Michael Watkins of Mako Laboratories, Raleigh, prepares a COVID-19 test for an Ocracoke resident. Photo by Brenda Kremser

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Editor’s note: The photos have been updated since this story was first published.

By Connie Leinbach

A mass testing event for COVID-19 in the National Park Service parking lot on Ocracoke on Wednesday yielded no positive cases, Hyde County Health Director Luana Gibbs said today.

“There are still zero cases on Ocracoke,” she said in an interview.

Gibbs said 58 were tested on Wednesday by staff from Mako Laboratories, Raleigh. Results were conveyed to the clients Friday afternoon. A total of 64 had registered for a test out of a permanent population of about 1,100.

The event was conducted according to reservation times and the last reservation was taken for 12:40 p.m. 

That’s because the Mako staff had to pack up their equipment to get on the 1:30 Swan Quarter ferry, but Gibbs said the company has made it clear they will help if the county wants more mass testing.

Misty Gibbs, Hyde Health preparedness coordinator, who with two of the health department staff, organized the testing, said that only 21 people took advantage of the mass testing when it was held on the mainland a few weeks ago.

“People are scared to take it in case they have to quarantine,” she said.

Luana Gibbs said the state COVID-19 dashboard is always behind the real-time numbers.

She confirmed that as of 4 p.m. Friday, Hyde County had a total of 52 cases to date, with 15 active/positive cases and 37 recoveries. Two of the active cases have or have been hospitalized and there have been no deaths from the novel coronavirus.

Gibbs cautioned that just because no one tested positive on Ocracoke doesn’t mean we can let our guard down or that it’s not here.

“Don’t become complacent,” she said. “We need to treat this as if everyone is infected” and follow the “Three Ws”: Wear a face covering; Wash your hands frequently; and Wait six feet apart from others.

“Just because I’m wearing a mask is not because its been dictated,” she said. “I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Hyde County Health Department staff register Ocracoke Islanders for COVID-19 tests on Aug. 12. From left are Patricia Spencer, Misty Gibbs and Annette Swindell. Photo: C. Leinbach
Mako Laboratory staff are, from left, Paul Walker, Natalie Allen and Michael Watkins. Photo: C. Leinbach

For reliable COVID-19 information, visit the NC Department of Health & Human Services website here.

7 COMMENTS

  1. It is misleading to say the island is virus free; as you poi t out only 58 people were tested out of 1000 residents, so there are 942 question marks about the existence of the virus. With the count climbing in Hyde County and Dare, it is magical thinking to claim the island is virus free.

  2. I tested positive on ocracoke island. My results came back yesterday 8/13/2020. I was tested via health center on Tuesday 8/11/2020.

    • Thanks for this and that info might not have gotten to the Hyde Health Department yet, but as of 4 p.m. yesterday, that was the info the health department had. Sorry to hear about you and we hope you recover fully!

  3. Melanie, thank you SO much for your honesty about your diagnosis here on Ocracoke. And, we can’t thank you enough for your empathy. Would you please tell us where you might have been on the island, and what businesses you visited, so that we can better protect ourselves. Seriously, I hope you fare well. If you could contact the realty company where you stayed so they can take extra precautions, that would be exceptionally helpful. Best wishes.

  4. Thank you, thank you so much for your honesty on this comment page Melanie.

    I agree that we should get some tracing done here on the island. Any information would be helpful.

    We all wish you a speedy recovery.
    Mickey Baker

    • Also, all. Understand that the protocol for visitors who test positive is that they are to leave the island. Then Hyde Health will work on contact tracing, etc. But, it’s the weekend today… We’ll find out more information tomorrow: Monday, Aug. 17. Thank you.

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