New COVID-19 cases in Dare County spiked over the weekend, as 13 more people were diagnosed with the disease caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, including a local man age 65 or over who was hospitalized.

The last time Dare weekend case reports exceeded a dozen was July 25-26. The last time the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services’ dashboard recorded any new cases on a Sunday was Aug. 16. New-case report numbers have been trending downward in Dare County recently, just as they have statewide. 

Yesterday, however, the DCDHHS reported seven new COVID-19 cases, five of them Dare County residents and two of them nonresidents. On Saturday the DCDHHS reported six new COVID-19 cases, all of them nonresidents, who were transferred to isolation in their home counties.

COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Dare County since March now total 495: 264 among residents and 231 among nonresidents. The percentage breakdown of cases according to age is: 13 percent, for age 17 and under; 24 percent, ages 18 to 24; 33 percent, ages 25 to 49; 19 percent, ages 50 to 64; and 11 percent, age 65 or older. Two people have died.

The newly diagnosed Dare County residents are two women between the ages of 24 and 49; a man between the ages of 50 and 64; and a man and a woman age 65 or over. The man was hospitalized outside of the area.

The newly diagnosed nonresidents represent a mix of ages, as follows:

One female age 17 or younger;

One female and one male, between the ages of 18 and 24;

Two women between the ages of 25 and 49;

Two men and a woman between the ages of 50 and 64.

DCDHHS’s update tomorrow will tell us if there are personal relationships among any of the 13 people and if any of them share a common source of infection.

The last time the DCDHHS reported more than five new COVID-19 cases on a single day was Sept. 1. As we shift into the Outer Banks’ second summer season—this one post-Labor Day—and a decreased, but steady flow of vacationers continues, we may see more spikes in daily case reports.  

U.S. public health officials agree that mass gatherings, especially indoors and especially among people who do not wear face coverings, are prime for transmission of COVID-19.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, described the statewide COVID-19 situation last week as “simmering.” Although lab-confirmed daily cases statewide have been trending downward since a high of 2,045 on Sept. 4, Dr. Cohen said there are still too many being reported to further ease restrictions on businesses.

The NCDHHS reported 1,196 new COVID-19 cases statewide yesterday and 1,454 new cases on Saturday. Last week, however, daily new cases dipped below 1,000 for three consecutive days, in line with a downward trend.

The number of hospitalizations statewide for COVID-19 cases also has declined recently, as has the percentage of positive test results among the total completed tests. Dr. Cohen expressed cautious optimism: She is seeking constancy in these declines without any spikes.

As of yesterday’s NCDHHS dashboard report, 3,052 people had died statewide as a result of COVID-19, and 831 were hospitalized. Since March, the NCDHHS has recorded 184,936 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina.  

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/14/20    

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