NC COVID-19 Nov. 23 update: Hospitalizations in North Carolina top 1,600 for first time, Gov. Cooper announces stricter mask mandate

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Coronavirus-related hospitalizations continue to climb in North Carolina, with the state breaking the 1,600 mark for the first time Monday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,601 patients are currently hospitalized in connection with the disease.

During a live briefing Monday, Governor Roy Cooper provided updates regarding the state’s efforts in combating the virus.

Gov. Cooper also announced a stricter statewide mask mandate Monday that says North Carolinians must wear a mask at home when you have friends or family over to visit. It also requires a mask be worn at work, at the gym, at the store, and at school.

Cooper said his latest executive order “makes it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever you are with someone you don’t live with.”

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today. We are in danger. This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many,” Cooper said.

Cooper said wearing a mask is the best way to help slow the spread.

“This order also strengthens the role of businesses in ensuring masks are worn by everyone in the store, staff and customers, and that they are abiding by capacity limits so that people can stay distant and can stay safe,” the governor said.

The restrictions go into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and will remain in place through at least Dec. 11.

Cooper said the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its County Alert System map earlier than originally scheduled due to an increase in cases. The map was originally intended to be updated every four weeks.

It was updated again after just one week.

“This week you’ll see that 10 more counties have been designated as red, indicating critically high levels of community spread. We now have 20 red counties and 42 orange counties. This is deadly serious,” Cooper said.

Dr. Mandy Cohen said she is particularly concerned with the number of patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus.

Over the weekend, the state reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Sunday was the second time the state topped 4,000, breaking the previous record of 4,296 set Thursday, just days before.

The rate of hospitalizations was already trending up before the CDC released new guidelines in mid-November – creating a sharp increase on Nov. 12.

Here are the latest coronavirus case counts from local counties:

  • Bertie 857 cases– 22 deaths
  • Camden 170 cases – 3 deaths
  • Chowan 587 cases – 18 deaths
  • Currituck 309 cases – 5 deaths
  • Dare 595 cases — 4 deaths
  • Gates 197 cases – 5 deaths
  • Hertford 948 cases – 39 deaths
  • Pasquotank 1,031 cases – 35 deaths
  • Perquimans 316 cases – 4 deaths

The number of new lab-confirmed cases was down in comparison to a record-setting weekend.

NCDHHS reported 2,419 new cases, but the dip follows a months-long trend of Mondays having low case counts as the data catches up with the weekend.

Monday’s percent positive rate was 6.6 percent – closer the NCDHHS’ desired 5 percent.

A total of 5,039 deaths in North Carolina are being attributed to the virus.

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