North Carolina’s biggest single-day increase in lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and a record number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were reported Friday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The two record highs “should be a warning to us all as we go into this holiday weekend. We don’t get a holiday from COVID-19. We all need to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, DHHS director, in a news release.
“We are seeing significant spread of the virus and it is very concerning,” said Cohen. “We all need to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often.”
On Thursday, she said ongoing COVID-19 metrics in North Carolina indicate rapid spread of the virus in the state. Cohen said much of this is occurring in the state’s urban centers, but elsewhere as well such as concentrations of people in agricultural operations in the southeastern counties.
An additional 2,099 COVID-19 cases were reported Friday, surpassing the previous largest one-day increase of 1,843 on Wednesday. North Carolina’s cumulative COVID-19 total was 70,241 Friday. DHHS has reported at least 1,000 new lab-confirmed cases each day for 10 straight days.
The number of hospitalizations statewide due to COVID-19 was 951 on Friday, with 89% of hospitals reporting data. That surpassed the previous single-day high of 915 on June 23. There were 912 hospitalizations on Thursday, with 93% of hospitals reporting.
DHHS reported that 11% of COVID-19 lab tests came back positive Friday, the first time the percentage has surpassed 10% since it was 12% on April 27. The highest single-day high is 13% on April 26. DHHS started reporting the percentages of tests coming back positive on April 25. Cohen has said the goal is 5%.
The state has 1,392 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths.
State officials use four metrics to monitor the spread of COVID-19: hospitalizations, number of new lab-confirmed cases, percentage of positive tests and the number of people with COVID-like symptoms at hospital emergency departments. Cohen said North Carolina isn’t seeing progress in any of these.
In Wilkes County
This week began with Wilkes County’s COVID-19 case total rising by six to 576 on Monday after no more than three in a one day since it rose by 14 on June 13 due to an outbreak at the Wilkes Correctional Center.
The county’s case total rose by five on Thursday and by three on Friday.
The cumulative total Friday was 586, which included 39 active cases. One of the 39 was hospitalized. Six COVID-19-related deaths of Wilkes residents have been reported.
Wilkes Health Department Director Rachel Willard said drive-through COVID-19 testing in the Walmart parking lot in Wilkesboro ended this week, with one positive test out of about 580 people tested. It was free and federally-funded, with participants swabbing their noses while remaining in their vehicles.
Also this week, Willard said people not wearing face coverings and not following social distancing guidance at social and other gatherings are a primary cause of rising COVID-19 case totals in Wilkes.
She said it’s a good idea to get tested upon returning from summer vacations, especially in areas of the country with high case totals.
Willard said the response among Wilkes businesses to Cooper’s order requiring facial coverings was encouraging, with many businesses offering temporary masks for customers if they don’t have them. This mandate took effect a week ago.