- As of Oct. 2, there are 1,703 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents (1,551 considered recovered, 120 isolating at 94 different households, 5 hospitalized, 27 deaths) and there are 17 cases among non-residents (12 considered recovered, 3 transferred monitoring to home county, 2 deaths)
- Brunswick County has updated its COVID-19 dashboard to include cases identified through antigen testing methods and the number of cases identified through two types of diagnostic tests to date
- North Carolina will move into Phase 3 starting this Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m., which will continue for three weeks through Oct. 23
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services updated it COVID-19 dashboard to include additional data on the types of diagnostic tests used to identify infections of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among residents.
As of Thursday, Oct. 1, the dashboard displays how many cases were identified with either a molecular (PCR) test or an antigen test. This update is similar to one the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) made to its COVID-19 dashboard recently and is in accordance with updated case classification guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Each test measures different things in their samples to determine if someone is infected with COVID-19:
- A molecular test looks for the virus’s genetic material
- An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus
The NCDHHS and County COVID-19 dashboards previously reflected positive cases identified with molecular tests only. To date, Brunswick County has received 47 reports of positive cases identified with an antigen test. These cases are now reflected in the total case count and demographic data on the dashboard.
FAQS ABOUT MOLECULAR AND ANTIGEN TESTING
QUESTION: WHY WERE ANTIGEN TESTS NOT INCLUDED IN THE CASE COUNTS BEFORE?
- Answer: Under CDC guidance, molecular (PCR) tests are classified as confirmed cases, while antigen cases are classified as probable cases. However, positive cases identified through either testing method are still required to follow isolation rules and contact tracing efforts through their local health department. As antigen testing becomes more common, the County is following the NCDHHS’ steps to include cases identified through both molecular and antigen testing methods to provide the clearest picture on our overall case counts.
QUESTION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A POSITIVE CASE IDENTIFIED THROUGH A MOLECULAR (PCR) TEST OR AN ANTIGEN TEST?
- Answer: A molecular positive case of COVID-19 is a person who received a positive COVID-19 result from a molecular (PCR) test. An antigen positive case of COVID-19 is a person who received a positive COVID-19 result from an antigen test and does not have a positive result from a molecular test.
QUESTION: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ANTIBODY TEST AND A DIAGNOSTIC TEST (MOLECULAR (PCR) AND ANTIGEN)?
- Answer: Diagnostic tests like molecular and antigen tests should not be confused with antibody tests; antibody tests are not used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. Instead, antibody tests look for antibodies that an immune system has created in response to a threat like a virus. Antibodies can take days or weeks to develop following an infection and can remain in the bloodstream for several weeks following a recovery. At this time, researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that someone is immune to the coronavirus in the future.
QUESTION: IF SOMEONE HAS RECEIVED A POSITIVE TEST RESULT MORE THAN ONCE SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN, ARE THEY COUNTED MULTIPLE TIMES ON THE COUNTY’S DASHBOARD?
- Answer: Positive cases identified through either testing method are reported by licensed medical providers and labs. Every positive case receives a unique number tied to the individual’s demographic data. This data is available to health care providers, which eliminates duplicate reporting of positive cases should an individual ever receive more than one test—regardless of the testing method used.
NORTH CAROLINA MOVES INTO PHASE 3 THIS FRIDAY, OCT. 2
Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that the state will ease some restrictions starting this Friday as it moves into Phase 3. The Governor’s Executive Order 169 begins Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. and continues for three weeks through Oct. 23. Its new provisions include:
- Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
- Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.
- The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
- The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires Oct. 23.
BRUNSWICK COUNTY CASE DATA
As of Oct. 2, there are 1,703 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents (1,551 considered recovered, 120 isolating at 94 different households, 5 hospitalized, 27 deaths) and there are 17 cases among non-residents (12 considered recovered, 3 transferred monitoring to home county, 2 deaths).
Health Services reported the death of one more county resident associated with the virus Sept. 26 who was in the 65 years or older age range and had underlying health issues. This individual was not connected to a congregate living setting.
HERE ARE KEY POINTS ABOUT BRUNSWICK COUNTY’S CURRENT CASE COUNTS:
- Brunswick County averaged about 7.3 new cases per day in September; the County averaged about 20.4 new cases per day in July and 7.6 new cases per day in August, respectively
- According to the NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard statistics on testing, about 4.6% of all tests in Brunswick County are positive
- Health Services is responding to two ongoing outbreaks at congregate living settings in the county
- 27 residents and two non-residents have passed away to date with deaths related to the virus. The age range of these individuals (residents and non-residents) were: 65 years or older (25 cases); 50-64 years (1 case); 25-49 years (3 cases)
Here is an overview of how many cases of COVID-19 have been identified so far in our region and state:
|COUNTY / STATE||REPORTED POSITIVE CASES AS OF OCT. 1||PERCENT INCREASE IN POSITIVE CASES (JUNE 2-OCT. 1)||TOTAL POSITIVE CASES PER 10,000 PEOPLE (AS OF OCT. 1)||DEATHS|
|New Hanover County||4,525||2,129%||193||32|
|Horry County (S.C.)||10,416||2,194%||294||200|
Isolated positive cases pose a low risk to the public as they and any household contacts are isolated or quarantined. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.
Brunswick County has more information about testing, screening sites, and symptoms on its website, including testing sites for both insured and uninsured individuals. These online tools are also available to help increase access to testing and slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Check My Symptoms
- Comprobar Mis Sintomas
- Find My Testing Place (To view in Spanish, users can select Spanish in the yellow box)
- Download the free SlowCOVIDNC app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store
Find links to more information concerning testing in Brunswick County, answers to frequently asked questions, mental health resources, and resources for residents and businesses on our Health Services COVID-19 webpage.