RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported record-breaking numbers on Thursday with over 4,000 new coronavirus cases reported — the state’s highest one-day number since the start of the pandemic.
The record-high day follows several days of increasing trends in new cases, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospitalizations.
The last record high was reported just five days ago on Nov. 14 with 3,885 cases. The 4,296 newly reported cases Thursday puts the state total at 325,158 since the start of the pandemic.
The news comes exactly one week after a record of hospitalizations was also set with over 1,700 patients hospitalized. On Thursday, the hospitalizations increased by one patient to 1,538 Thursday – also a daily record.
The percent positive of tests has been steadily increasing since Nov. 13 when it was 7.9%. By Sunday, the percent jumped to 8.7% and by Monday, Nov. 16, it reached a high of 9.3% where it nearly hit again on Wednesday at 9.2%.
NCDDHS released a statement that says a report released Thursday on the number of people visiting the emergency department with “COVID-like illness” also showed an increase.
Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted a message responding to the numbers saying the state needs to “double down” efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cooper says that “It’s more important than ever to wear our masks, stay socially distant and have smaller and safer plans for the holidays.”
In the statement released, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. said the following regarding the spike:
“I am very concerned. We are seeing warning signs in our trends that we need to heed to keep our family and friends from getting sick and ensuring our hospitals are able to care for those that have serious illness.
“We can do that if each North Carolinian wears a face mask over their mouth and nose anytime they are with people they do not live with; waits six feet apart and avoids crowds; and washes their hands often. We have reasons for hope. With promising news on vaccines, this pandemic will end. Until then, North Carolinians need to do what we’ve done throughout this pandemic — take care of one another.”
The record-setting day of cases in the state brought mixed reaction in Elizabeth City.
“We don’t have to be where we are. It’s upsetting,” said one woman named Alice, who asked to be identified only by her first name.
“COVID concerns me in general. I mean some people have really been suffering from it, but I suspect the rise in numbers has more to do with the rise in testing and contact tracing,” said Taby Cruden, a Manteo resident.
The Albemarle Regional Health Services in Elizabeth City tells 10 On Your Side there are 260 active cases across the eight counties it serves.
The health department and the Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Agency are pleading with the community to heed their advice.
“It’s going to be us having to take personal responsibility,” said Christy Saunders, with the emergency management agency.
The approaching holidays raise even more concern the state will continue moving in the wrong direction.
With vaccines on the horizon, officials said there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but we arent there yet.
“I know people are tired and they have the COVID fatigue but we got to get through this one way or the other, and I f it means putting on a mask so everybody can be healthy and we can get through this then let’s just do it,” Saunders said.
Residents are reminded that COVID-19 is highly contagious, and more than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness, according to the statement.
Studies are also finding that some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.
The CDC and state health officials are advising people to avoid travel over Thanksgiving and only gather with people in your household.
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