Two Dare County residents in the highest-risk age group were reported yesterday to be hospitalized with COVID-19 by the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services, which has added 39 new COVID-19-positive cases to its dashboard during the past three days.
Also yesterday, Dare County reported a seven-day moving average of 30.5 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people, according to today’s The Raleigh News & Observer, a figure that puts it in the “red zone” of risk defined by the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Dare joins 41 other N.C. counties in the red zone, The N&O reports, which means they have reached a “tipping point” with 25 or more cases per day per 100,000 people. According to the Harvard researchers, stay-at-home orders are necessary in red-zone areas. Dare is reportedly among the top 20 counties on the red-zone list.
The other lesser zones of risk defined by Harvard and its public-health expert consultants are orange (10 to 24 cases per day per 100,000); yellow (one to nine cases); and green (less than one case). The orange zone shows an “accelerated spread” of COVID-19, a situation that prompts the researchers to advise imposing stay-at-home orders.
When the Harvard tool for mapping the COVID-19 risk by state and county was first released in July, only four of North Carolina’s 100 counties were in the red zone.
The two newly hospitalized Dare County residents are among 10 new COVID-19 cases reported yesterday by the DCDHHS, 80 percent of whom are locals.
They are identified on the dashboard only as a man and a woman age 65 or older. The other eight people who tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus range in age from 17 and under to 65 or older.
The cases reported in Dare County on Sunday reflect similar demographics: Of 10 new COVID-19 cases, seven, or 70 percent, were locals. Most noteworthy in this group of 10 is that three of the COVID-19-positive people are age 17 or younger, and three are age 65 or older. All are in isolation.
The Beacon previously reported that the DCDHHS added 19 cases to its dashboard on Saturday, 17, or 85 percent, of whom are Dare County residents. We announced in the same post that another Dare County resident had died of COVID-19. (See The Beacon, 11/14/20.)
We expect Dr. Sheila Davies, Director of the DCDHHS, to post her Tuesday update, analyzing the 39 COVID-19 cases reported since Friday, later this afternoon. We will report only the cases added to the dashboard today and any information that Dr. Davies may provide about the recent fatality. We do not imagine that the Dare Public-Health Director will have anything new to add to the “call to action” videotaped message that she issued on Friday.
THE N.C. DEPT. OF HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES is reporting today 3,288 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 1,501 COVID-related hospitalizations, as the surge continues statewide. The positivity rate has risen to 8.6 percent, a figure reminiscent of rates in the springtime. These are alarming numbers that may compel Governor Cooper to impose further restrictive measures on businesses and community and social gatherings.
New COVID-19 cases statewide have increased from a seven-day average of roughly 1,200 in mid-September to 2,700 as of Sunday, according to the NCDHHS. Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NCDHHS, has said that case counts in rural counties, which were largely spared earlier in the year, are driving the surge.
EVENT RISK ASSESSMENT: How Safe Is Your Thanksgiving Dinner?
Not to be outdone by Harvard, the Georgia Institute of Technology has released a map that enables people to determine what the risk is in their locality of at least one guest at their Thanksgiving gathering being COVID-19-positive.
See GIT’s COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool at: https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/.
Our manipulations of the map show that if you host a Thanksgiving gathering of 50 people in Dare County, you run a 49 percent risk that at least one COVID-19-positive person will attend. If you have just 10 people at your dinner, the risk falls to 12 percent. You can roughly calculate what GIT believes your risk would be for Thanksgiving parties with differing numbers of people.
The bottom line is you cannot assume you are safe from the virus if you invite people to dine with you who are not in your everyday household bubble.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 11/17/20