‘I am telling you that we are in a crisis’

By on August 28, 2021

Message from OBX Hospital Chief of Staff on school masks

Dr. Daniel Dwyer

On Sept. 1, the Dare County Board of Education will convene in a special meeting to discuss its decision earlier this month to approve optional masking in school rather than universal masking.  On Aug. 27, the neighboring Currituck County Board of Education voted unanimously to reverse its earlier decision and instead require masks in schools.

In recent days, there has been a flurry of emails between local health officials and members of the Dare Board of Education and Dare County Schools officials. This one, released through a records request, is from Outer Banks Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Daniel Dwyer.


Dear Fellow Community Leaders,

As Chief of Staff for close to 350 providers through The Outer Banks Hospital, I write to request that you urgently mandate masking for Dare County students until this Delta variant surge is no longer a threat.

The Delta variant has proved to be more transmissible and harmful to those it infects, including children. It is imperative we do all we can to protect our students, many of whom are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Masks are a simple and effective measure that can make schools a safer place for students to learn. This does not have to be an academic year decision. Instead, I’m urging you to make a strategic decision to help get this immediate threat under control now.

Last year at this time, there were 21 cases of COVID-19 in Dare County. Today there are over 250 with a variant so contagious that each positive individual likely spreads the virus to six other people. In just the first week of the school year, we’ve witnessed children testing positive for COVID-19 and many being quarantined. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Vidant Medical Center is full and Children’s Hospital of The Kings Daughters is currently stacking patients. All beds are occupied at The Outer Banks Hospital and we’re having an increasingly difficult time transferring patients who require a higher level of care because hospitals throughout the region are also operating at-capacity. Some patients are waiting several days in the Emergency Department for care.

Staffing shortages have forced us to reduce hours at both Outer Banks Urgent Care facilities in Kitty Hawk and Nags Head effective this Saturday, Aug. 28 so that we can continue serving the community while still caring for our frontline teams.

I don’t have to tell you that these challenges have a direct effect on the health outcomes of patients. Hospitalizations of those suffering from COVID-19 means there are fewer beds and resources for our community members experiencing other serious health challenges.

Our children look to us to keep them safe. Many of them hold a special place in my heart because I delivered them at our hospital. My hope for each of them then and now is that they remain safe and have every opportunity to experience an excellent education.

As a physician, husband, father, and community member, I am telling you that we are in a crisis. We must make difficult decisions now in order to save lives. Following CDC recommendations for masking in schools will go a long way toward keeping students in school, and teachers and parents at work. If we do not do so, our local healthcare workforce and services will be adversely impacted as students who are not masked will require testing, quarantine and possibly hospitalization.

I look forward to partnering with you to keep our students in the classroom and local access to healthcare strong for everyone who needs it.


Daniel Dwyer, MD

Chief of Staff
The Outer Banks Hospital

SEE ALSO: OBX Hospital announces changes in Urgent Care hours






  • Make em Scared

    Before you read this, take a moment to separate yourself from your implicit biases that have been reinforced by the constant drone of media crafted for you and your habits and opinions which you willingly give away for free on all of your “smart” devices.

    When will the hysteria around this end? We’ve all become overnight virus experts spouting off numerous stats that are limited in their reach. The infected numbers are much higher and have always been – our ability to collect the data and analyze is better now which is driving our ability to detect it more frequently. Sure it’s slightly more contagious but it will not stop here. Then there will be a lamda variant, kappa variant, sigma variant, etc. Coronaviruses will not be eradicated thru a relatively new vaccination mRNA technology, but their mass experiment on humanity will have a lot more data points for which they can write more papers on and acquire more funding that will ultimately drive pharmaceuticals bottom lines thru the roof. These are the same guys that love to hand out legal opioids to anyone in “pain”.

    We cannot fear the unknown and we cannot be scared to die. Does anyone even think for a second how risky it is to drive, especially on 158 daily, multiple times a day, making left turns? Statistically it is surely more dangerous. How many folks have died in dare county since the onset of the “pandemic”? Sure many have contracted it, fewer have gotten trauma-level sick and I think only 15-20 people have died? We need to stop the hype. They want to keep your mind occupied and worried. They want to dehumanize our interactions, make us faceless, categorize us as emojis or online avatars. Pit us versus them, take away our ability to gather in groups, remove families from each other, reinforce emotionless stoic philosophy. They want you to get online more, gossip about covid or what trump said, get more ads pushed in your face, buy more shit you don’t need and become the funding for jeff bezos rocket fuel.

    The world is a sad place when everyone is scared – we need to love each other and our planet. It’s always been survival of the fittest. The earth is telling us something and we need to listen or else we will all perish from something that is actually very dangerous. This is nothing like World War II so please stop acting like you are some kind of hero.

    Time to wake the fart up both vaxxed and unvaxxed – they want your mind and your money so they can train the machines to replace the sick and contagious human race. Can’t wait to get my covid booster juice every 6 months, surely that’s sustainable for the rest of my life and my newborn son’s entire life.

    How do you control the people? Make em scared! Sadly, they’ve infected the minds of the rational and now it’s based on “science”.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 7:55 am
  • RAJ

    First we need to stop calling the government Covid vaccine a vaccine. Vaccines provide immunity. The Covid vaccine does not. Call it a Covid shot like the flu shot.

    Second why aren’t we scanning children outside of the school building? We have the technology to scan multiple people at a time. Those with a fever are sent to sick room for further evaluation. I’m sure Dr. Dwyer and his staff of 300 could volunteer 1 hour in the morning to triage students. If I had the medical skills I’d be there.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 8:08 am
  • John Boy Billy

    You can’t mask your way to immunity. According to the NIH, COVID has a diameter of 0.1 microns. Also from the NIH, cloth masks allow particles with a 10 micron diameter through.

    According to the CDC, since April there has been only 1 death from someone under 17 with COVID in ALL of North Carolina.

    Unless your kid is obese or has an immunocompromised system, let him/her get it, cough a few days and get on with life.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 8:10 am
  • Shelly

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 8:20 am
  • Mama

    As a parent of a child too young to be vaccinated, my concerns are not merely related to mortality rate. I think about the potential long term complications on my child’s health, the potential disruptions to our work/home life if they catch it at school and bring it home, the risks to our elder family members and high risk friends, and the impact of continuing to transmit the virus within our community burdening our healthcare resources.

    Remote school is not a “separate but equal” option for the children. It is far more damaging to my child emotionally and scholastically than wearing a mask would be to yours.

    Wearing a mask is not hard for most people – and the discomfort is a small price to pay to help move us closer to being on the other side of this. And I agree with Dr. Dwyer – there is an immediate need now. Our community can reassess as the data changes. Remember “flatten the curve” – now is the time.

    Additionally, masks are not merely about protecting the wearer. They serve as effective “source control” – or stopping the spread of the virus to others if the person wearing the mask is the one infected.

    The lack of concern for other people’s welfare is the most disheartening thing within this whole discussion.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 8:36 am
  • Billsnc


    Yeah, I’m sure if they’re cutting hours at the urgent care due to staffing issues, and the ER is at capacity, they have plenty of free time to drive to each school and triage school children each and every day….

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 9:51 am
  • Jack

    So tired of the willful ignorance masquerading a bravery, the Facebook physicians who think they understand vaccines , the rampant selfishness that is helping this to spread. Idiotic and selfish comments like ‘unless their obese, just let them get it an cough for a couple days’. Absolutely moronic. What you’re really saying is let them spread it to others who might be seriously affected by this and roll the dice that they themselves have no long term impact because I’m too selfish to wear a mask and couch the selfishness as some kind bravery or resistance to government overreach. You wear clothes outside, don’t you, guess what government say you have to and you do it. Same for taxes, seat belt, etc. If you understand nothing else, you’re not brave, your not smarter than the rest, you are just selfish and intellectually lazy.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 3:49 pm
  • Steve Railsback

    When I want my epidemiological information and can’t get to CNN, the next best thing is a small-town OB/GYN! After all, that’s why they call medicine “practice”!

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 4:49 pm
  • Travis

    Maybe Dr. Dwyer would consider opening the hospital for tours for the thick headed types that continue to downplay Covid. They should probably sign a waver refusing treatment in the event they themselves fall ill. Shouldn’t be a problem since it’s just a little flu and all a hoax anyway, right?
    Who am I kidding? These are the new flat-earthers. No amount of logic, persuasion or even anecdotal experience is going to change their minds.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 5:53 pm
  • Billsnc

    Well said Jack!

    A medical Dr (who went to school for a decade) said wear a mask, and there’s people on here (who probably struggled to finish high-school) disagreeing with him, because they read some qanon mom on a Facebook page said it doesn’t work. Think about how ridiculous that sounds.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 7:15 pm
  • Just a mom

    To Jack and the likes…
    Even if you got rid of all of us who don’t believe in wearing masks…the terrible irony would be you would still get sick. People would still die. Such is life on planet Earth. How is it that it makes you all feel empowered to blame such natural situations such as contracting a virus on someone else or some group. Breathe. Pray . Hope you live. You likely will and all your anxiety and blame and will be for nothing.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 8:05 pm
  • OBX Born

    the Dr., is a pretty smart guy and happen to deliver my child, who is now at college and they have to wear mask in class. I understand it is hard for the younger children but Jr. High and High School should be able to do it. If it keeps one person for getting sick it’s worth it.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 10:11 pm
  • susan vaughan


    It won’t hurt to inform the public of the info in this study regarding ways to counter the hypersecretion of mucous occurring with COVID infections
    Kept me out of the hospital.
    Green tea. Turmeric and ginger . I did all three. My cough and uncontrollable secretions stopped almost immediately and recovery quickly followed.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 12:58 am
  • made up

    A dog had his chain reduced one link at a time, every few days, until his chain was so short he could barely move. He never resisted because he was conditioned to the loss of is freedom slowly, over time. It’s happening to America! Wake up

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 5:39 am
  • kdh back seat reviewer

    Close the bridge again, that’ll work

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 8:02 am
  • sandflea

    Just a mom;
    Serious question; what is your background in healthcare? Are you a Infectious Disease expert? Maybe you have a Phd in Microbiology or Public Health. How many research articles have you written and how many times have you been published in any journals. Have you contributed to any text books? How many hours of continuing education do you have to take per year. You seem to know more than the experts that I know as you dispute their advice. Btw, if you are in ICU wIth COVID, its extremely hard to breathe.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 8:19 am
  • Billsnc

    @just a mom

    But why don’t you “believe in wearing masks”? Dr Dwyer is an MD who took semesters on top of semesters of college/graduate level biology, chemistry, anatomy (and God knows what else) etc. telling you that it’s what’s best. And by the way, he’s not some one-off doctor telling you this, almost EVERY SINGLE Dr is saying the SAME THING. Do you not even for a second realize how ridiculous that sounds??

    Masks are PART OF a strategy/layers of defense. Will a mask alone give you a 100% chance of not catching it? Of course not! But, if everyone wears one, keeps distance, gets vaccinated etc. it will lessen the transmission overall.

    People “feel empowered to blame” because, like I said, almost every expert in the medical and scientific communities is in agreement with this, and you guys refuse to show an iota of regard for anyone but yourselves by not following what the experts are saying. The science doesn’t care “what you believe”, and your carelessness/disregard for others potentially negatively affects every person you have incidental contact with.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 10:10 am
  • sandflea

    made up:
    Your metaphor doesn’t make sense. Since the dog was already on a leash, it wasn’t free in the first place. Plus, its a dog, not a human. People that drink the same kool aid and get their “news” from Facebook, Chinese or Iranian websites will be gaslighted into believing an alternative reality and disavow facts. Its happening to a certain population in America and they are getting sick and dying everyday in addition to clogging up our emergency rooms and ICU’s that people with real emergencies and conditions need.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 2:24 pm
  • Lucky one

    I am one of the lucky ones. Recently I needed the services the Outer Banks Hospital emergency room. I was seen promptly, with excellent care. Then I needed surgery two weeks later, again with excellent care. If our hospital was overwhelmed with covid patients, I hate to think what might have happened. I will be an American and do my best to stop the spread of this wretched virus. We are lucky to have a great facility at the OBX Hospital and the staff.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 3:44 pm
  • Manteo Parent

    I would like to know from the Chief of Staff the count of children being sent off to other hospitals for COVID. Also, can OBX Voice investigate if there was a letter sent to the commissioner from this same individual asking for mask mandates for everyone including tourists because of this crisis.

    Tuesday, Aug 31 @ 7:51 am