a positive test rate of 7.6 percent.
More people presented to the hospital emergency department during the week of June 22-28 with COVID-19-like symptoms, according to her report. The monitoring of these people is known as syndromic surveillance.
“We are also seeing an increase in the number of sick individuals presenting to the area urgent care centers,” Dr. Davies says.
No new confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported yet today.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 6/30/20