NC reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day


(WGHP) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the largest number of new cases in one day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statewide, 18,571 positive tests for COVID-19 were reported, which is 60% higher than the previous record of 11,581 set in January of this year. The number of people visiting the emergency room for COVID-like illness also set a record at 4,171, according to an NCDHHS news release.

The daily percent positive rate is 22%, which is the highest reported so far. The previous high of 17.0% was reported on Jan. 4, 2021, before vaccines were widely available.

Hospitalizations have doubled over the last month from 1,131 on Nov. 30 to 2,258 on Dec. 29.

On Monday, U.S. officials cut isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.

CDC officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.

The decision also was driven by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, propelled by the omicron variant.

COVID vaccines are available to everyone five and older in North Carolina, according to the NCDHHS. Click here to learn how you can get a two-dose vaccine or booster.

Data suggests that the omicron variant of COVID-19 may cause less severe illness for people who are vaccinated.

However, those who are unvaccinated or who have underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization.

89% of people in intensive care are unvaccinated. Hospitalizations are likely to increase as the trend typically lags four to five days after an increase in cases, according to the NCDHHS.

“We are concerned that even a very small proportion of these cases ending up in the hospital could overwhelm our hospital system and increase the loss of lives of those most vulnerable,” said incoming NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Everyone can help save lives and protect hospital capacity by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already and getting boosted if you are eligible.”  

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