DCDHHS COVID-19 Update #127
Tuesday 7 December 2021
Dare County COVID-19 Case Update
The number of new COVID-19 cases and the percentage of positive tests out of the total number of tests have both increased in the past week. Dare County remains in the red category on the CDC’s Level of Community Transmission map, indicating a high level of community transmission of the virus. 93 out of 100 counties in NC fall into the red category.
While Dare County remains an area of widespread community transmission, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, age 5 and older must wear a mask when indoors in public facilities. Everyone should consider wearing a mask outside when gathering in large crowds. Individuals 5 years and older should be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.
The total number of new positive cases reported in Dare County in the past week was 125. The majority of new cases were acquired through direct contact with friends or family members who were positive or symptomatic. Of the 125 new cases last week:
109 (87%) are symptomatic
105 (84%) got the virus through direct contact with someone who was positive for COVID-19.
97 (78%) were not vaccinated. Of the 28 vaccinated cases: 3 had J&J vaccine; 16 had Moderna and 9 had Pfizer).
Currently, there are 72 active COVID-19 cases among Dare County residents. 4 residents have been hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.
The reported positive cases only include laboratory-confirmed cases reported by medical providers, emergency care centers, hospital or state, including tests conducted at pharmacies in the region. Self-reported, over-the-counter home tests are not included in the reported count totals, but contact tracing is performed for the positive self-reported cases. If a person tests positive more than once (ie tests again and still positive), it will only be counted as one case.
Flu and COVID-19
Unlike COVID-19, seasonal flu, flu, is not classified as a mandatory notification disease, but regional health departments, medical providers and hospitals monitor flu activity through syndromic surveillance. Reports from the Outer Banks Hospital and medical providers in the area, as well as data from the NC DHHS, indicate that while flu circulation remains generally low, there have been increased levels of influenza A (H2N2) locally and statewide in recent weeks. detected. In addition, there are a handful of locally reported cases of concomitant influenza A and COVID-19 infections. Historically, the predominant seasons of influenza A(H3N2) have often been associated with more severe flu seasons, especially in older adults and young children. While the intensity of the 2021-2022 flu season is uncertain, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk that the healthcare system will come under pressure as both viruses circulate.
Persons 6 months and older are encouraged to be vaccinated against the flu. You can contact the health department, pharmacy, or local health care provider to get your vaccine. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the spread of flu and can reduce the risk of serious illness with hospitalizations and deaths. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered during the same visit. While it is unknown what the vaccine effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine will be, the A(H3N2) component was recently updated and is genetically similar to the A(H3N2) viruses currently circulating.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19 two weeks or later after receiving the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, it is considered a breakthrough case. Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who will still get sick, be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. According to the CDC, there is some evidence that vaccination may make the disease less severe for those who have been vaccinated and still get sick.
Since the week of April 12, when the first breakthrough case was reported, 3,382 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Dare County. 2,673 (80%) of those cases were not or not fully vaccinated. Of the 689 breakthrough cases:
417 residents and 272 non-residents
263 were asymptomatic; 278 reported mild symptoms and 50 reported moderate symptoms
3 were hospitalized
135 had the J&J vaccine
287 had the Moderna vaccine
264 had the Pfizer vaccine
3 had Astrazeneca
The integers quoted above are for informational purposes and are not indicative of the efficacy of one vaccine compared to another. Note that the Moderna vaccine is the main vaccine administered by Dare DHHS. The distribution of the COVID 19 vaccines administered by Dare DHHS is: 5% J&J, 24% Pfizer and 71% Moderna.
COVID vaccinations in Dare
All individuals 5 years and older are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available at numerous locations in the county, including the health department and many area pharmacies such as: Walgreens, CVS, Sunshine Family Pharmacy, Island Pharmacy, Bear Drugs, and Beach Pharmacy.
Persons 5 years and older should be vaccinated, regardless of whether you have already had COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected against getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you will be reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost to protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. If you have been treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you must wait 90 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure what treatments you’ve received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of the end of December 2020, a total of 26,958 (73%) of eligible Dare County residents have received a starting dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 25,850 (70%) have been fully vaccinated.
Information about COVID-19 booster dose
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended booster vaccinations for all adults 18 years and older to strengthen and extend protection against COVID-19.
If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get your booster dose six months after your second injection. If you received the J&J vaccine, you can get your booster two months after your injection.
Dare County Department of Health & Human Services offers Moderna booster vaccines. Below is a breakdown of where Dare County residents can get the first, second, and booster doses.
First, second or booster dose of Moderna
You can call your local pharmacy or call our Clinical Services team at 252.475.5003 (select option #2, leave a message when you reach voicemail).
First dose or booster dose J&J
Call your local pharmacy.
First, Second, or Booster Dose of Pfizer
Call your local pharmacy.
For more information or questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, visit www.darenc.com.COVID/vaccine
Every week we review the 4 most important metrics related to disease research and monitoring. The statistics are:
In the past week, 793 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were reported in Dare County. That brings the total number of tests performed since the beginning of March last year to 60,494. There were 125 positive cases between November 29 and December 5. The percentage of positive tests relative to overall tests in Dare County since we began testing in March 2020 has remained relatively stable over the past seven weeks. Last week it was 10.73%. The percentage of positive tests relative to the total number of tests for the past week has increased from the previous week to 15.76%. Syndromic surveillance of individuals exhibiting COVID-like symptoms in the emergency department and emergency care centers has increased, but still shows a low level of activity. These charts can be found on the Dare County website at www.darenc.com/covid19.
Sharing communication and information
Dare County DHHS has an established communication schedule to share information about COVID-19. A written update is issued every Tuesday with key COVID-19 stats from the previous week. Additional updates will be released as needed. All released videos and written updates can be found on our website, the DHHS Facebook page, the Dare County Twitter page and the Dare Emergency Management Twitter page. If you would like to receive these updates directly to your email, please sign up to receive our notifications.
New positive cases this week will be updated on the dashboard and on our website and shared on the DHHS facebook page from Monday to Friday. For the most current information on COVID-19 cases in Dare County, visit www.darenc.com/covid19. Status COVID-19 data is available at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.
We encourage you to stay informed by visiting www.darenc.com/covid19 or by visiting the CDC or NC DHHS websites. If you have specific needs or questions, you may also call the Dare County COVID-19 Call Center, open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 252-475-5008.