Dare County reported six new COVID-19 cases today—three locals and three nonresidents—for an unusually high two-day total in September of 14 new cases.

In her update today about the 18 new COVID-19-positive cases reported since last Friday, Dr. Sheila Davies remarked upon the two-day uptick and said that four of the latest cases are people age 18 or younger.

“While more and more people are beginning to re-engage in activities with others,” the director of the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services said, “we can expect to see cases increase.”

Dr. Davies urged people to continue to “follow the 3Ws to help reduce the spread of COVID-19”: wear a cloth face covering; wait six feet apart; and wash your hands often.

Dr. Davies also described a new COVID-19 exposure tracking app that the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services has made available.

Downloaded to a smartphone, the app can alert a person to when he or she has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. For more information about the exposure tracking app, see https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc. (For the app to work, people have to be willing to self-report a positive COVID-19 test result.)

The NCDHHS is strongly encouraging parents to have their children participate in lower and moderate COVID-19 risk activities on Halloween, instead of traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, which involves crowd gathering, close contact, and touching.

The Department has adapted Halloween guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and issued recommendations for fun alternate activities at https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/guidance/NCDHHS-Interim-Guidance-for-Halloween.pdf.

Anyone for a virtual Halloween costume contest?

Today’s six new cases, according to the DCDHHS dashboard, are:

Two female residents, age 17 or younger, who are isolating at home;

One male resident, ages 18-24, who also is isolating at home;

One male nonresident, ages 18-24; and two female nonresidents, one ages 25-49, and the other ages 50-64, all of whom are isolating in Dare County.

Direct contact continues to be the predominant means by which people acquire the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to Dr. Davies’s update.

Four of the newly diagnosed Dare County residents are “close contacts” of a resident whose positive COVID-19 test result was reported on the dashboard last Friday.

Similarly, three members of the same non-resident family acquired the virus by direct contact with a person who tested positive outside of Dare County.

There currently are 15 active cases among residents in Dare County, and one resident continues to be hospitalized with complications of COVID-19.

Since March, 547 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, 295 residents and 252 nonresidents. Three residents have died, and a fourth resident who was hospitalized with COVID-19 has died from what was said to be a non-COVID-19 cause.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/29/20

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