New state COVID alert system unveiled

By on November 17, 2020

Dare, Currituck classified as ‘orange’ counties

State officials today unveiled a County Alert System to try and combat the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the state and have categorized Dare as an as “orange county” — meaning there is substantial community spread of the virus here.

Currituck County is also designated as an orange county while Hyde is a yellow county, meaning it has   significant spread of the virus. (Every county in the state is at least in yellow mode. Orange and red are the next steps up.)

“The new County Alert System shows our state’s viral hotspots,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

It was another day of sobering numbers statewide as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 3,288 new cases on Nov. 17. Hospitalizations hit a new record at 1,501 and the percentage of positive tests out of all tests administered continued its steady rise, reaching 8.6% today.

At the Nov. 17 briefing introducing the new coding system, Cooper said that “North Carolina’s metrics are increasing, but not surging.” But there is a sense of growing urgency at the state level and Cooper today, more explicitly than he has in recent memory, raised the specter of the state going backward to re-impose restrictions that had been lifted if the numbers continue to worsen.

The new alert system categorizes a county based on three metrics — the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days: the percentage of positive tests over a 14-day ; and a group of hospital impact measures that include the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, COVID-related visits to emergency rooms and hospital capacity.

The data for Dare County show it with a rate of 386.4 cases per 100,000 residents, a 14-day positive rate of 8.3% and moderate hospital impact. For Currituck County, the numbers posted for the new alert system are 180.1 cases per 100,000 people, an 8.5% positive rate, and low hospital impact. In Hyde County, there are 81.0 cases per 100,000 people, a 3.4% positive rate and a low hospital impact.

For the third day in a row, on Nov. 17, the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services reported 10 new cases of COVID-19. And in an update issued Tuesday, the department also reported that the percentage of positive tests in the last week had jumped up to 9.44%, the highest level in the county since the beginning of the pandemic.

And even as Dare County is moving back to all virtual learning on Nov. 18, the Dare County Schools reported on Nov. 17 that going back to last Friday, there have been three new COVID-19 cases — one at Manteo High and two at First Flight Elementary — that have required more than 75 direct contacts to begin quarantining.

For counties that are in either the orange or red group (which means critical community spread), the state is advising people to:

  • Limit mixing between households and limit the number of people in your social circle.
  • Avoid settings where people congregate.
  • Consider doing takeout and eating outdoors socially distanced at restaurants.
  • Stay at home as much as possible if you are a high-risk individual.
  • Reduce public interactions to essential activities like going to work or school, caring for family members or buying food.

In remarks at the Nov. 17 briefing, Cooper, while acknowledging that COVID fatigue has set in, pleaded with residents to continue observing precautions amid good news on vaccine progress.

“Letting the virus win now, with vaccines coming so soon,” he said, “is like punting at the ten-yard line.”

Today’s statewide NC coronavirus numbers

  • Total reported NC cases – 317,495
  • New cases reported today – 3,288
  • Reported deaths – 4,852
  • Currently hospitalized – 1,501
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases hospitalized in past 24 hours – 300 (up 45 since yesterday)
  • Confirmed COVID-19 case hospitalized in past 24 hours – 186 (up 33 from yesterday)
  • Adults in ICU with COVID-19 – 370 (up 10 from yesterday)
  • Patients presumed to be recovered – 276,132   
  • Reported cases in Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties – 1,379 (Dare 914, Currituck 285, Hyde 180)
  • Completed tests – 4,682,064
  • Daily percent positive tests – 8.6%

Note: Every morning, the NC Department of Health and Human Services posts updates the number of reported cases of coronavirus. That number reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all hospital and commercial labs. There may be other reports, from the media and elsewhere, that will include different numbers during a given day, but this is an effective way of tracking numbers from the same source on a day-to-day basis.


Link to Covid-19 North Carolina Dashboard
Link to County Alert System report


On 5/27/2010 Edge Spectrum, Inc was granted a license by the FCC to serve the public interest in BUXTON, NC as a public trustee of WHOB-LD until 12/1/2020 when it expires. WHOB-LD Channel 50 filed an FCC renewal application for our 2.5 kW station transmitting from BUXTON, NC and serving the BUXTON area on 8/3/2020. Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application and to whether this station has operated in the public interest should file comments and petitions with the FCC. Information about the FCC broadcast license renewal process is available from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.



  • Henny-Penny

    Henny-Penny: The Sky is Falling!

    Tuesday, Nov 17 @ 8:30 pm
  • Dethrol

    To paraphrase Joseph Stalin: It’s not the people who have the virus that count. It’s the people who count the cases that counts…. The numbers provided to the public by the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services on the County’s dashboard (and published in the Voice) reflect 201 cases between their report on October 31 and November 16. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that the total number of cases in Dare County is 548 (over the last 14 days). Just a few days ago, those who count the cases came up with a new way to count, with little or no explanation for the benefit of changing the way things are counted. ABRACADABRA, the State introduces new methodology to impose continued tyranny on citizens. Anybody else find it odd that there are no counties in North Carolina categorized as “Insignificant” and represented with the palest of colors on the map? Anybody else find it odd that the numbers don’t match?

    Tuesday, Nov 17 @ 9:20 pm
  • anotherobxman

    Doering said she has covid-19 patients who need 100-percent-oxygen breathing assistance and who will also swear they don’t have the illness that has ended the lives of nearly a quarter-million people in the United States since February.

    “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real,’” Doering said, adding that some patients prefer to believe that they have pneumonia or other diseases rather than covid-19, despite seeing their positive test results.

    Don’t look up, Henny Penny.

    Tuesday, Nov 17 @ 10:32 pm
  • RAJ

    Has anyone seen any enforcement of people not wearing a mask in Dare County stores? The signs on the entrance doors say “MASKS REQUIRED”. All the stores I shop I see people not wearing masks. D.C. either enforce your mandate or stores remove the signs!

    (this comment is NOT about whether masks work or not)

    Wednesday, Nov 18 @ 7:33 am
  • Thinking About the Future

    Thank you for this article and the important links, as well. Science and facts matter. Keep up the factual news coverage!

    Wednesday, Nov 18 @ 8:20 am