By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on January 18, 2022
According to the new Jan. 18 COVID update from the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there were 978 cases reported in the week from Jan. 10-16. That tops last week’s record-breaking high of 799 weekly cases and is almost double the 513 cases reported just two weeks ago.
The percentage of positive COVID tests recorded in the past week also rose to 47.54%, up modestly over the previous week’s 43.6% number. Put simply, it means that almost half of all tests are coming back positive now.
In addition, the DHHS reports that “the Omicron variant accounts for approximately 96% of the sequenced samples from our state and our region.”
Because Omicron is so highly contagious and appears to cause milder disease in many of those infected, the number of cases does not tell the whole story. In the Jan. 18 update, the DHHS reports that only 11 Dare County residents are currently hospitalized with the virus, down from 14 the week of Jan. 3-9. Also, there have been no new deaths reported in the past week.
One data point missing in the Jan. 18 update is the breakdown of overall weekly cases by vaccination status. In a response to the Voice, DHHS Director Sheila Davies indicated that part of the problem with reporting that data now is the sheer volume of cases.
“Due to the high number of positive cases and the unavailability of some data now due to the Mako [Drive-thru] testing, we can no longer calculate reliable ‘breakthrough’ case percentages, nor can we provide accurate data on symptomatic or not or close contacts,” she wrote. “In the past for sites where we were not provided this information, we could get it during contact tracing, but that is no longer feasible.
On Jan. 18, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) posted a grim statistic — the 20,000th COVID death since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The NCDHHS also reported 31,902 daily cases on Jan. 18, also reflecting the explosive growth of the number of cases in this Omicron surge. The percentage of positive COVID tests statewide, while not quite at the Dare County level, is highly elevated at 33.3%.
The one area where statewide and local numbers vary the most dramatically is in hospitalizations. While the number of Dare County residents hospitalized with COVID remains low, the statewide number reported on Jan. 18 was 4,630. By way of comparison, that is exactly 3,000 more people than the 1,630 hospitalized with COVID just one month earlier on Dec. 18.
The state numbers don’t delineate between those who are hospitalized because of COVID infections from those who test positive for COVID after being admitted for other reasons. But the dramatic spike in these numbers corresponds to the rapid spread of COVID in the general population.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING TO REVIEW PLANS FOR AN OUTER BANKS EVENT CENTER
County Dare, North Carolina
Dare County Tourism Board
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Visitors Bureau will hold a public meeting to review the plans for an Outer Banks Event Center. The meeting will take place on Monday, June 6, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Keeper’s Galley building at Haven on the Banks, 115 Dove Street, Nags Head North Carolina 27959.
Still in the conceptual phase, the Event Center is intended to provide suitable and flexible space for year-round events, concerts, sports, meetings, smaller tradeshows, galas and any number of other uses. Learn more about the benefits for visitors and residents and how the Event Center is planned to complement the new Soundside boardwalk that is being designed.
Staff will be on hand to answer any questions. For additional information, please visit our Event Center FAQ page.