RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A record-high number of single-day COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday with 2,532 new cases, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.
The previous record high was reported on July 18 with 2,486 cases.
This is just the fifth time the state has reported 2,400 or more cases in a single day, according to NCDHHS data. Cases are up nearly 500 per day on average compared to two weeks ago.
The state is reporting a total of 238,939 COVID-19 cases.
North Carolina is one of many states seeing a surge in new cases. The nation’s seen its daily average go up about 15,000 cases per day in the last month, up to more than 53,000 cases per day, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus tracker.
During a briefing Thursday, DHHS Sec. Dr. Mandy Cohen said some of the state’s COVID-19 trends are going in the wrong direction.
“Look, this isn’t where we want to be and, frankly, it’s frustrating. We have the tools to slow the spread and protect one another. The science is clear on masks,” said Cohen.
She also said this recent rise in cases is different than at times earlier in the year because it’s not clear precisely what is causing it.
“Our current worsening trends don’t link to any one place or any one age group or any one type of activity,” she said.
The percent of positive tests statewide is slightly down for the second day in a row, but still at 6.5 percent on Thursday, according to data. The percent positivity was 6.7% on Wednesday.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and Cohen responded to questions about how the recent trends will impact the state’s reopening process, including for schools, as we enter colder months where experts have predicted increased cases of COVID-19 as people head indoors for activities more often.
Cooper’s current Phase 3 order is set to run out next Friday, Oct. 23.
“No one wants to move backwards. But, I think you can imagine if we needed to move backwards, we want to start with activities that are at higher risk of spreading this virus. So, that’s what we would concentrate on, just like we used a dimmer switch and thought about easing of restrictions, we look at some of those high-risk activities,” Cohen said. “I would say that the activities that are the highest-risk are when you’re indoors, gathered together without a mask. So, you can imagine what some of those activities are. That’s one of the reasons that bars are still closed in North Carolina.”
Cooper said the state is preparing to submit its vaccine distribution plan to the federal government as soon as Friday. He said it will prioritize people such as front-line workers and those who live in nursing homes, as Cohen said she expects initial supplies of a vaccine to be limited.
Cohen also responded to President Donald Trump’s claim during his rally in Greenville Thursday that the pandemic is “petering out.”
“We’re reporting our highest day of cases since this pandemic has begun. (It) doesn’t feel like ‘petering out’ to me,” she said.
NCDHHS reports 18 deaths attributed to the virus on Thursday, pushing the total number of deaths to 3,874 in the state.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down slightly but remain high with 1,140 people, which is 12 fewer than Wednesday.
Thursday marks the ninth day in a row that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are above 1,000.
Here are the latest updates in local counties:
- Gates: 158 cases — 3 deaths
- Dare: 314 cases – 3 deaths (+2 cases)
- Currituck: 213 cases – 4 deaths (+4 cases)
- Pasquotank: 801 cases — 33 deaths (+4 cases)
- Perquimans: 218 cases — 3 deaths (+5 cases)
- Bertie: 666 cases – 13 deaths (+3 cases)
- Hertford: 836 cases – 34 deaths (+3 cases)
- Chowan: 477 cases – 5 deaths (+5 cases)
- Camden: 130 cases – 3 deaths (+1 case)
Governor Roy Cooper addressed the rise in coronavirus cases during a briefing Thursday at 3 p.m.
For more information from NCDHHS, click here.