Davies warns of potential ‘rampant spread’ of COVID

By on July 2, 2020

27 recent Dare cases stemmed from one large party

(Dare County)

In recent days, the language and tone of Dare County Health and Human Services Director Sheila Davies have gotten more urgent as local cases have surged dramatically. This following is the message she released on the cusp of the July 4 holiday, one which not only counseled against “irresponsible behavior,” but called out  the “lack of cooperation” her team must deal with when trying to reach people for contact tracing.


As we head into the holiday weekend, I am very concerned about the potential for rampant spread of COVID-19 based on reckless and irresponsible behavior. The majority of our positive cases over the past 10 days have been the result of local spread. 27 cases are directly linked to spread that originated from individuals attending a large party, acquiring the virus and then spreading the virus to other friends and family members, one of whom is now hospitalized out of the area.

This virus remains highly contagious and very unpredictable. The hospital and urgent care centers are reporting that they are seeing a number of individuals who were originally asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic when they first tested now seeking medical care for worsening symptoms.

I remain very concerned that people may attend large gatherings over the holiday weekend and drop their guard for social distancing, wearing masks and using hand hygiene. Given the presence of the virus throughout our community this could lead to significant spread in the weeks ahead. I cannot stress enough how critically important it is to follow the guidance and NC Executive Orders. Do not host or attend indoor gatherings with more than 10 people or outdoor gatherings with more than 25 people. Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from individuals who you do not share a household with, wear a face covering if you cannot socially distance, and wash your hands frequently. THESE ARE ALL REALLY SIMPLE – PEOPLE JUST NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND DO THEM!

This week we have experienced some disturbing and irresponsible behavior from individuals who are being called by our team members regarding isolation and quarantine. We are required to contact individuals who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or determined to be a direct contact of a laboratory confirmed positive case. This week our callers have been hung up on and spoken to inappropriately when they have called. Additionally, people have refused to cooperate, refused to provide critical information for contact tracing and indicated they will not comply with quarantine and isolation orders.

As a result of this lack of cooperation, I have had no other alternative than to issue isolation and quarantine orders to a number of individuals. A quarantine order is issued to someone who has been identified as a direct contact of a laboratory confirmed positive case and requires the individual to stay at home for a minimum of 14 days. An isolation order is issued to an individual who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and that individual must stay in isolation until otherwise directed by the health department based on the presence of symptoms or time in isolation.

If you receive a call from our department, please be honest and cooperative. We are not making these calls because we think it is fun or because we have nothing better to do. We are making these calls because they are critical pieces of trying to control the spread of the virus. Our contact tracing and quarantine and isolation monitoring efforts can only be as good as the information we are provided. Likewise, the rate of COVID-19 infection in our community will be directly linked to how responsibly people act.

I know the July 4th holiday celebrations will look different this year, but if we all act responsibly, we can at least help protect our community from the further spread of COVID-19.


  • Peter

    “Additionally, people have refused to cooperate, refused to provide critical information for contact tracing and indicated they will not comply with quarantine and isolation orders.” I was under the impression this is a misdemeanor? If we’re not going enforce this, then the names of these folks need to be published. It’s is only fair that the public knows who to avoid, if these so-and-so’s don’t give a damn about anyone else. Why should they be protected? They have rights and we don’t? Sign of the times…young people are not what they used to be! Time to get tough! Deputize me please!

    Thursday, Jul 2 @ 6:18 pm
  • Angela Smith

    Kudos to the OBX lifeguards!!

    Got to witness an awesome rescue today on the beach. The life guard was amazing. She had to run down the beach at least 200 yards, swim out to the boogie boarder and then when dragged him back in. It was amazing. So impressed with the lifeguards here in OBX. Way to go!!!

    Thursday, Jul 2 @ 6:35 pm
  • Lou Briccant

    Stop talking to everyone on your videos like you’re the ruler of worlds and maybe people would be friendlier?

    What’s a quarantine/isolation order going to do? Are you going to put them in jail if they don’t comply? Some special jail only for infected violators?

    Thursday, Jul 2 @ 7:56 pm
  • Rage against the machine

    You invite 250,000/week here that have no respect for the people, the beach, or our home. That are here to party for one week to escape the doldrums of their miserable lives and now you’re shocked that cases are going up……hahaha. But that sweet money that keeps this news source from reporting deadly accidents, crime, rampant drug issues in the area and anything else, even censoring comments on articles, if it tarnishes the image of a “Family Vacation Destination” hahaha Family Vacation Destination? More like The Powder Banks.

    Thursday, Jul 2 @ 8:13 pm
  • Kristy Caton

    Family and close friends/aquatinted so called friends?? Please include more details. I understand “contract tracing”takes time, if the person is forthcoming but again I ask townships be included. That fact should be as simple as photo ID required for all medical care that we are accustomed to. Rampant community is much different. Please clarify.

    Thursday, Jul 2 @ 8:59 pm
  • Bud

    It confirmed by the community, spreading like wildfire. Island convenience is closed. Food Lion may have to close.
    Time to evacuate

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 8:38 am
  • EZdaPirate

    Do you really believe that contact tracing will work on OBX anyway? I doubt it helps with a quarter-million turnover of people each week?

    If you believe in the mask as a protective measure it makes it hard to listen. The decision to open the bridges and stop mask requirements always seemed a poor decision.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 8:42 am
  • kdh back seat observer

    Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, step inside, step inside, enjoy the show

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 9:34 am
  • Nap Lajoie

    “This week our callers have been hung up on and spoken to inappropriately when they have called. Additionally, people have refused to cooperate, refused to provide critical information for contact tracing and indicated they will not comply with quarantine and isolation orders.”—Lady, get a subpoena or warrant. Mind your own business. It is a person’s right not to answer questions and you cannot force them into house arrest if they refuse to answer. Take them to court.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 9:39 am
  • AndyM

    Our health director is a resonable person doing her job. She can not help to be alarmed by the data that her department has collected.

    The consequences of action or inaction are not obvious because the virus can be spread by people who do not know that they have it. Also, outside of the medical community there is little direct visibility to how seriously it has effected the health care system.

    The only way to stop it is for people to follow the rules which a lot of us are not great at. Maybe we can try and do it for our parents and grandparents.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 9:46 am
  • Luminous

    @Lou Briccant: I disagree. At least on this video (I haven’t seem them all), Dr. Davies’ message and manner of delivery are completely appropriate. She’s not being unduly heavy handed here. She does have legal authority to order quarantine or isolation subject to a court appeal. Violation of those orders is a misdemeanor in NC subject to citation and even jail, though I agree, jail would not be anyone’s first choice. I don’t know about NC, but other areas of the US are in fact issuing fines for this, some quite high.

    @Peter: Under NC statute, the identity of people who have been legally quarantined or isolated can be disclosed to law enforcement but cannot be released to the public.

    Here’s an April 2020 email to NC sheriffs discussing all this and citing the applicable state laws: https://ncsheriffs.org/wp-content/uploads/4.11.20-Quarantine-Orders-and-Isolation-Orders-Law-Enforcements-Authority.pdf

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 10:49 am
  • Cola Vaughan

    For Kristy Caton or anyone else interested. The zip code of persons testing positive is reported on the State of NC covid-19 webite. The zip codes for Hatteras Island do not sequence or aren’t similar to the zip codes for the northern banks. A single zip code like 27959 may cover 3 towns like Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck. Still its some information. Finding this info on the NC state site is also a little tricky. Maybe the Voice could runa piece on how to better inform ourselves?

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 12:44 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Hi Cola, the state does list cases by zip code. The problem is that at this point, the state numbers for Dare County (64) are only about half of what the county itself has reported (126). So I’m not sure how valuable that zip code breakdown is as a real indicator of where the cases have been.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 6:29 pm
  • TerryStory

    This was a totally predictable consequence of allowing 200,000 visitors/ wk into our community. They do not care about the results of their irresponsible behavior. Dare County put money before the best interests of its residents. I have never been so disappointed in the officials of any county. If this situation is surprising to anyone, I wonder about the degree of your ignorance. It saddens me that irresponsible visitors seem to be more important than our residents. But, as usual, money is guiding the decisions.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 1:06 pm
  • outis

    This is where the phrase (or song) “Party till you drop” seems appropriate. Or even better, the song “Party till you die”.
    And yes, let everyone know who these people are that won’t cooperate with the contact tracing, or will not comply with the quarantine and isolation orders, so we can all go let them know how we feel about that. Then they will be begging to be isolated.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 1:08 pm
  • OBXOwner

    Rage against the machine
    If you will just read, the problem is locals! People that spend thousands to prop up your economy are responsible and follow the rules, tell your neighbors to do the same and all will be well!

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 2:04 pm
  • Bud

    Dare County’s plans for virus spreading is working better than expected. Now it’s everywhere.
    Time to shelter at home until the evacuation

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 4:54 pm
  • hightider

    Just wait til the tourists have to go home. Many states including NY, CT, MA, and NJ are enforcing 14 day quarantines for all residents who are returning from several hot spot states, NC included. If you have plans to come here, don’t.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 7:39 pm
  • Kristy Caton

    Thank you Cola Vaughn, for the tip. Zip codes are general, here on the OBX. Townships should be included in stats. It does not violate patient privacy but makes the public more informed.

    Friday, Jul 3 @ 9:02 pm
  • Josh

    This situation is not unique to outer banks. Until law enforcement decides to get serious things will continue.

    Saturday, Jul 4 @ 12:22 am
  • Chicken little

    There are 32 active cases in dare county…. out of a quarter million different people here every week. I think we’re doing pretty damn good so stop trying to scare everybody to death

    Saturday, Jul 4 @ 9:33 am