(I know I got this photo right.)

Dare County today reported a 35-percent increase in new COVID-19 cases for the past week over the previous week’s new-case total—from 40 cases to 54 cases—marking the third consecutive week that the number of people who tested positive locally for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has increased.

The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 among the total tests administered during the week of July 13-20—the so-called positivity rate—also increased, rising to 12.1 percent from the previous week’s 11.3 percent.

(See The Beacon, 7/14/21.)

Dare County residents accounted for 47, or 87 percent, of the 54 new cases, and seven nonresidents accounted for the remaining 13 percent, according to an online update posted today by the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services, which also announced two County-sponsored “back-to-school” vaccination clinics next week for persons age 12 and older.

The County will administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in adolescents and requires two doses, the second one of which is given three weeks after the first.

“Epidemiological data,” the DCDHHS said in today’s update, indicate that both the State of North Carolina and Dare County are “at the beginning of another surge in COVID-19 infections.” The DCDHHS did not elaborate further on this data, however.

The Delta variant of the virus, which is “significantly more contagious” than other variants and is marked by the onset of different symptoms, “is believed to be prevalent in Dare County,” the DCDHHS said, although prevalence has not yet confirmed. (See The Beacon, 7/14/21.)

In last week’s update, the health department said that the results of genomic sequencing of local virus samples sent to the State for analysis had not yet been received. The DCDHHS did not report any sequencing results today.

Of the 54 new COVID-19 cases, according to the DCDHHS, 80 percent were symptomatic; 94 percent acquired the virus by direct contact with people who were not vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19; and 17 percent were “breakthrough cases,” meaning they acquired the virus despite being vaccinated against it.

Of the nine breakthrough cases, three people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; three received the Moderna vaccine; and three received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.    

So far, 28 breakthrough cases have been reported in Dare County since “the onset of providing vaccinations,” the DCDHHS said in its update.

As was true of the previous week’s 40 new COVID-19 cases, this week’s 54 cases run the gamut in age—from the 17-and-under age group to the 65-and-older age group—although the majority (37 of 54) were under age 50.

Eight people age 17-and-under, all residents, tested positive for COVID-19, as did four Dare residents who are age 65-and-older.

The DCDHHS continues to promote vaccinations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reports that 60 percent of Dare’s population was fully vaccinated as of July 18. It reported the same figure last week: Fewer than 100 more locals became fully vaccinated during the week of July 12-18.

The DCDHHS will offer two back-to-school vaccination clinics this month, the first on Thursday, July 29, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Buxton, and the second in Nags Head from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

To register for an appointment at one of the clinics and for more information, see COVID-19 Vaccine | Dare County, NC (darenc.com)

You may access the DCDHHS’s update here: DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #104 | Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Coronavirus | Dare County, NC (darenc.com)

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 7/20/21

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