By Connie Leinbach
Hyde County Health Department Director Luana Gibbs today confirmed that Ocracoke has an active COVID-19 case and that the person is hospitalized.
Gibbs said she would issue a press release on Tuesday afternoon with the breakdown in cases for Hyde County. According to the Health Department, there are now 79 total cases to date with 28 active cases and 51 recoveries.
Gibbs said she could give no further information on the positive Ocracoke case but said the department is doing “all the proper contact tracing.”
She noted that the numbers her department releases on its Facebook page will differ from those on the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services Covid-19 dashboard because they release their numbers at 11 a.m. daily and Hyde Health updates theirs at 3 p.m.
For example, today, the DHHS COVID-19 dashboard says Hyde has a total of 77 cases.
The reporting of test results also is complicated, she said, with who the laboratories doing the test report the results to—the state and the medical offices that order the tests.
“Hyde County Health might get a report before the DHHS,” she said.
She said her staff has been updating the Facebook page daily but will cease to do so on the weekends as of this week. This change has to do with manpower, she said.
“I have people working weekends since March,” she said. “They’re getting tired and worn out and we’re just getting ramped up.”
Every one of her staff is helping with contact tracing, she said, which involves gathering all the contact information of everyone a positive person has been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to their showing symptoms or receiving a positive result. If the contact doesn’t answer their phone, they have to be called back. All contacts have to be educated about the virus.
Then, when the people with positive cases come out of quarantine, the tracing follows for 10 or 14 days more, she said.
“There’s a lot more to it,” she said about the work.
Health workers have known from the beginning that someone can test negative one day and positive the next.
That’s because “your body might not have enough virus in it (at the time of the test) for it to show up,” she said.
Are there any updates yet as to was this an employee, resident, etc. We were there last week and just want to know if it was anyone that we may have been in contact with.
The county has told me they will not disperse information on non-residents who test positive on Ocracoke. Also, the island knew of at least this one case almost a week before it showed up on the state dashboard. As of Tuesday evening, there are 2 cases on the state dashboard.
The county has not been able to give a thorough understanding on how the lags in reporting work…as represented in this article. Statewide, there have been issues in accuracy of case locations in respect to college students…so say, a college student has it, goes to their hometown for the weekend, maybe works a shift or two, then goes back to school, and when they receive a positive, are they residents of the college town, or their hometown? And contract tracing only works as well as the information provided…
I asked the county almost two weeks ago, to please break down cases more openly in terms of zip codes, because Ocracoke still has a lot of folks displaced from Dorian who are residing in multiple-generation, multi-family homes with front line workers in them…& need to be able to protect themselves in their already fragile state with vital public health information.
The next day, the county provided us with a breakdown of Covid cases in conjunction with ethnicities in the county, no zip codes. Rather irrelevant information if the goal is to protect public health.
I’ve said it before, protect yourselves, neighbors. It’s your best bet.
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