March 20, 2020
The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina continues to increase each day. Currently, there are 137 confirmed cases in NC from 28 counties, including one in Pasquotank County. At this time, all but one case in NC has been traced to travel or direct contact with someone who has tested positive. Yesterday, there was an individual in Wilson County whose virus could not be traced to travel or direct contact which indicates the first case of community spread in our state.
While currently there are no individuals who have tested positive in Dare County, it is imperative that we all remain vigilant. To preserve public health and safety, everyone must use best practices for social distancing outlined by CDC and NCDHHS and encourage your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors to do the same. This includes staying home as much as possible, avoid discretionary travel and if you must go out, avoid crowded places. Put space between yourself and others (more than 6 feet) whenever possible.
Testing continues to be provided for individuals in Dare County who meet COVID-19 testing guidelines outlined by the CDC and NCDHHS. The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services is following the same communicable disease reporting practices the agency uses for other communicable diseases such as HIV, measles, or STDs. Only positive case numbers are released, not the number of patients tested. This decision is made to protect patient privacy. When we have a positive test result, we will share that information as quickly as possible.
Restrictions for Dare County visitors will remain in place until conditions and guidance from state and federal public health officials warrant revisions. Law enforcement is checking credentials at the checkpoints to ensure that government-issued IDs match the name listed on the entry permit or documentation being presented. In the interest of health and safety, please keep your window rolled up and place your documents against the windows for officers to view. Please respect the guidelines that have been established and do not try to access the county if you are a visitor. For entry guidelines, visit www.darenc.com/entry.
The Joint Information Center continues to work collectively to provide accurate and updated information from Dare County, the Towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo, the National Park Service, and other partners. Visit www.darenc.com/covid19 to access the latest information including a list of answers to frequently asked questions and links to sources for official information.
For updated information about accessing county services, visit www.darenc.com/covidservices.
Playgrounds and public restrooms operated by Dare County are closed to the public. Parks are open but it is important to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart. According to a recent study released from the National Institutes of Health, scientists found that the COVID-19 virus was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
Emergency Medical Services
Effective immediately, EMS cannot provide non-emergency patient assistance unless a verifiable medical appointment exists. Citizens may have requested this service in the past on a non-emergency basis to help them in and out of their home for a variety of reasons. For now, medical appointments will be verified and these requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis and only if resources are available.
The Outer Banks Hospital
The Outer Banks Hospital has implemented new visitor restrictions. Only one immediate family member over the age of 16 and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness may visit a patient at The Outer Banks Hospital and/or Medical Group clinic.
Starting today, Tuesday, March 17, The Outer Banks Hospital will begin screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness as they enter the Medical Office Building and Main Lobby. Patients and visitors with illness will be masked and asked to sanitize their hands prior to going to their appointment.
Surf Pediatrics and Medicine
Surf Pediatrics and Medicine will continue to see all of their patients in their practice; for both well and sick problems.
They will see well/non-sick patients in the Kitty Hawk office (252.255.5321).
They will see sick patients in the Kill Devil Hills office (252.449.5200).
They do have the ability to screen and test patients for suspected COVID-19 illness. Please continue to call them if you are a patient to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions.
PORT Health is open and providing services. Next week virtual counseling and groups will be offered. Please call 252.441.2324 for more information.
Cancellations, closings and the most current information from the towns and the National Park Service is available at www.darenc.com/covid19.