9/22/20: THIRD LOCAL COVID-19 DEATH REPORTED; GOVERNOR TO OPEN LARGE OUTDOOR VENUES, STADIUMS TO 7% CAPACITY.

A third Dare County resident has died from complications associated with COVID-19, according to the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services, which reported today that it had received “notification” that a local person hospitalized outside of the area had died.

It is unclear if the DCDHHS dashboard ever recorded this person’s hospitalization: The last time the dashboard reported the hospitalization of a Dare County resident was Sept. 18, when a man who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 outside of the area allegedly died from other causes. (See The Beacon, 9/19/20.)   

The only other details the DCDHHS made public today about the death were that the person was symptomatic and he or she “acquired the virus” by unclear means.

Since DCDHHS’s COVID-19 update Friday, 10 new cases have been reported, seven of whom are residents, including the person who died. Of the remaining six:

*One pair of family members acquired the virus by direct contact with an infected person outside of Dare County;

*Another pair of family members acquired the virus while traveling outside of Dare County;

*One person acquired the virus by unclear means; and

*The sixth was a late report of an individual who tested positive outside of Dare County and has fully recovered .

The three non-resident cases are unrelated, but all reportedly are symptomatic and acquired the virus by direct contact with individuals who tested positive outside of Dare County.

FOOTBALL PARENTS, FANS GAIN ENTRY TO GAMES

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that, effective Oct. 2, when Safer at Home Phase 2.5 is scheduled to expire, he will allow a 7 percent-capacity crowd for large outdoor venues with a seating capacity of more than 10,000 people, including football stadiums.

The limited capacity will apply to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, concert and theater arenas, ballparks, and any other outdoor venue that holds 10,000+ spectators, provided it has seats. It will not apply to public parks.

Under the current executive order, outdoor mass gatherings are limited to 50 people, and indoor mass gatherings to 25. Prevailing scientific opinion is that outdoor events are safer than indoor activities.

“We share this news today,” the Governor said in a news conference, “so those outdoor venues with seating capacity of more than 10,000 can begin preparations that are key to safely reopening their doors,” including ensuring that spectators are socially distanced.

Mr. Cooper also spoke about arenas having “separate entrances” and managing spectators so that they congregate and sit only with others in their own households.

More changes to the public-health restrictions in place could be announced early next week, the Governor said.

Last week Governor Cooper permitted elementary school children to return to full-time, in-person instruction in October, if their school districts choose to do so.

The Governor has been under pressure this month from parents of college football players who would like to be allowed inside stadiums to watch their sons play. Until last weekend’s games, Cooper had denied all such requests; but on Sept. 18 the Governor’s Office permitted 450 tickets to be given out at the N.C. State home game against Wake Forest.

Every N.C. State player received two tickets, and the Wake Forest team received 100. State came out on top of an offensive battle, 45-42. 

The number of new COVID-19 cases daily across North Carolina remains stable around 1,000 to 1,400, and daily hospitalizations continue to be between roughly 800 and 900. The positivity rate is reportedly hovering around 5 percent, which is the target goal.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, said today that she would like to see a decline in new cases.

“We have to keep working . . . ,” she said, “to make further progress.”

Today’s NCDHHS dashboard reports a total of 195,549 positive results for COVID-19 since March out of 2,824,929 tests completed; 905 hospitalizations, and 3,286 deaths.

Today’s Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services’ dashboard reports 520 total COVID-19 positive cases, of which 278 are Dare County residents and 242 are nonresidents. There currently are eight active cases of COVID-19 in Dare County, all of whom are in home isolation.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Dare County has trended downward this month, compared with cases reported in July and August. The virus is being transmitted predominantly by direct or close contact with an infected individual.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/22/20

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