Dare County DHHS provides information on visitors and COVID-19
Published 11:16 am Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Dare County’s Department of Health and Human Services has provided answers to the following visitor-related questions about COVID-19 and testing. This will be available on the Dare County website, darenc.com.
Can an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 travel to Dare County for vacation?
When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they are directed to remain in home isolation until they have recovered. The local health department where the individual permanently lives is responsible for monitoring the individual during the isolation period. Individuals should not be given permission to travel on vacation during their isolation period.
What if a vacationer starts to feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms while in Dare County?
If an individual begins to experience COVID-19 related symptoms while on vacation in Dare County, they should consider cutting their vacation short and returning home and/or call a local urgent care center. If the individual is tested for COVID-19 while in Dare County, they will immediately be considered a PUI (person under investigation) and be directed to self-isolate in their home/place of lodging. The individual will be permitted to travel back to their place of residence while under isolation orders, however they may not use public transportation. Our local health department will notify the local health department where the individual permanently resides to transfer the case.
If a vacationer tests positive for COVID-19 while in Dare County what will happen?
The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services is notified of any positive test result for individuals who are tested or reside in Dare County and will immediately begin contact tracing. If the individual who tests positive is a current vacationer, Dare DHHS will contact the property management company or hotel/motel and inform them to implement appropriate control measures, including disinfection. The owner/staff will be informed that the information conveyed is strictly confidential.
Dare County will report all positive test results to the community while maintaining patient privacy.
Can a vacationer who tests positive for COVID-19 while in Dare County travel back to their permanent residence?
If the visitor appears clinically stable and not to have severe disease, they may return to their home by personal vehicle, preferably accompanied by a household member to do the driving. The visitor will be given isolation guidance specific to traveling, to include only stopping along the way if essential, instructions on not interacting with other people while traveling, wearing a mask and frequent hand hygiene.
People diagnosed with COVID-19 may not travel on a public conveyance (e.g. bus, train, plane).
If the visitor cannot make the drive home, and they do not require hospitalization, the health department can arrange for the visitor to stay in county-arranged designated isolation/quarantine housing. If the county does not have such housing available, the county will coordinate with local emergency management to access one of the non-congregate shelters.
How will contact tracing work regarding vacationers?
Health departments across the nation are trained to do contact tracing and all are expected to follow the same protocols. If a visitor was in Dare County during any part of their incubation/contagion period and had returned to their permanent residence and tested positive, the local health department where they permanently reside is expected to call Dare’s health department, which would then contact individuals or businesses based on identification of direct contacts.
If an individual tests positive while in Dare County, Dare will report the case to the local public as well as immediately start local contact tracing as it has been. They will also notify the health department where the individual permanently resides so they can continue to monitor the individual for the remainder of their isolation period once they return home. That health department will also be responsible for any contact tracing and notification if the individual has any direct contact on their travel back to their permanent location.