This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RALEIGH, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina reported its highest positivity rate since the start of the pandemic Tuesday with 21.9% of tests returning positive, according to the latest metrics from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

The previous high of 17.0% was reported on January 4, 2021, before the coronavirus vaccines were widely available.

An additional 3,698 cases were reported Tuesday, growing the total number of cases statewide to 1,639,545. 19,308 people have died from the virus as of Tuesday.

1,922 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the state. 25% of those patients are in the ICU.

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.