Every day, our journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on the critical overlooked and under-reported issues important to all North Carolinians.
Before you go …
If you like what you are reading and believe in independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism like ours—journalism the way it should be—please contribute to keep us going. Reporting like this isn’t free to produce and we cannot do this alone. Thank you!
On Wednesday, April 21, Governor Roy Cooper announced a goal to end all social distancing measures by June 1. He also said that the mask mandate will continue through May, though it may be altered to only include indoor spaces. Once 2/3rds of North Carolinians over 18 were vaccinated, Cooper said the mask mandate may be ended.
Currently, 37% of the state’s total population has been vaccinated with at least one dose and 47% of the residents who are over 18 years of age have been vaccinated with at least one dose, according to the DHHS vaccination dashboard.
Since the sharp decline in cases from January through February, new daily COVID-19 cases have leveled out at between 1,500 to 2,000 new cases per day, roughly the same numbers as were reported during the late summer and fall of last year.
Of particular note, hospitalizations have risen in the past month from around 950 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at the end of March to 1,168 COVID-positive hospitalizations as of April 21. Of those, 285, or 24%, are currently in ICU beds.
While this is much lower than the 2,150 COVID hospitalizations in February, the recent slight uptick, combined with a recent increase in percent-positive COVID tests to above the 5% benchmark, is cause for concern.
Thankfully, deaths are now at some of their lowest numbers since the frist months of the pandemic, likely thanks to the fact that the vast majority of the most vulnerable people are becoming vaccinated. 136 North Carolinains died over nearly three weeks from COVID-19 from April 1 to April 19. Just months ago, that same number would have taken only days to reach.
According to the County Alert System, COVID-19 continues to impact counties throughout the state. Two stand out for opposite reasons: Lenoir county is the only county labeled as “low impact” due to it’s very low 1.5% COVID-positive rate while Edgecombe County is currently the state’s only “critical” county due to having a percent-positive rate of 11.2%.
Post 173, 1:55 p.m., Feb. 12, 2021
New confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents continue to gradually drop daily, with just 4,128 on Friday and less than 3,000 new cases on Tuesday.
Those numbers are a huge improvement over daily totals more than twice that size that appeared through mid-January, but are also well above the daily numbers through most of 2020. The situation is improving, but it has improved before only to worsen again. The pandemic is not over.
Vaccinations continue throughout North Carolina and across the country. Significant concerns about the fairness of vaccine distribution and the competence of those overseeing it have come into question.
Despite the drop in new cases, deaths known to be related to COVID-19 infection among North Carolina residents rose above 10,000 this week and stood at 10,376 on Friday, an increase of 535 from the previous week. However, this pace of deaths was slightly slower than the previous week.
Overall, 814,594 North Carolinians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, representing an increase of 27,245 over the last week. This is a substantially slower pace of increase than in other recent weeks. Yet in 2020, the state did not reach its first 27,000 cases until the end of May, more than two months into the pandemic.
As of Thursday, 2,151 people were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 in North Carolina. While still far above the numbers seen in most of 2020, it’s only a little above half of the daily hospitalization numbers seen in the state during mid-January’s peak in cases.
The virus remains widespread across North Carolina. Every county has had hundreds of cases and most have had thousands, if not tens of thousands.
Post 172, 2:55 p.m., Feb. 5, 2021
Over the last week, the number of daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 has generally stabilized in the 5,000 range, well below the levels seen a month ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over in North Carolina by a long shot, but the surge of new patients seen after the holidays seems to be passing, while vaccinations may gradually be reducing the number of new cases as well.
As of Friday, there have been 787,349 confirmed cases among North Carolina residents since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. This is an increase of more than 40,000 cases in the last week, similar to the previous week, but well below the increases seen in the first half of January. However, this rate of weekly increase is also well above the levels seen through most of 2020.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said some erratic day-to-day numbers this week were due to glitches that caused confirmed cases that should have been counted earlier to all be counted on Thursday. While Thursday had more than 12,000 confirmed cases, this represented the result of the glitch and not a real one-day surge in new cases.
Deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina now stand at 9,841, an increase of 684 from the previous week. While a much higher death rate than occurred in much of 2020, it’s only about half of the number who died during the previous week.
Hospitalization numbers stand at 2,523, showing a continued sharp decline in patients since the peak of cases in mid-January.
Regardless, the disease remains present in every North Carolina county. Some counties with smaller populations have a higher percentage of people with COVID, even though their total numbers are less than large cities.
Post 171, 12:55 p.m., Jan. 29, 2021
Every day is bringing thousands of new cases of confirmed COVID-19 in North Carolina residents, at a pace far higher than at any time last year. But in the last two weeks, the new case counts have dropped from the highest levels seen as the year began.
On Friday, the state reported 6,959 new confirmed cases, the highest number in several days. Earlier this week, only 3,978 new cases were reported on Tuesday, the lowest single-day total for the state since Dec. 29, though still much higher than the total seen last summer when many thought the pandemic was peaking.
Overall, 40,924 new cases were reported in North Carolina in the last seven days, a somewhat slower pace than the previous week. Time will tell whether this is a real change in the direction of the disease’s spread in North Carolina or merely another false lull. One positive sign: The percentage positive rate is down to 8.7% after hovering in double digits for several weeks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, 746,459 confirmed cases have been reported among North Carolina residents.
In another positive sign, hospitalizations from COVID-19 dropped to 3,048 on Thursday, after peaking on Jan. 13 at 3,992.
Deaths from COVID-19, however, have surged of late and stood at 9,157 on Friday, up 1,224 from the previous week and the highest week so far for deaths of North Carolina residents from illness known to be related to COVID-19.
This may reflect victims of the large outbreak in early January that drove up the total case numbers at that time.
Efforts to distribute vaccines across the state continue, though counties and hospitals have been critical of the state oversight and its dubious investment in a software system to handle the vaccinations that doesn’t work very well.
Currently, hundreds of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in every county, with thousands or tens of thousands in some counties. Residents are advised to wear a mask inside buildings or when in contact with other people and to avoid being closer than six feet from someone.
These measures are intended to prevent picking up the virus and avoid spreading it to others. The virus is easily spread by people who are not yet showing symptoms and don’t know that they have it.
Post 170, 2:45 p.m., Jan. 22, 2021
North Carolina residents continue to test positive for COVID-19 at greater than 10%, with thousands each day being confirmed infected.
At 705,535 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, North Carolina passed the 700,000 milestone Friday with the addition of the latest 7,436 cases.
Daily case numbers did drop sharply early in the week before picking up again in recent days. Overall the state has added 45,695 cases in the last week, one of the slower recent weeks, but well ahead of the virus spread through most of 2020.
More than 500 additional North Carolinians died of illness related to COVID-19 in the last week, increasing the total to 7,933. This does not include people who may have died of the disease but were not tested for it.
Hospitalizations in North Carolina have gone down slightly after peaking just under 4,000 on Jan. 13. As of Thursday, they stood at 3,512, which is still higher than at any point prior to January.
The virus is widespread throughout all parts of North Carolina. All counties have had hundreds of cases and most have had thousands or even tens of thousands since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s largest county by population, Mecklenburg, has had more than 80,000 confirmed cases. But the case density has actually been worse in some smaller counties, possibly due to public officials who have scoffed at mask-wearing and other preventative measures.
Post 169, 1:25 p.m., Jan. 15, 2021
North Carolina reported 8,914 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in state residents on Friday, one of the highest days on record, yet only the seventh-highest day this month.
The state now reports 659,840 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. The highest single-day increase came Jan. 9, with 11,581 cases. The percentage of people testing positive for the infection in North Carolina stands at 11.2%. After climbing for weeks, the number of hospitalizations in the state has fluctuated at near its peak level since the start of the year and stood at 3,916 as of Thursday.
The state reports that 7,933 residents have died from illness known to be related to COVID-19, with an unknowable number of others who died without being tested.
COVID-19 in North Carolina isn’t fading away. It isn’t demonstrating “sustained leveling” as some state public officials wrongly asserted months ago. It isn’t even surging.
If you are confused by the state’s vaccine distribution plan, then you’ve been paying attention. And that’s better than some local health agencies responsible for handling that distribution who were still posting outdated information hours after the latest set of changes on Thursday.
For for the most updated information on vaccines available, see Carolina Public Press’ FAQ on vaccinations, which is updated frequently.
Post 168, 1:50 p.m., Jan. 6, 2021
Elevated levels of COVID-19 spread among North Carolina residents seen in recent weeks continues, even as vaccination distribution faces substantial lags.
The two highest single-day counts of new confirmed cases for the state occurred on Friday and Saturday, the first two days of the year, both of which posted new cases daily above 9,000 for the first time. Wednesday’s new case count was a lower 6,952, a number that would have been record-breaking two months ago but now seems routine.
Since the pandemic began in March, the state has reported 582,348 cases of COVID-19. That’s up 42,803, meaning that 7% of the state’s confirmed cases have occurred in the last six days. About 25% of the state’s cases have occurred over the last month.
Hospitalizations continue to increase and stood at 3,893 as of Tuesday, the highest level so far and more than three times the peak levels seen during mid-2020.
In a grim milestone, the state this week passed 7,000 deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19. Contrary to nonsense being spread on social media and fringe news outlets, these represent an undercount of cases because only those who actually test positive for COVID-19 are included and many people have died with COVID-19 symptoms without ever being tested.
The virus is widespread in North Carolina with hundreds of cases in all counties, and thousands or tens of thousands in some. While the largest volume of cases continues to be in urban areas, where there are more people, the highest case density is now in rural counties, possibly due to greater resistance to mask-wearing and other preventative measures.
Post 167, 12:30, p.m., Dec. 31, 2020
On the final day of a long year, the level of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in North Carolina hit an all-time high level of 3,493, representing a steady climb from much lower levels three months earlier.
Other metrics were harder to interpret, with the holiday and weather disrupting testing and reporting of confirmed cases. A new single-day record for confirmed cases set Wednesday at 8,551, comes with a big asterisk because it included cases from a previous day that weren’t counted at the time.
Even so, the number of new cases has been staggering each day in December, with another 6,715 added on Thursday, the last day of the year. The proportion of tests being returned with positive results is now above 13%, near the highest level so far. Total confirmed cases in North Carolina residents since the beginning of the pandemic in March stand at 539,545.
So far, 6,748 deaths of North Carolina residents are credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19. This includes deaths from every county in the state.
The virus is now widespread in all parts of the state, with some of the highest concentrations in rural counties between Charlotte and Asheville, places where politicians encouraged residents not to comply with preventative measures like masks. All counties have least hundreds of cases, with most having thousands and a few having more than 10,000 each.
As vaccinations slowly trickle out to those in the highest-risk and essential categories in North Carolina, the high level of COVID-19 spread seen in recent weeks continues.
Perhaps the most alarming metric is the level of COVID-19 hospitalizations, which now stands at 3,043, rising above the 3,000 mark in North Carolina for this first time earlier this week. Hospitals in the hardest hit areas may face challenges in staffing, space and equipment, over the coming days.
An additional 6,360 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents were announced on Wednesday.
So far, however, there has been no repeat of the record-breaking single-day number of new cases confirmed on Friday, as numbers since then have been between 4,470 and 6,900 each day, with considerable fluctuation.
Still, these daily totals are far higher than those seen throughout all but the last few weeks of the year. Since the pandemic began in mid-March, North Carolina has reported 494,511 confirmed cases through Wednesday. But over those roughly nine months, more than half of the cases have been confirmed only since mid-October.
Post 165, 1:20 p.m., Dec. 18, 2020
Vaccinations are underway in North Carolina, but shipments are gradual and not everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be able to receive the first of a two-dose regimen for several months.
Regardless, the shots in the arm are coming to a state where the staggering spread of COVID-19 in December continues to set unwelcome new records.
On Friday, the state reported 8,444 additional confirmed cases among North Carolina residents, shattering the then-unprecedented single-day record of 7,540 cases set a week earlier.
The case counts over the last seven days had been easing downward until Friday. With 466,104 cases total since the pandemic began in March, the past week brought an increase of 42,481 cases, thanks largely to Friday’s new tally, setting a new weekly record for spread of the virus in North Carolina.
Other metrics remain equally sobering. Some 6,125 residents have died from illness related to COVID-19, an increase of 373 over the previous week. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are at 2,824, up about 300 in just the last week and reaching an unprecedented level.
About 10.5% of people being tested in recent days are testing positive for the illness in North Carolina.
Post 164, 1 p.m., Dec. 11, 2020
North Carolina appears poised to begin dosing residents, prioritized by risk categories, with COVID-19 vaccines, pending a final FDA vote on Sunday.
The need is urgent, as the numbers are now staggering.
Friday saw the report of an additional 7,540 confirmed cases in North Carolina residents, more than 1,000 cases above the previous record, also set during the past week.
During the last seven days, North Carolina has added 41,089 confirmed cases, bringing the statewide total of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 423,623. This is by far the biggest seven-day surge in cases the state has seen.
As of Friday, more than 10% of those being tested are being confirmed with positive tests.
Some 5,752 residents of the state have died from illness known to be related to COVID-19. Despite misinformation circulating widely on the Internet, in North Carolina this does not include people who had COVID-19 but died from unrelated causes, nor does it include people who died from what appeared to be COVID-19 symptoms without being tested for the virus.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 across the state have climbed steadily over the last month, doubling from about 1,200 to 2,514 on Friday.
The virus is now widespread across the state. It is rampant in most metropolitan areas, where population density helps it spread. But it is also concentrated in many rural communities where misinformation and political views have encouraged noncompliance with and nonenforcement of preventative measures.
Currently a cluster of counties with the highest concentration of cases per capita is in the mostly rural Western Piedmont and Eastern Mountain counties west of Charlotte and Winston-Salem but east of Asheville.
After weeks of accelerating levels of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, plus elevated levels of hospitalizations and deaths related to the virus, the number of new confirmed cases on a single day passed 5,000 for the first time and remained above that mark again on Friday.
Thursday set what is now the state’s record for newly confirmed cases at 5,637, shattering the previous record of 4,514 cases set two weeks ago on Nov. 22. Showing that the spike was not a one-day fluke, Friday’s new case numbers remained near the same level at 5,303.
When hospitalizations in early November were rising above 1,100, there was concern. A month later, statewide hospitalizations reached 2,157 on Friday, following a steady monthlong climb.
More than 11% of people being tested for COVID-19 are being confirmed positive for the infection.
Deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina residents now stand at 5,467. This does not include deaths of people suspected of having COIVD-19 who were never tested for it. It also does not include residents of other states who died in North Carolina, including a number of elderly retirees who resided in North Carolina for at least part of the year but had never made it their legal residence.
Despite the bleak outlook and a nationwide surge in the disease, vaccines are on the way, the governor announced this week, stipulating that in North Carolina everyone would be given the opportunity to be vaccinated for free.
Vaccinations will be prioritized based on risk factors including health, age and job duties. More information on how this will work is expected in coming weeks.
North Carolina continues to add new confirmed cases of COVID-19 at an accelerating and record-setting pace, according to test results released by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Friday, the state has reported 328,846 cases, an increase of 23,613 cases from the previous week, a much faster increase in cases than seen in recent weeks, which were already setting records. Thursday alone, the state announced 4,296 new cases in North Carolina resident, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Other metrics are equally concerning. The number of current North Carolina hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is now at 1,571, the highest on record.
The number of North Carolina residents who are known to have died from illness related to COVID-19 now stands at 4,979, up 259 from the previous week and among the highest weekly increases on record.
North Carolina’s surge in COVID-19 parallels that in most other states.
On the hopeful side, several companies have announced promising results in vaccine tests in recent days, though it remains uncertain when the vaccine will be available and how it would be distributed.
The number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents dropped dramatically on Friday, but the news overall was not good.
Friday’s new case count was only 1,779, the lowest in several days, but this was due entirely to a new way of counting the data, which the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday would lead to the one-day drop on Friday.
Looking at the longer picture the numbers become more clear. The total number of cases in the state increased to 305,233 since the pandemic began, up 16,664 from the previous Friday, an even faster pace of increase in cases than seen in recent weeks, which was already much higher than levels seen earlier in the fall.
In fact, on Wednesday, the state saw it’s new all-time high number of additional confirmed cases for a single day, 3,119.
In response to the continuing surge in COVID-19 across the state, similar to what’s been happening across the United States, Gov. Roy Cooper tightened social distancing rules this week, asking that locations that were allowed to have up to 25 people gathered in a space lower that number to 10.
Other metrics also show increased problems with the pandemic in North Carolina.
Statewide hospitalizations due to COIVD-19 were already at record numbers. Thursday was the state’s highest since the pandemic started, at 1,267 people hospitalized statewide. Friday’s figures increased substantially, although that is in part because DHHS is now following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on including COVID-19 patients who are no longer in isolation in the total count.
With the new counting method on Friday, the number of people hospitalized statewide stood at 1,423. Of those, one in four, or 352, are in intensive care units.
So far, 4,720 deaths of North Carolina residents are credited to illness related to COVID-19. This does not include people who died with obvious symptoms but were not tested for the disease. This is an increase of 138 deaths in the last week, a slightly slower pace that has been seen in the last two weeks, but higher than earlier in the fall.
Post 160, 2 p.m., Nov. 6, 2020
While North Carolina and the nation have been focused on the election over the last week, the COVID-19 case count has continued to surge, with 2,908 new confirmed cases announced Friday, the state’s largest one-day increase so far.
Except for Monday’s usual once-a-week valley in new cases due to testing and reporting issues, every day over the last week has seen more than 2,000 new cases across the state, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Last week, Carolina Public Press reported that the 16,122 new cases in the seven-day period leading up to Oct. 30 constituted the biggest 7-day increase in cases in the state since the pandemic began in mid-March.
That’s no longer the case. With Friday’s record-breaking numbers, the period from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 saw an increase of 16,379 cases, the highest one-week increase on record. Since the pandemic began, the state has seen 288,569 cases.
The rate of tests coming back as positive is hovering around 7% in North Carolina, well above the 5% level state health officials have described as a reasonable goal.
An additional 250 deaths from illness connected to COVID-19 took place among North Carolina residents over the last week, on part with the pace of the previous week, but well above what the state had seen in other weeks since a previous surge in cases in mid-summer.
Daily hospitalizations from the virus are down slightly Friday at 1,161 after peaking above 1,200 in late October.
The good news is that confirmed cases of COVID-19 among North Carolina residents dropped on Friday, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
That’s the only good news. It’s also not all that good in context.
Friday’s total of 2,809 new confirmed cases was down from 2,885 cases on Thursday. But these are the two highest days since the pandemic began.
The past seven days have also featured the highest number of new cases since the tracking began in March, with 16,122 cases. By comparison, the state began tracking COVID-19 in mid-March and did not hit this many cases total until May 14, about two months into the crisis.
Counting all confirmed cases in North Carolina since March, 271,830 have tested positive.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in North Carolina peaked a week ago just above 1,200 and are just under that level now at 1,196.
The state has added about 250 additional deaths known to be related to COVID-19 since last week, with the total now standing at 4,332. This week’s pace of deaths has been considerably higher than the previous week’s which was already up from other recent weeks.
DHHS reports that currently about 6.2% of those who test for the virus or for COVID-19-derived antigens are confirmed as positive. Health officials have hoped that number would stay below 5%, but this has not happened.
While most counties are now reporting hundreds if not thousands of cases, some stand out for a high volume of cases. Thirteen counties have each reported a cumulative total of more than 5,000 cases. These include Mecklenburg with 34,193, Wake with 21, 516, Guilford with 11,770, Durham with 9,175, Forsyth with 9,039, Gaston with 7,636, Cumberland with 7,190, Pitt with 6,246, Robeson with 6,100, Union with 5,987, Johnston with 5,780, New Hanover with 5,344 and Alamance with 5,315. These 13 counties account for just under 50% of all cases in the state, with the other 87 counties accounting for the other half.
Cases in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities continue to be an important driver of both cases and deaths in North Carolina. According to DHHS, about 7.5% of all North Carolina confirmed cases are in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. But nursing homes and long-term care settings account for just over 50% of all the state’s deaths.
The recent surge in new COVID-19 confirmed case numbers across the state and the nation is not a statistical blip.
Daily cases are continuing above 2,000 a day on many days, despite weekly fluctuations due to inconsistent testing days and lags in reporting. A graph of North Carolina’s daily confirmed case numbers looks like a stroll from the Piedmont to the mountains, with peaks and valleys, but the valleys gradually becoming more elevated than the older peaks.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services was unable to release its midday report on Friday due to a technical issue, but as of Thursday, the state reported 252,992 confirmed cases, a 11,319-case increase from Oct. 16, and an average of nearly 1,900 new cases a day.
Some days saw much higher new case numbers, with 2,400 on Thursday.
The state also crossed the 4,000 death toll margin this week, with deaths of North Carolina residents credited to illness related to COVID-19 now standing at 4,082 on Thursday. That’s up 172 from just six days earlier, and represents a substantially higher number of deaths each day than seen in the last few weeks.
As of noon Friday, the state had not updated its report on hospitalization numbers since Wednesday, when they peaked at 1,205 people across the state hospitalized with COVID-19. This is the highest since late July, and on par with the peak numbers seen then.
Forget July. New confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents have hit records each of the last two days, topping at 2,614 additional cases on Friday, according to number released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The stated added 14,192 confirmed cases in the last seven days, a much faster pace of infection spread than seen in other recent weeks, even with a surge already noticeable since the late September.
Putting the latest numbers in perspective, there have been 241,623 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among state residents since March, when the pandemic began. Of those individuals, 1 in every 18 of them only tested positive in the last seven days.
It took until the second week of May, about two months into the crisis for the state case count to total as many cases as it has in just the last seven days.
The state’s death toll from illness known to be related to COVID-19 also continues to climb, now standing at 3,910. This is 163 additional deaths over the last week, a higher number than the previous week but not as high as in some other recent weeks.
State hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 were at 1,148 as of Thursday and have been moving in a generally higher range over the last two weeks after dropping below 900 in mid-September.
North Carolina added more than 12,700 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, during the last week, the biggest single-week increase since early August.
Despite day-to-day fluctuations in new case counts, due in part to day-to-day fluctuations in testing and reporting of test results, the state has seen new cases numbering above 2,000 on four of the last seven days, including Thursday and Friday.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also continued to creep upward in recent days, with the most recent statistic available from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showing 1,065 people hospitalized on Thursday. Numbers for the last three days have been above 1,000, a level that the state had been below for more than a month.
The state reports that 3,747 North Carolina residents are known to have died from illness related to COVID-19, an increase of 139 from the previous week. This represents a slower pace of deaths than the state has seen in other recent weeks.
Ten counties have reported more than 5,000 confirmed cases each, including Mecklenburg with 30,088, Wake with 18,884, Guilford with 9,526, Durham with 8,180, Forsyth with 7,540, Cumberland with 6,028, Gaston with 5,927, Pitt with 5,389, Union with 5,277 and Robeson with 5,089. These counties account for nearly 45% of the cases statewide.
North Carolina has added more than 10,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past week, for a statewide total of 214,684 cases since tracking began in March, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Driving these numbers has been a three-day surge in cases since Wednesday. Additional cases had bottomed out below 900-a-day earlier in the week, but Wednesday rose to 1,495, then 2,277 on Thursday and 1,775 on Friday.
Thursday’s total ranks as the fourth-highest day for new confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic in North Carolina, with the other three top days all coming during a three-week period in July.
The context of this surge in new cases comes at a crucial time for the state and nation.
Gov. Roy Cooper, facing intense pressure from Republicans and some business interests to reopen more of the state’s economy had cited improving COVID-19 numbers Wednesday to move the state into Phase 3 of reopening, with bars, theaters and other venues operating starting Friday, for the first time in nearly seven months. The surge in case totals may now raise doubts about the wisdom of that move.
But the biggest story of the day Friday, in North Carolina and everywhere else, was that President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have tested positive for COVID-19 and are both showing mild symptoms.
This comes just days after a contentious presidential debate for former Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly underwent testing that came back negative on Friday.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the former congressman from North Carolina District 11, was quoted in news reports Friday morning saying the White House was aware that Trump’s aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for the virus prior to him attending the debate.
Trump and many of his supporters have frequently derided reports on the spread, health impact and fatality count from COVID-19 as “fake news,” drummed up to damage the economy and harm the president’s re-election chances.
A deep cultural and political divide over the seriousness of the health crisis and governmental responses to it has been a key issue in this year’s elections. It remains to be seen how voters will respond to the president’s own illness.
With regard to fatalities from COVID-19, in North Carolina the death toll credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 in state residents stands at 3,608, 201 more than the previous week, on par with recent weekly trends, but certainly not a decline in deaths.
Hospitalizations in the state have floated slightly higher in the last week. They were below 900 for several days late last month but now stand at 921.
Hot spots for the virus have been generally consistent, but as the pandemic matures, dense population centers have become the leading areas for cases, while more rural areas that had outbreaks have ceased to factor as much.
Eight counties have reported more than 5,000 confirmed cases each, including Mecklenburg with 29,271, Wake with 18,014, Guilford with 8,919, Durham with 7,916, Forsyth with 7,237, Cumberland with 5,722, Gaston with 5,397 and Pitt with 5,044. These counties account for more than 40% of the cases statewide.
The addition of a new testing tool for tracking COVID-19 cases in North Carolina resulted in a substantial surge in new cases on Thursday and Friday. What had looked like a week in which new cases were occurring less frequently, now looks like one in which they’ve grown substantially.
In reality, the additional 13,322 cases since last week that NC DHHS reported as of 1:30 p.m. Friday were due to changes in measurement, making any comparison to previous weeks a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison.
DHHS has begun including antigen testing, which shows that someone’s body has been in contact with the new coronavirus enough for its immune system to be triggered.
The earlier molecular positive cases test, which continues to be used, takes a swab from the person and checks for viral DNA. Although they measure the presence of the virus in different ways, DHHS is now using both of these methods in calculating the spread of the illness and combines the positive cases from both in its statewide totals.
The new method also pushed the state’s total confirmed case count above 200,000, to 204,331.
Other measures of the illness across the state remain somewhat level. Hospitalization remain just above 900, after hovering around that number for the last two weeks.
Deaths credited to illness known to be related to the virus in North Carolina residents now stand at 3,409, an additional 202 since the previous week, and a slightly higher pace of deaths than in other recent weeks.
However, DHHS said about 25 of these deaths were state residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 via the newly included antigen tests, which more than accounts for the increase in the rate of deaths.
Contrary to false information being spread on social media, North Carolina only counts a death as being COVID-19-related if the person had tested positive for COVID-19 and died from illness that could be reasonably expected to result from or be complicated by COVID-19, such as breathing issues, cardiovascular problems or sudden organ failure. A person dying of those issues without testing positive is not counted as COVID. A person who had tested positive and dies of something not directly related, such as homicide or drug overdose, is not counted as COVID.
CPP and and its partners in the NC Watchdog Reporting Network previously found, in analyzing death certificates, that many people have been dying with obvious COVID-19 symptoms, but those were not defined as COVID-19 deaths because they were never tested.
Just in time for the state’s latest policy of relaxing precautionary measures for COVID-19, this time in schools, North Carolina’s metrics for the illness are moving in the wrong direction again.
As of Friday, 191,019 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents have been reported, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. That represents an increase of 8,733 over the previous Friday.
While that’s a slower rate of growth in cases than was seen in mid-summer, it’s nearly 9% higher than the number of new cases during the previous week, which was just over 8,000.
Similarly, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the state are way down from a few months ago, they bottomed out below 900 last week, but have cross back above that milepost as of late this week.
Deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19 have been stable – 184 over the last week, 184 over the previous week – but this does not represent a decline.
Carolina Public Press reported Friday on the governor’s announcement that schools will be given more options to bring younger students to campus for in-person instruction all week.
Republican legislators criticized the change as too small and said they want to see additional options for parents in all districts to send children to public school classrooms for instruction. But educators questioned the wisdom of the governor’s move, suggesting it may endanger the health of children and teachers.
More than 3,000 North Carolinians have died after being infected with the novel coronavirus, state data confirmed Friday.
Though the state surpassed the milestone, state leaders say advances made against the spread of the novel coronavirus require constant action to keep it at bay.
It’s been more than three weeks since more than 1,000 people statewide were hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, with numbers holding steady in the low-900s for the past several weeks. The percentage of tests that return positive compared to all tests has dropped below 7 percent. This is called the positivity rate, and health experts say they would like to see this drop to 5 percent or lower.
Week after week, Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human services, implores everyone to follow the three Ws — wait six feet apart, wear your face covering and wash your hands. It’s these actions that have allowed state leaders to reopen the state’s economy bit-by-bit.
Last week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would move into phase 2.5, which allows people to gather in larger numbers, visit playgrounds and indoor gymnasiums for the first time since spring, as well as go to art museums and aquariums.
Though some economic activity has resumed, economists believe some sectors — particularly those that require face-to-face contact, have been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It will likely take 18 months to fully recover because we are still dealing with outbreaks, uncertainty and much job disruption,” said Mike Walden, a distinguished professor and extension economist at N.C. State University. Restaurants “will never be the same.”
As of Friday afternoon, 182,286 North Carolinians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since March. Twelve counties in the state account for more than half of all positive cases. Those counties are Mecklenburg with 26,683 cases, Wake with 16,516, Guilford with 7,529, Durham with 7,226, Forsyth with 6,543, Cumberland with 4,612, Gaston with 4,464, Union with 4,300, Pitt with 4,211, Johnston with 4,080, Robeson with 3,974, and New Hanover with 3,572 cases.
Another 184 people have died since a week ago who tested positive with the novel coronavirus, bringing the total statewide dead to 3,023 people.
The number of positive coronavirus cases continues to fluctuate after several weeks of slowly declining positive cases, which spiked after colleges, universities and public schools around the state began to reopen for in-person instruction.
Hospitalization figures peaked in late July, at more than 1,200 people in hospitals statewide who were confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus. Since then those numbers have declined to the mid-800s to mid-900s. The number of North Carolinians who have tested positive for COVID-19 since March now stands at 174,254. Of those, 2,839 people have died.
However, not everyone has the means to get tested, and many may not have symptoms that indicate they should be tested for the virus.
Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill estimate 834,825 people have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 31,446 people are actively infectious, the estimates say.
People who are infected and who can spread the virus to other people, according to the model, have declined since the start of July. That roughly corresponds to when the state’s mask mandate went into effect.
Since then, metrics in many areas have improved, and has led to a general loosening of restrictions on public life.
Those restrictions ease again Friday. Earlier this week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would move into phase 2.5 after several weeks of improved coronavirus measures, including lower hospitalizations, fewer people arriving at emergency rooms with COVID-19 symptoms and fewer daily positive cases.
Starting 5 p.m. Friday, people will be allowed to gather in larger numbers — 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Some counties have stricter limits. Orange County, for instance, requires people to meet in groups of no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Playgrounds statewide have been shuttered since spring, and can now reopen. Gyms and other indoor exercise venues can reopen at 30 percent capacity, and museums and aquariums can open with no more than 50 percent capacity.
For the first time since March, people will be able to have in-person visits with their loved ones in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, according to an order by Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. The visits must be outdoors, and there cannot be a current outbreak at the facility.
The facility also must have a testing plan, with an updated written infection control or preparedness plan that specifically addresses COVID-19. There must also be enough personal protective equipment available.
Many of the counties with the largest number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are also among the largest counties in North Carolina with high population density. Of those, Mecklenburg County has had 26,021 positive cases, Wake with 15,555, Guilford with 7,170, Durham with 7,051, Forsyth with 6,335, Cumberland with 4,326, Gaston with 4,247, Union with 4,108, Johnston with 3,947, Pitt with 3,857, Robeson with 3,756 and Cabarrus with 3,371.
These 12 counties account for more than half of the state’s confirmed cases since March.
The numbers of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced daily in North Carolina trended downward over the last week, but saw a sudden surge on Thursday for the highest single-day total in the last month.
The state’s total confirmed case count since March stands at 162,491, which includes many people who have since recovered.
The numbers have been going back and forth and had dipped sharply toward the middle of August. Then on Aug. 20, they suddenly rose dramatically to nearly 2,000 cases that day, and passed the same mark on Aug. 21. From Sunday through Wednesday the numbers of daily cases dipped, with between 1,200 and 1,400 new cases each day at mid-week.
However, Thursday’s new confirmed case total of 2,093 was the highest number since July 30 when there were more than 2,300 cases. The highest single-day increase ever for North Carolina came on July 18, with 2,481 cases.
Despite the rebound on Thursday, Friday’s numbers dipped dramatically again to around 1,400 cases.
As a result of these fluctuations, it’s difficult to describe any trend other than inconsistency. One factor is fluctuation in the number of tests completed on a given day, which also swings wildly, however the numbers of confirmed cases and the numbers of confirmed tests don’t always move in the same direction.
A more clear trend has been the smaller number of people hospitalized in North Carolina with COVID-19, currently 970 according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s gradually dropped from days in late July that averaged around 1,200 at a time.
Deaths credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina now stand at 2,652.
Despite surges in case totals in some more rural counties at times, at this point the pandemic in North Carolina is doing what contagious diseases are expected to do – infecting people at higher volumes where there is greater population density, which is the large metropolitan counties and nearby suburban counties.
The counties with the biggest confirmed case totals currently are Mecklenburg with 24,847, Wake with 14,536, Durham with 6,790, Guilford with 6,636, Forsyth with 6,014, Gaston with 3,969, Cumberland with 3,949, Union with 3,830, Johnston with 3,746, Robeson with 3,404, Pitt with 3,229, Cabarrus with 3,094, Alamance with 3,027.
These 13 counties account for more than half of the state’s confirmed cases since March.
Post 149, 12:40 p.m., Aug. 21, 2020
North Carolina’s confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have risen to 151,912 as of midday Friday, an increase of 9,742, which is slightly more than during the previous week, but on a weekly basis shows no sign of rapid acceleration or decline in new cases in North Carolina.
However, the number of new cases reported on Thursday and Friday was sharply higher than at any point in the last two weeks, and Friday’s 2,008 additional cases represented the highest single-day increase since July 30. So, it’s possible that a new trend could be developing.
After several recent adjustments to correct for communication problems with testing contractors, the state says that more than 2 million tests have been completed in the state.
Deaths from illness known to be related to the new coronavirus stand at 2,494, according to the state, an increase of just under 200 from a week earlier, marking one of the larger week-over-week increases in deaths since the pandemic began in March.
Hospitalizations due to the virus in North Carolina stand at 1,015, which represents a substantial decline from the levels seen earlier this summer.
Concerns about virus spread on school and college campuses has prompted special measures in recent days. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University in Raleigh both initially opened with in-person classes but switched to online-only instruction after clusters of cases on campus became apparent.
Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the state in a press conference on Wednesday calling for renewed vigilance and law enforcement attention to the state’s mask mandate in light of the issues at colleges.
If the last few weeks have been roller coasters for the rise and fall in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, the past week continued that trend of erratic changes from day to day.
However, the longer trend of a gradual fall in the 7-day average of new cases has also continued.
As of Friday, total confirmed cases in North Carolina were at 142,170, up 9,358 from a week earlier, with an average increase of 1,337 a day, well below the 2,000-plus new confirmed cases daily that were typical through much of July.
Over the course of the week, 179 deaths of North Carolinians were credited as related to COVID-19. People who die of COVID-19 symptoms but were never tested for the virus are not included in this count. Total deaths in North Carolina associated with the coronavirus stand at 2,313.
Hospitalizations, which hovered above 1,200 a few weeks ago, have now dropped back somewhat and stood at 1,049 as of Friday morning.
A test for whether this represents a gradual decline in the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina will come with the reopening of public schools next week. Some are concerned that this will lead to a new resurgence and spread of the virus among students, teachers and their families.
All of the state’s districts with at least 50,000 students have opted to begin the year online-only to prevent this from happening. But many medium and smaller districts are meeting in person in part, though with substantial safety precautions including limited schedules and mandatory masks.
How committed local districts are to enforcing these precautions, especially if local political leaders are speaking out against these measures, may decide whether the schools do become a new vector for the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, just as nursing homes, prisons and meatpacking plants have been previously.
While the overall pace of new cases has dropped across the state, some counties have continued to see growth in news cases. Topping the list are nine metro and suburban counties clustered near the state’s center with more than 3,000 cases each.
These include Mecklenburg with 22,850, Wake with 12,508, Durham with 6,330, Guilford with 5,858, Forsyth with 5,477, Gaston with 3,495, Johnston with 3,399, Cumberland with 3,324 and Union with 3,276. Combined, these counties account for nearly 47% of the state’s cases.
This week saw a continued roller coaster in daily counts of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents, made more complicated by the discovery of omission in testing reports the Department of Health and Human Services received and then released in the first few days of August.
On Wednesday, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen told a press conference that her team had identified a problem in the reporting of numbers. A note added to the DHHS website clarified this situation on Thursday:
“On August 5, while conducting data quality monitoring, we identified laboratory reporting omissions for Aug. 2-5. Corrected data for new cases and the percent of tests that are positive has been posted in today’s (Thursday’s) update.”
Apparently due to this problem, the number of new cases appeared to drop dramatically and stay well below the typical daily levels during those four days. When the missing cases were included on Thursday, it caused the appearance of a spike in daily totals. But both of those trends are artificial.
Ignoring the artificial trends created by the problem and its correction, the number of new cases on August 1 was 1,730, which was down from the last two days in July, but in keeping with the longer daily trends during the last two weeks in July. Friday’s count was 1,545. This is slightly below the daily average over the last two weeks, ignoring the chaos in the trends created by the omitted cases.
Cohen characterized the overall trend as “stabilizing,” while emphasizing that this is not the same as improvement.
The state’s total confirmed case count stands at 132,812.
North Carolina passed 2,000 deaths related to COVID-19 earlier in the week. As of Friday, DHHS reported a total of 2,134 deaths in state residents.
Another number that tends to fluctuate from day to day has been hospitalizations. As of Friday, 1,123 North Carolina residents were hospitalized for COVID-19-related illness. Over the past week, the number has hovered between 1,050 and 1,154, after briefly rising above 1,200 for a few days in late July.
The third straight decline in additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents came Monday, with just 1,313 more cases reported, bringing the total to 126,532.
However, the decline Monday also accompanied a steep drop in the number of additional tests completed, which feel from more than 33,000 on Thursday to just over 20,000 on Monday.
Hospitalizations also fell somewhat on Monday, to 1,057. This is the first day in two weeks the number has dropped below 1,100.
Deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina have continued to creep upward toward 2,000, with the reported number as of Monday at 1,982.
Editor’s note: Due to changes in the way the state of North Carolina is handling updates of its data, Carolina Public Press will no longer update this post every day. It will be updated at least weekly going forward, with major developments resulting in additional posts as necessary.
Post 145, 1:55 p.m., August 2, 2020
Additional cases of the new coronavirus are continuing to materialize among North Carolina residents in general at a much slower pace than through much of the first half of July.
New cases that the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported on Sunday dropped to 1,341, lower than all but two dates in July and the lowest number since an earlier drop occurred on July 20.
However, each of those previous drops was followed by a major rebound in new cases, with case totals peaking well above 2,000 per day on July 11, 18 and 30. Sunday’s lower case count also accompanies a lower number of tests completed since the last peak in cases on Thursday.
For the second-straight day, DHHS has been severely delayed in reporting some or all of the statistics the agency usually reports at midday. It’s unclear what has contributed to these delays.
According to DHHS statistics, the state’s total confirmed case count stands at 125,219. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have fallen slightly in recent days after peaking at about 1,200 during the middle of last week, but remain at 1,142, much higher than seen a month ago.
The state is gradually approaching the 2,000-mark for deaths credited to illness related to COVID-19, currently at 1,969.
Post 144, 4:05 p.m., Aug. 1, 2020
Note: The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated its COVID-19 dashboard three hours later than usual and did not update certain numbers as of this publication, such as the daily count of hospitalizations.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,730 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 123,878. The weekly average of cases, which had been rising since early June, leveled off in the last two weeks, along with the average weekly number of tests, which had also been on the rise.
DHHS reported 40 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,964. This is the third time there have been 40 or more deaths in a single day, with the first two coming on July 14 and 29.
DHHS did not update its hospitalization numbers for Aug. 1. As of Friday, July 31, there were 1,229 people hospitalized for COVID-19. The weekly average of hospitalizations steadily increased through June, leveled off briefly in mid-July, and is increasing again.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Fifteen counties have recorded over 2,000 cases, with Alamance and Randolph counties passing that grim mark in the last week.
Counties with more than 2,000 cases are Mecklenburg with 20,679, Wake with 10,969, Durham with 5,830, Guilford with 5,167, Forsyth with 4,883, Johnston with 3,000, Gaston with 2,994, Union with 2,762, Cumberland with 2,694, Robeson with 2,606, Cabarrus with 2,375, New Hanover with 2,322, Wayne with 2,299, Alamance with 2,189, and Randolph with 2,049.
These account for 59% of cases statewide.
Post 143, 1:05 p.m., July 31, 2020
An additional 1,954 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents were reported Friday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
This a substantial drop from a surge in cases on Thursday, but still one of the highest days in the last two weeks. It also accompanies a sharp drop in completed tests from the pace on Wednesday and Thursday.
The new confirmed cases bring the statewide total to 122,148, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States in March. This total includes those who have died or recovered.
Hospitalizations in North Carolina were also down slightly on Friday, at 1,229 but still remain higher than on any day prior to this week.
Deaths credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina residents rose Friday to 1,924, an increase of 21 from Thursday. Previous analysis has shown that these are severely under-counted because many people are dying with COVID-19-like symptoms without being tested, and their deaths are not included in this total.
After seemingly leveling out over the last few days, the single-day increase in confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina surged sharply upward to 2,344 on Thursday, the third-highest day on record and the first day this high since July 18.
The new case count also puts the state past another milestone, with 120,194 cases so far.
In better news, the state’s hospitalization numbers dropped slightly on Thursday to 1,239, but remained close to their all-time high.
The total number of deaths of North Carolina residents credited to illness that was known to be related to COVID-19 stands at 1,903.
However, this does not include many people who died of symptoms that appeared to be COVID-19 without being tested and does not include residents of other states who died after contracting the virus in North Carolina, which has a large population of seasonal residents.
Carolina Public Press and other members of the N.C. Watchdog Reporting Network published a story Thursday looking at the challenges the state has in getting enough poll workers for elections this year. In the past, poll workers have typically been older residents of communities. With concerns about risk for COVID-19 among seniors, many of those individuals are reluctant to work at the polls this fall.
North Carolina announced 1,763 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, a small increase over Tuesday, but the totals this week are generally several hundred people less each day than the totals a week earlier, while on par with those from the week before that.
While the new numbers bring the state’s confirmed case count to 117,850 since the pandemic began in March, they continue to beg the question of whether the case numbers for the state hit a peak – or at least a short-term peak – in mid-July. After a period of repeated new record highs, the last record of 2,481 cases in one day was set more than a week ago on July 18, and was itself much higher than other days during the same period.
At the same time, the number of new cases depends somewhat on the amount of testing being done, which is inconsistent and has been lower on some recent days.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, noted during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that metrics for infections of the novel coronavirus have started to level off.
The state’s mask mandate went into effect at the end of June, and she said the effects of that are being seen today.
However, this is not a reason to grow complacent, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
“The numbers are still too high. To start a downward trend we have to double down on actions to slow the spread of the virus,” Cooper said. “It’s because we have mandated masks and eased restrictions carefully in modest phases. We do not want to go backward. Stable is good. Decreasing is better.”
A measure that has not fallen is hospitalizations, which set yet another new record for North Carolina at 1,291 on Wednesday, more than 50 above the previous record, set Tuesday. Medical providers are concerned that North Carolina could run out of adequate intensive care space and ventilators if the number of patients in hospitals spikes at one time.
Gov. Cooper announced a new executive order Tuesday to forbid alcohol sales in restaurants after 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m. Bars have been closed for four months already and will remain closed. Cooper said Alcohol Law Enforcement Division officers have the authority to enforce this new executive order. The order goes into effect on Friday.
“There have been some bars that have tried to open in violation of the previous executive order, and ALE has stepped in to say to them hey, if you are open and violate the rules, you can lose your license,” Cooper said.
An additional 1,749 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents were reported Tuesday, a slight increase from the number reported Monday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
DHHS has reported a total of 116,087 confirmed cases in the state since the pandemic began in March. Deaths in the state from illnesses known to be related to COVID-19 now tally 1,820, and increase of more than 30 since Monday.
Hospitalizations due to coronavirus in the state stand at 1,244, a new record high, after having dipped a bit over recent days.
The pace of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents stayed level Monday at 1,625, a slightly uptick from Sunday’s number, but well above last week’s Monday totals. Generally, these numbers have fallen each week between Sunday and Monday, so the slight increase Monday could be a surprising.
Single-day increase have now gone more than a week without setting a new record in North Carolina, but have fluctuated during that time, so it’s difficult to identify any longer trend.
Total confirmed cases in the state stood at 114,338 on Monday. Other metrics also changed very slightly with only one less person hospitalized with the illness since Sunday and only 5 additional deaths associated with COVID-19.
Signs that the spread of the new coronavirus could be leveling off in North Carolina continued with new statistics from the state on Sunday, but it’s too early to know whether this can be sustained.
An additional 1,621 confirmed cases among North Carolina residents reported Sunday represents a fall from the more than 2,000 cases reported each of the last two days, but a decline in the numbers of new cases reported on Sundays has been a clear weekly trend in North Carolina, related to the cycle of testing, test result analysis and reporting those results to the state. Still, this is the lowest daily increase in confirmed cases on a Sunday in three weeks.
Did the virus spread in North Carolina peak in mid-July when weekly single-day peaks twice approached 2,500 confirmed cases? It will take more time to tell. But for now, the growth in cases has slowed a bit. Testing has also fallen off somewhat, but not enough to explain the short-term trend in fewer confirmed cases.
Hospitalizations also hit a peak level of 1,228 last week and have not fallen much below that level, with the number currently at 1,170. If the weekly cycle of rise and fall persists, a new higher peak could occur later this week.
Deaths from associated illness among those who had tested positive for COVID-19 increased by 7 reported on Sunday to a total of 1,785 among North Carolina residents since the pandemic began. People who die of similar symptoms but were never tested for COVID-19 are not counted in this total.
Post 137, 1:30 p.m., July 25, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,097 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 111,092. The weekly average of cases leveled off since last week, along with the number of tests, having steadily increased since the beginning of June.
DHHS reported 32 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,778.
There are 1,168 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Hospitalizations have steadily increased since June, and have also leveled off in the last week.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Forty counties have recorded over 700 cases, with Cleveland, Columbus, Onslow, Stanly and Surry counties crossing the threshold in the past week.
Counties with more than 2,000 cases are Mecklenburg with 19,041, Wake with 9,819, Durham with 5,436, Guilford with 4,651, Forsyth with 4,515, Gaston with 2,635, Johnston with 2,595, Union with 2,470, Cumberland with 2,276, Wayne with 2,195, Robeson with 2,175, Cabarrus with 2,129 and New Hanover with 2,052.
Despite a steep drop in the amount of additional testing completed, the number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents turned sharply upward Friday, with 2,102 more cases, for a total of 108,995 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
One of the state’s other key metrics for tracking the pandemic’s course is hospitalizations, but the state’s public information on that number has been lagging, so new data was unavailable at midday Friday. The numbers for hospitalizations had been hovering near their all-time highs over the last few days.
Deaths associated with the new coronavirus in the state now number 1,746, according to the state’s official tally.
Carolina Public Press reported Friday on the struggles of some school districts trying to decide on the best format for schools this fall. Polling shows that teachers overwhelmingly oppose being forced to have in-person classes, partially due to concerns about their own health. But online-only programs have their own complications.
During a special called virtual session of the Asheville City Schools board on Thursday, for the purpose of deciding whether to go virtual with instruction, severe technical problems pointed to the district’s limited ability to do conduct even a meeting remotely.
However, many districts are looking at contracts with for-profit company Edmentum to provide instruction either or through an overall online-only program or to parents who opt to seek online instruction while the district moves ahead with in-person classes.
Thursday, on the fluctuating roller coaster of additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina residents, the single-day new case count dropped to 1,892, after rising somewhat on Wednesday. The number had fallen to its lowest point in three weeks on Monday, but set its all-time high on Saturday. As a result, the current trend is difficult to define.
The shift from more steady trends in previous weeks could be a signal that something has changed about virus transmission, possibly due to wider business compliance with the governor’s mandatory mask order exactly a month ago.
Overall the state’s total confirmed case count stands at 106,893, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased to 1,188 on Thursday, an all-time high. The state is dependent on hospitals to report these numbers, which has sometimes been inconsistent, Carolina Public Press and its news partners have previously reported.
Deaths credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina residents, increased Thursday to 1,726 since the pandemic began.
Social media abounds with conspiracy theories, often driven by the preferred political views of individuals rather than facts, about deaths being over- or underreported, and there are definitely isolated cases of both.
However, a project that Carolina Public Press and other member of the North Carolina Watchdog Reporting Network did in the spring, analyzing death certificates statewide, found strong evidence of pervasive underreporting, since people with precisely the same symptoms associated with COVID-19 were dying in substantial numbers, but were not counted as COVID-19 deaths if they had not tested positive.
Editor’s note: The information on hospitalizations in the July 23 update has been revised, after an error in information from the state became apparent.
A sharp dip in the number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents reported earlier this week has proven very brief, as the single-day increase Wednesday climbed once again toward the highest days so far, with 2,140 new cases reported.
This brings the state’s overall case total to 105,001. Deaths among North Carolina residents from illness known to be related to COVID-19 now stand at 1,698, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Hospitalizations fell slightly Wednesday to 1,137, but are still near their record level.
Carolina Public Press reported Wednesday on rural hospitals in the state’s northwestern mountain counties that are facing the same pressures that many rural hospitals across the country are during the pandemic.
However, the facilities in Ashe and Allegany counties, which both have high concentrations of seniors in the high-risk age bracket for COVID-19, have found that partnerships with outside health providers is working to avoid some of the inherent pitfalls for small and totally independent hospitals.
After posting the lowest single-day increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus among North Carolina residents on Monday, Tuesday’s numbers have rebounded somewhat with 1,815 new cases.
While’s that’s still well below the 2,000-plus cases seen on many recent days, including Saturday’s record of 2,481, it still doesn’t represent the flattened – or declining – curve that public health experts have been hoping for.
Instead, North Carolina’s statistics for COVID-19 look like a roller coaster that’s been trending ever upward, but rises and falls a bit each week. Tuesday’s totals bring the state’s overall case count to 102,861, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
One reason public health experts are not breathing easier is that hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose substantially Tuesday after several days of decline, setting a new record of 1,179.
Many surrounding states are struggling to find adequate intensive care unit space for patients and medical experts fear the same could happen in North Carolina if too many patients experience severe illness at the same time.
The state reported 1,642 total deaths from illness related to COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
Carolina Public Press reported Tuesday morning on concerns from teachers about school districts that are opting to have classes in person this fall or are forcing teachers to be in school buildings regardless of their underlying health conditions even if students are allowed to stay home.
Several districts, apparently due in part to feedback from teachers, have decided to opt for online-only instruction to begin the school year, with a possible switch to in-person classes if conditions improve later in the year.
In a good-news, bad news situation, North Carolina blew past the 100,000 mark for total confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with the state’s total now officially at 101,046.
But the number of new confirmed cases in state residents announced by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday declined to 1,268, the lowest single-day number in about three weeks.
Whether this marks the beginning of a sustained leveling or even decline in new cases, especially coming just two days after the state’s all-time single-day high of 2,481 on Saturday, remains to be seen.
The number deaths of state residents from illness known to be related to COVID-19 officially stands at 1,642.
Another much-watched metric, hospitalizations, also declined again on Monday to 1,086. While this number is subject to fluctuation, Monday marks the first day since the state first passed the 1,100 hospitalizations mark last Tuesday that it has fallen below that mark.
Other states, including Florida and South Carolina, have reported a lack of space in their intensive care units due to an ongoing surge in cases in those states.
Carolina Public Press reported Monday on an unprecedented surge in requests for by-mail absentee ballots. These are not due to any change in the rules, but simply to increased demand by North Carolina voters concerned about COVID-19 – four times the demand at this point in 2016.
Elections officials across the state point to challenges and costs in processing these ballots and likely delays in announcing final election results for close races in November.
After setting a new record for single-day increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases among North Carolina residents of 2,481 on Saturday, Sunday’s increase fell to just 1,820 cases, bringing the state’s total to 99,778 confirmed cases overall, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Anyone wanting to celebrate Sunday’s decline should take a closer look a recent weekly cycles in confirmed cases. Due to the testing process and lags in reporting, new cases hit new highs between Thursdays and Saturdays, while often falling back from Sunday through Wednesday.
The problem is that the news highs and the new lows are much higher than they were a few weeks ago. The state also tracks a rolling seven-day average in case increase that has been trending upward consistently.
As a result, despite a one-day decline on Sunday, it appears the virus spread through North Carolina has continued to accelerate.
Deaths in the state from illness known to be related to COVID-19 increased Sunday to 1,634.
Hospitalizations have fallen back to 1,115 from their peak level of 1,180 on Friday, but have remained above 1,100 since Tuesday. Similar to increases in confirmed cases, the hospitalization number fluctuates throughout the week, though less predictably. However, the overall trend as seen in the seven-day rolling average for hospitalizations remains upward.
The state has also been looking closely at who is becoming infected by race, ethnicity, age and gender, although information on some of those is missing for about a third of those infected.
About 56% of those infected are white, and 24% Black, with 17% identifying as “other” on questions about race. Generally, this means whites are underrepresented as a percentage of their population in North Carolina (about 77%) among those infected and Blacks are overrepresented. Blacks are even more overrepresented among those who have died, making up just over a fifth of the state’s population but a third of those for whom it has been fatal.
Also overrepresented among those infected are ethnically Hispanic residents of the state, who make up 43% of all confirmed cases, but only about 10% of the state’s population. However, so far they are not highly represented among those who have died, making up about 10% of the total.
With regard to age, the virus is clearly most lethal among those over 75 years of age who make up 58% of those of who have died, with those over 65 making up another 21% and those over 50 another 16%. Just 5% of deaths have occurred in groups under 50.
However the data is very different on those in North Carolina who have become infected and tested positive by age, showing that much of the disease spread is being done by those with less risk of severe illness or death themselves.
About 70% of all confirmed cases in North Carolina are among those under 50. Despite accounting for the majority of deaths, those over 75 account for only 6% of all cases, with those over 65 but under 75 representing another 6%.
The differences in infection and death by gender are less pronounced than they were early in the pandemic, but limited trends have persisted. Women in North Carolina appear slightly more like to become infected – or possibly to get tested if infected, representing 52% of confirmed cases.
However, of those who have died, men represent 53%, despite a lower infection rate, suggesting that the virus may be substantially more lethal in men – or possibly that men tend to what until they are sicker to be tested.
Post 130, 12:50 p.m., July 18, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,481 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 97,958. This is the highest reported number of cases in a single day. The weekly average of cases continues to set record highs, having steadily increased since the beginning of June.
North Carolina has increased its testing capacity and has recently increased testing rates among vulnerable populations, such as among people held in prison or in other congregate care facilities.
DHHS reported 23 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,629.
There are 1,154 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, the second highest number since the outbreak began. The most hospitalizations were on Friday, at 1,180 people, with the day’s decrease mostly associated with deaths. This week’s rolling average of COVID-19 hospitalizations is the highest it has been in North Carolina.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Thirty-five counties have recorded over 700 cases, with Caldwell, Moore and Nash counties crossing the threshold in the past week.
Counties with more than 700 cases are Mecklenburg with 17,047, Wake with 8,593, Durham with 4,987, Forsyth with 4,122, Guilford with 4,061, Johnston with 2,349, Gaston with 2,189, Union with 2,145, Wayne with 2,082, Robeson with 1,928, Cabarrus with 1,902, Cumberland with 1,888, New Hanover with 1,752, Duplin with 1,742, Randolph with 1,707, Rowan with 1,672, Alamance with 1,648, Davidson with 1,392, Catawba with 1,345, Iredell with 1,308, Burke with 1,302, Sampson with 1,291, Pitt with 1,130, Buncombe with 1,108, Chatham with 1,100, Wilson with 1,099, Orange with 1,083, Henderson with 1,056, Granville with 1,012, Lee with 984, Brunswick with 921, Harnett with 871, Caldwell with 754, Nash with 735 and Moore with 701.
North Carolina reported 2,051 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in state residents on Friday, bringing the total to 95,477.
Hospitalizations in the state reached a new all-time high of 1,180 on Friday.
According to the state’s official tally, 1,606 state residents have died from illness related to COVID-19. This does not include people who had COVID-19 and died from related illness without ever being tested for the infection.
Additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus among North Carolina residents increased to 2,160 on Thursday, just the third time the daily total has been above 2,000, bringing the state’s total confirmed cases to 93,426, according to statistics the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released Thursday.
Deaths from COVID-19 and related illness climbed to 1,588 in the state. Hospitalizations dropped slightly to 1,134, just below their record mark on Wednesday.
While the virus has been confirmed in all North Carolina counties for weeks, its presence in some is much greater. Nine counties have more than 2,000 cases each.
These include Mecklenburg with 16,360, Wake with 8,157, Durham with 4,827, Forsyth with 3,946, Guilford with 3,877, Johnston with 2,255, Gaston with 2,076, Wayne with 2,055 and Union with 2,036. They account for nearly 49% of the cases statewide.
Carolina Public Press reported Thursday on how a relief bill the legislature passed unanimously in May offered liability immunity to nursing homes, where a large percentage of the state’s deaths from COVID-19 have occurred. As long as missteps and negligence contributing the spread of COVID-19 or patient suffering and death can be blamed on staffing problems, health care providers including nursing homes can avoid civil liability under the law.
An additional 1,782 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents were reported Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the statewide total to 91,266.
The single-day additional case count is down slightly from other recent days, but still above the numbers seen daily in previous weeks.
Setting a new record Wednesday were hospitalizations of North Carolina residents with confirmed COVID-19, which reached 1,142. So far, public health officials have said they are keeping an eye on this number, but have not sounded alarms. Several other states, including South Carolina, have reported intensive care units at capacity due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Deaths from the illness increased by 16 Wednesday to 1,568 in North Carolina. This does not include people who may have died with strong COVID-19 symptom indicators, but had not actually been tested for the infection.
Carolina Public Press reported that Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday afternoon that schools will be able reopen if they effectively social distance students, limit the number of people in a building at any given time and make everyone wear a mask. Schools districts may also opt for online programs and parents may opt not to send their children to schools.
CPP also reported Wednesday that the state could see an effort to implement voter ID requirements this fall, if the courts allow. If so, it could create substantial challenges for elections officials already dealing with an explosion of absentee ballot requests due to the pandemic. A complicated process exists for applying a voter ID requirement to absentee ballots if the requirement goes into effect.
After a two-day slide in the number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina, additional cases began tracking higher again on Tuesday, with 1,956 new cases, one of the highest single-day totals so far.
Statistics released Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services count 89,484 confirmed cases in total.
Perhaps more worrisome were big increases in statistics related to outcomes of a disease that can range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. An additional 41 North Carolina residents were counted as having died from COVID-19 related illness since Monday, bringing the state’s death total to 1,552.
Hospitalizations increased by more than 60 people, with COVID-19 patients in NC hospitals now totalling 1,109, a new all-time high.
Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to make an announcement Tuesday afternoon about the future of North Carolina schools during the pandemic.
Carolina Public Press and its partners in the NC Watchdog Reporting Network reported Monday afternoon on a finding that the state still lacks a plan for mass testing in nursing homes, which have been a primary source of the illness’ spread and a source of almost half of the fatal cases.
A plan that is in place for the state to contract with CVS to provide one-time testing falls well short of health experts’ recommendations for repeated testing in nursing homes and does not even address testing in other long-term care facilities, which have 56,000 beds across the state.
North Carolina announced 1,827 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in state residents on Monday, typically a time of the week when the new case count drops, but still one of the highest Mondays on record.
Thanks in part to a record-setting number of additional cases on Saturday, the state’s total confirmed cases stand at 87,528, according to Monday’s statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Deaths in NC increased slightly Monday to 1,510.
Current hospitalizations declined to 1,040, after hitting an all-time high over the weekend.
A day after the largest single-day increase in North Carolina confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, an additional 1,908 cases were announced Sunday, the fifth-most so far, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The additional cases bring the total to 85,701 confirmed cases among North Carolina residents. Deaths from the illness across the state are now counted officially at 1,503.
Until recently, those death totals had been dominated by nursing homes, which are still significant, but in early July the percentage of COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina nursing homes has fallen below half of the state total as other forms of community spread have picked up.
Statewide hospitalizations fell slightly to 1,070 on Sunday, down from the 1,093 all-time reported on Saturday.
More than 1.2 million tests for the virus have been completed in North Carolina, but some of those are on people who have been tested multiple times. Most of the state’s more than 10 million estimated residents have not been tested once and some who have were only tested before community spread became more prevalent.
The virus is highly contagious and often shows no symptoms, especially early, but can prove deadly and leave behind hidden damage in people of all ages including brain damage, national medical experts have said recently.
The virus has been confirmed in all 100 counties for several months now, but its spread is uneven. Currently, 13 counties have 1,600 or more confirmed cases each. These include Mecklenburg with 15,024, Wake with 7,447, Durham with 4,499, Forsyth with 3,675, Guilford with 3,604, Johnston with 2,044, Wayne with 1,990, Union with 1,821, Gaston with 1,811, Duplin with 1,667, Cabarrus with 1,640, Robeson with 1,632 and Cumberland with 1,613.
These counties account for more than 56% of all confirmed cases statewide.
Post 123, 12:55 p.m., July 11, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,462 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 83,793. This is the highest reported number of cases in a single day — topping the single-day record from last week by over 360 cases — with the weekly average continuing to set record highs over the last month.
North Carolina has increased its testing capacity and has recently increased testing rates among vulnerable populations, such as among people held in prison or in other congregate care facilities.
DHHS reported 20 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,499.
There are 1,093 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, also a new peak for the state. This week’s rolling average of COVID-19 hospitalizations is the highest it has been in North Carolina.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Thirty-two counties have recorded over 700 cases.
Counties with more than 700 cases are Mecklenburg with 14,607, Wake with 7,204, Durham with 4,425, Forsyth with 3,622, Guilford with 3,495, Johnston with 1,980, Wayne with 1,980, Union with 1,778, Gaston with 1,742, Duplin with 1,672, Robeson with 1,620, Cabarrus with 1,580, Cumberland with 1,558, Rowan with 1,494, Randolph with 1,443, New Hanover with 1,438, Alamance with 1,401, Davidson with 1,228, Burke with 1,186, Sampson with 1,185, Catawba with 1,142, Iredell with 1,093, Chatham with 1,041, Orange with 933, Granville with 931, Lee with 918, Pitt with 913, Wilson with 907, Henderson with 871, Buncombe with 845, Harnett with 771 and Brunswick with 753.
These account for 81% of cases statewide.
Post 122, 12:35 p.m., July 10, 2020
Despite a substantial drop in the number of additional tests completed for the new coronavirus in North Carolina on Friday, the state posted its third-highest single-day increase in confirmed cases to date, 1,982, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The new confirmed cases bring the state’s total case count to 81,331. However, despite a general uptick in testing in recent weeks, less than 10% of the state’s population has ever been tested for a virus that spreads easily and often shows no symptoms.
Deaths from known COVID-19-related illness rose by 18 Friday to 1,479. Well over half of these deaths have occurred in nursing homes. Seniors in general also represent most of those dying. However, hundreds of people who do not fit into those groups have also died of the disease and others have become severely ill.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in North Carolina are at their all-time high, 1,046.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday that he will release a new plan for schools in the fall next week. He faces pressure from different groups to return students to schools with some protections or to plan for long-term distance learning.
The latest COVID-19 metrics for North Carolina are not good, according to statistics the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released on Thursday.
Hospitalizations in the state due to the new coronavirus topped 1,000 for the first time on Thursday, at 1,034.
The state also saw a its second-highest single-day increase in confirmed cases to date, with 2,039. This is only the second time the state has had more than 2,000 additional cases confirmed on one day.
While the exact number of new cases per day is artificially affected by lags in reporting and communication between local and state officials, as well as weekly cycles of testing and processing results, it’s undeniable that the trend has been steadily upward in case counts in recent weeks.
Even though some of this is due to additional testing, the numbers of tests completed for Thursday’s count wasn’t as high as many other recent days that had lower numbers of positive results.
Deaths in North Carolina from illness known to be related to the new coronavirus increased by 20 to 1,461.
Carolina Public Press reported Thursday on the legislature’s failure to override vetoes of bills that would have severely limited the authority of Gov. Roy Cooper during emergencies, including the pandemic. Although a few Democrats supported some of COVID-19-related legislation that Cooper vetoed, they united to support the governor after the vetoes.
After setting an undesirable single-day record for additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents of 2,099 on Friday, the number of additional cases has fallen back in recent days with just 1,346 on Tuesday, but picking up to 1,435 on Wednesday, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
These numbers are still well above those seen earlier in the pandemic and the fall off during the course of a week has been typical, with low counts at midweek and high ones Fridays and Saturdays.
A week into July, the state’s total confirmed case count stands at 77,310, with 1,441 deaths of those who tested positive for the infection.
More than a million tests have been completed in the state, but many may be on the same person multiple times, while many people have never been tested for a virus that spreads rapidly and sometimes has few to no symptoms, while at other times can make people horribly sick and lead to death.
Currently, the state reports 994 N.C. residents hospitalized with the illness, the highest level so far.
While the virus is widespread throughout the state, some counties have a much higher number of confirmed cases. There are currently 17 counties with more than 1,200 confirmed cases each, including Mecklenburg with 13,489, Wake with 6,471, Durham with 4,182, Forsyth with 3,450, Guilford with 3,275, Wayne with 1,935, Johnston with 1,825, Duplin with 1,620, Union with 1,579, Gaston with 1,479, Cumberland with 1,440, Robeson with 1,434, Cabarrus with 1,424, Rowan with 1,382, Randolph with 1,353, Alamance with 1,319, and New Hanover with 1,242. These counties account for more than 63% of all confirmed cases in North Carolina.
Carolina Public Press reported Wednesday on new efforts to make testing more accessible. DHHS has issued an order that will provide for testing even when someone doesn’t have a doctor’s orders, which had previously been required at many testing locations.
Editor’s note: Due to some technical work being done on our website, Carolina Public Press will not post daily updates for a few days following this one.
The first day of July greets North Carolina with the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus among state residents to date, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The additional 1,843 confirmed cases on Wednesday took the state’s total case count to 64,670. Since June 1, when the state had 29,263 confirmed cases, it has added 35,250 – more than double what it added during the initial three months of the pandemic.
Officials in North Carolina and several other states have recently expressed concern that the curve has not flattening and leveling in cases they saw in May was not sustainable. As a result, masks are now mandatory in North Carolina and plans to advance to Phase 3 of reopening have been put on hold. Some states have even rolled back reopening, but this has not happened so far in North Carolina.
The state’s deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19 also increased Wednesday by 30, with a total count at 1,373. More than half of these are in nursing homes, but plenty are in other settings as well.
Hospitalizations fell slightly on Wednesday to 901, but stayed near their peak level above 900.
Additional cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents have dropped most weeks on Mondays, then further on Tuesdays, only to rebound later in the week, usually peaking on Fridays or Saturdays.
This week, the Monday and Tuesday drop kept the pace of new cases above 1,000 for the first time. Adding 1,186 on Tuesday, the statewide confirmed case count stands at 64,670, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of deaths credit to illness known to be related to COVID-19 in North Carolina residents rose to 1,343 on Tuesday.
Perhaps the most ominous number was a major rebound in hospitalizations which had been trending downward in recent days, but returned to near their record level at 908 on Tuesday.
Additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents dropped to 1,342 on Monday. While this number is less than in other recent days, Mondays are consistently among the lower days of the week for new case counts, due to the cycle of data releases each week. This is the first time a Monday case count in North Carolina has exceeded 1,000.
The new cases bring the statewide total to 63,484, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. However, these are confirmed cases and the total number of cases across the state is likely to be much higher. According to recent reports form the Centers for Disease control, for every confirmed case in the United States, there are probably 10 more cases that aren’t diagnosed, in part because the virus so often has few symptoms and in part because many places are doing minimal testing.
The number of deaths in North Carolina from illness known to be related to COVID-19 rose to 1,325.
Hospitalizations dropped somewhat Monday to 843, after hovering close to their 900 peak level for several days.
Carolina Public Press is continuing a series looking at health care systems in 20 mostly rural counties that have very high concentrations of older residents, who are at increased risk for severe illness or death if they contract the virus. An article published Monday examines how Brunswick County, which has become a haven for retirees in recent years, is handling the crisis.
Post 116, 12:40 p.m., June 28, 2020
Despite a substantial drop in the number of tests completed for the new coronavirus on Sunday in North Carolina, additional cases of the new coronavirus dropped only slightly from Saturday to 1,605, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
This is the fifth-highest single-day increase so far. All of the other top increases have come this month. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in North Carolina residents to 62,142. The number of confirmed cases in the state has more than doubled since June 3, slightly more than three weeks ago.
Reports of deaths credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 increased by only four on Sunday, bringing the death total statewide to 1,322.
Hospitalizations in the state continue to hover around the 900 mark at 890, close to the highest level they’ve been in the state since the pandemic began.
The number of counties with more than 1,000 cases each has gone up in the last few days. While central Piedmont counties housing the state’s largest cities have generally led the way with the virus spread, more rural and suburban counties, including several counties in the West and East, have also seen a major impact lately.
Counties with more than 1,000 cases include Mecklenburg with 10,592, Wake with 4,816, Durham with 3,571, Forsyth with 2,935, Guilford with 2,743, Wayne with 1,767, Duplin with 1,438, Johnston with 1,393, Robeson with 1,175, Rowan with 1,163, Union with 1,151, Randolph with 1,149, Cumberland with 1,142, Alamance with 1,088, Cabarrus with 1,064, Sampson with 1,018, Burke with 1,016 and Gaston with 1,004.
These 18 counties account for more than 64% of the cases statewide. However, that still leaves thousands of cases scattered across the other 82 counties, some of which have hundreds of cases confirmed.
Testing in North Carolina is approaching a million, but with some people being tested multiple times and an estimated population above 10 million in the state, the vast majority of the state has not been tested for a virus that is highly contagious and sometimes shows no symptoms.
Post 115, 12:35 p.m., June 27, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,719 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 60,537. This is the third-highest daily reported number of cases, with all the peaks coming in June. North Carolina has also increased its testing capacity.
DHHS data shows new reported cases peak on Fridays and Saturdays. This week’s average number of cases reported is the highest it has ever been in North Carolina, topping last week’s record-setting average.
DHHS reported 15 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,318.
There are 888 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19. This week’s rolling average of COVID-19 hospitalizations is the highest it has been in North Carolina, with Tuesday’s 915 hospitalizations being the all-time high.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Twenty-four counties have recorded over 700 cases, with Iredell, Lee and New Hanover counties crossing the threshold this week.
Counties with more than 700 cases are Mecklenburg with 10287, Wake with 4675, Durham with 3521, Forsyth with 2871, Guilford with 2690, Wayne with 1740, Duplin with 1422, Johnston with 1346, Robeson with 1161, Randolph with 1137, Rowan with 1137, Union with 1123, Cumberland with 1101, Alamance with 1066, Cabarrus with 1021, Burke with 1000, Sampson with 986, Gaston with 972, Chatham with 924, Davidson with 908, Granville with 779, Lee with 770, New Hanover with 750 and Iredell with 707.
Additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents rose sharply Friday, even as the governor’s new mandatory mask order goes into effect.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced 1,635 new positive tests for COVID-19 Friday at noon, bringing the statewide total to 58,818. Deaths from illness known to be related to the virus rose to 1,303 statewide.
Hospitalizations rose slightly Friday to 892 in North Carolina. This is close to the highest levels of COVID-19 patients in hospitals so far.
In a statewide report Carolina Public Press released on Thursday in collaboration with five other news organizations, hospitals describe a level of preparation for COVID-19 that is far ahead of where they stood several months ago, with good amounts of personal protective equipment and more on the way. They credit networking through the statewide hospital association for a successful buildup of supplies.
However, the hospitals also remained gravely concerned about a potential surge ahead as cases have been trending upward in recent weeks.
CPP reported Friday with a closer look at the state’s far southwestern counties, one of several rural regions with a concentration of adults over 65, the group most at risk for severe illness. While health officials in Cherokee, Graham and Clay counties credit testing and contact tracing, plus early limits on outside visitors, with slowing the spread of COVID-19 in their area, they are also concerned about the instability of the limited hospital resources there.
Two of the counties have no hospital and Erlanger Hospital in Murphy has been subject to leadership changes and financial woes, along with its parent company in Chattanooga. A nearby hospital in Georgia that some North Carolina residents have relied on is bankrupt and some doctors said they were wary of sending patients there.
While the governor’s order requiring masks took effect Friday, multiple news media reports say sheriffs in at least 12 counties have said they won’t be enforcing the governor’s order.
Under state statute, governors’ executive orders have the weight of law and violation is a class 2 misdemeanor. Gov. Roy Cooper has not called for individuals to be cited for noncompliance, but said businesses should be cited if they don’t require masks for people in their buildings.
Several measures of the spread of the new coronavirus in North Carolina fell back slightly on Thursday, but whether they will form a trend over coming days remains to be seen.
The state’s count of additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 dropped to 1,009 after peaking over 1,700 on Wednesday. While this level is still much higher than the typical daily increase in cases seen before late May, it’s not as high as on several other recent days. The total confirmed case count among North Carolina residents stands at 57,174, according to statistics the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released on Thursday.
The number of additional deaths from illness known to be related to the virus increased by 19, which is also less than on some other recent days. The total number of deaths from the virus in North Carolina officially stands at 1,290.
Hospitalizations dropped to 891 after two deaths above 900. Public health officials are watching hospitalizations closely because of concerns that too many patients with the illness at one time could inundate North Carolina hospitals.
Carolina Public Press reported late Wednesday that Gov. Roy Cooper has announced a mandatory masks policy that will go into effect on Friday. While individuals will be on an honor system to wear masks in buildings and public spaces where they might contact other people, such as sidewalks, businesses could be cited for failing to require employees or customers to wear masks.
Cooper also extended Phase 2 restrictions of economic reopening rather than moving on to Phase 3 as some businesses that remain closed, such as gyms, bars and cinemas, had hoped. Phase 2 will last until at least mid-July when Cooper will evaluate the situation further.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported an additional 1,721 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents on Wednesday, the second-highest single-day increase to date, bringing the state’s total case count to 56,174.
An additional 20 deaths credited to illness known to be related to COVID-19 increased the state’s death toll Wednesday to 1,271.
The number of people hospitalized in North Carolina fell slightly from Tuesday to 906, but remained above 900 for just the second time, in a number that fluctuates frequently, but has generally trended up over the last few weeks.
Many provisions of the state’s restrictions for the pandemic are due to expire or require reevaluation soon and some businesses that remain closed under those orders, such as some gyms, have announced plans to reopen. But Gov. Roy Cooper said last week that he had not decided whether that would happen. Cooper has scheduled a Wednesday afternoon press conference and may address his decision about the direction the state’s response to the pandemic will take.
Cooper indicated last week that he was considering a mandatory mask policy. Several local jurisdictions have adopted mandatory mask policies, generally affecting people in enclosed public spaces or on sidewalks where they are in relatively close contact with others.
While the virus has been confirmed in every county, 11 counties have more than 1,000 cases each. These include Mecklenburg with 9,333, Wake with 4,253, Durham with 3,319, Forsyth with 2,679, Guilford with 2,527, Wayne with 1,703, Duplin with 1,369, Johnston with 1,208, Randolph with 1,077, Rowan with 1,076 and Cumberland with 1,053.
These 11 counties account for more than 52% of the cases statewide.
Carolina Public Press reported on Wednesday about the results of runoff elections in two parts of the state, the first elections conducted with precautions against the spread of the virus in place.
While concerns about long lines and absentee ballot issues did not arise in the Republicans-only elections in Columbus counties and 17 Western North Carolina counties, an anticipated much higher participation in fall elections could challenge elections officials, several of whom described serious problems finding enough people willing to work at the polls.
North Carolina added another 848 confirmed case of the new coronavirus in state residents on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 54,453, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
At the same time Tuesday, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 reached an all-time peak in North Carolina of 915. This is the first time that the official hospital patient count related to the illness has passed 900 in North Carolina.
More than 20 additional death attributed to illness related to COVID-19 pushed the death toll among North Carolina residents to 1,251 on Tuesday. A strong majority of deaths have been in nursing homes.
As of Tuesday, 16 counties have more than 900 counties each. These include Mecklenburg with 9,086, Wake with 4,106, Durham with 3,244, Forsyth with 2,615, Durham with 2,462, Wayne with 1,673, Duplin with 1,365, Johnston with 1,178, Robeson with 1,096, Randolph with 1,088, Rowan with 1,037, Cumberland with 1,031, Alamance with 969, Union with 965, Burke with 918 and Sampson with 907.
These counties account for more than 61% of the cases statewide.
Additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents grew but a slower pace Monday, at 804, than in other recent days, likely due to a substantial drop in the number of tests completed.
According to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics, the state’s total confirmed cases stand at 53,605. More than 1,200 across the state have died of illness known to be related to COVID-19, the majority of them nursing home residents.
Hospitalizations in North Carolina due to COVID-19 had fallen slightly over the weekend, but Monday again to 870, just below their highest level so far.
Case spikes in some counties have altered the list of those with the largest numbers of cases over the last two weeks, though big urban centers like Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham, Forsyth and Guilford continue to lead the list. Many of the newer spikes are in suburban or rural counties where the presence of prisons, meat-packing plans or nursing homes may be driving the increase.
As of Monday, 15 counties reported more than 900 cases each. These were Mecklenburg with 8,956, Wake with 3,984, Durham with 3,209, Forsyth with 2,575, Guilford with 2,434, Wayne with 1,658, Duplin with 1,345, Johnston with 1,135, Robeson with 1,086, Randolph with 1,058, Rowan with 1,025, Cumberland with 1,014, Union with 949, Alamance with 946 and Burke with 912.
These 15 counties accounted for more than 60% of the confirmed cases statewide.
Yet another day with more than 1,000 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents, this time 1,412, pushed the state’s total case load to 52,801 on Sunday, the day after it topped 50,000, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Sunday’s number of new cases are the fourth-highest to date, despite a smaller number of new test completions reported. However, it has been more than a week since a new daily record was set, which had been an almost daily occurrence for a while.
Eight additional deaths since Saturday pushed the statewide death toll credited to illness related to the COVID-19 to 1,220 on Sunday.
Hospitalizations, which had been nearing 900, did fall back slightly to 845 on Sunday, but it was not clear if all hospitals were reporting, which has sometimes caused this measure to fluctuate artificially.
While the virus has been present in all 100 North Carolina counties for some time, the case count is much higher in some. As the total has grown, some counties that featured in early high case counts have not seen continued fast-paced growth in infections, at least not according to the testing that has been done.
But other counties have seen nearly constant growth in cases and a few have seen sudden spikes, especially as outbreaks in nursing homes, other long-term care facilities, prisons and meat-packing plants drive the broader spread within communities.
Fifteen counties now have more than 900 cases each. These are Mecklenburg with 8,752, Wake with 3,884, Durham with 3,196, Forsyth with 2,524, Guilford with 2,402, Wayne with 1,643, Duplin with 1,332, Johnston with 1,111, Robeson with 1,085, Randolph with 1,054, Rowan with 1,019, Cumberland with 1,008, Alamance with 939, Union with 920 and Burke with 911.
These counties account for more than 60% of the confirmed cases in North Carolina.
Post 108, 12:50 p.m., June 20, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,549 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 51,389. This is the third highest spike in cases, behind yesterday and last Friday. DHHS data shows new reported cases peak on Fridays and Saturdays. This week’s average number of cases reported is also the highest it has ever been in North Carolina.
DHHS reported 15 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,212.
There are 883 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, a new high. Spikes in daily death rates lag 1-2 weeks behind spikes in hospitalization rates.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Sixteen counties have recorded over 700 cases, with Cabarrus, Davidson, Gaston, and Granville counties crossing the threshold this week.
Counties with more than 700 cases are Mecklenburg with 8511, Wake with 3721, Durham with 3094, Forsyth with 2497, Guilford with 2352, Wayne with 1622, Duplin with 1317, Johnston with 1058, Robeson with 1056, Randolph with 1032, Rowan with 995, Cumberland with 988, Alamance with 919, Burke with 895, Union with 876, Sampson with 865, Chatham with 860, Cabarrus with 835, Davidson with 729, Granville with 723 and Gaston with 705.
Additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents rose by 1,693 on Friday, the second-highest single-day increase to date, bringing the state’s total case count to 49,840, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in North Carolina rose to 871, their highest point so far. Deaths attributed to illness related to COVID-19 increased by 22 to 1,197 statewide.
Gov. Roy Cooper said at a press conference Thursday that he will likely make masks in public businesses and other spaces mandatory but not before next week. Asked why he didn’t issue an immediate decree, Cooper said a law like that has to crafted carefully to consider the effects on many different groups of people, including some for whom a disability may prevent them from wearing masks.
Asked about announcements from some gyms and other business that they will reopen when the governor’s Phase 2 of economic reopening is set to expire next week, Cooper said they are acting without knowing what he will decide to do. While the governor could move on to Phase 3 of reopening, which could include gyms, he could also maintain the status quo under Phase 2 or roll back some earlier loosening of restrictions.
With 1,133 additional confirmed cases on Thursday, the growth in COVID-19 among North Carolina residents accelerated again after a brief lull over recent days.
The total confirmed case count in the state, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics, stands at 48,188. Thursday’s increase was the fifth-highest since the pandemic began. The other top days have all come in the last two weeks.
The state had gone through two phases of economic reopening due to lower numbers for a time, but the number of cases have more than doubled since then. It’s unclear so far whether the state will rethink its restrictions, but Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday that he could consider making masks mandatory. He did not say how he would deal with local officials who have been unwilling to enforce the governor’s existing executive orders.
Hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 increased to 857 on Thursday, the highest level to date. An additional 21 deaths were attributed to illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll from the virus to 1,175.
A strong majority of these deaths have occurred in nursing homes, where congregate settings promote infection and risk factors of age and health increase the chances that any infection will be serious and potentially deadly.
After a two-day reprieve, additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents creeped past 1,000 again on Wednesday, at 1,002, bringing the state’s total to 46,855, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
The single-day increase in cases topped 1,000 for the first time in late May and did so three times before that month’s end. So far in June, it has been above 1,000 on nine of 17 days.
Hospitalizations reached a new peak on Wednesday at 846. Deaths of North Carolina residents from illness known to be related to COVID-19 reached 1,168 total, and increase of 14 from Tuesday.
A high percentage of deaths have been in congregate settings, especially nursing homes. However, prisons have also been a leading location of spread.
On Tuesday, a Wake County Superior Court judge issued a more detailed version of the ruling he announced earlier on prisons. He ordered the state to take steps to decrease the prison population, test every person in prison on North Carolina for COVID-19, and to ensure that every prison provides adequate protection against the spread of the new coronavirus.
Carolina Public Press published a guide to frequently asked questions on dining out and other interaction during the state’s Phase 2 level of restrictions, which are currently in place.
As it consistently has done on several recent Tuesdays, the number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents dipped substantially on Tuesday, likely due to the weekly ebb and flow of test completions.
Even so, the state added 751 confirmed cases, raising the overall total to 45,853, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Deaths, however, increased at one of their higher daily rates, by 36, with 1,154 North Carolina residents having died from illness known to be related to COVID-19. A large majority of deaths have taken place in nursing homes, where the illness spreads easily in congregate environments and the aging often unwell population are susceptible to the worst effects of the virus.
Hospitalizations also increased on Tuesday, establishing a new high count of 829, according to DHHS.
The virus is present in all 100 N.C. counties but 10 counties with more than 900 cases each make up more than 53% of statewide confirmed cases.
These include Mecklenburg with 7,468, Wake with 3,163, Durham with 2,773, Forsyth with 2,283, Guilford with 2,103, Wayne with 1,535, Duplin with 1,228, Robeson with 978, Randolph with 947, Rowan with 921 and Cumberland with 904.
With a big drop in new tests completed in North Carolina on Monday, the state’s count of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on a single day fell below 1,000 for the first time in five days, though only slightly below that mark, at 983, for an overall total of 45,102 cases, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Deaths known to be related to COVID-19 rose to 1,118 statewide. Hospitalizations remained near their peak level at 797.
Confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents are now consistently adding more than 1,000 additional cases each day, as they have done each of the last five days, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
After slight drop in new cases Saturday, they increased to 1,443 additional cases Sunday, despite a significant drop in completed tests from the level seen Friday, when the state hit the latest high mark for one-day increases at nearly 1,800. The total case count is now at 44,119 statewide.
Hospitalizations fell slightly Sunday from the all-time high of more than 800, but remained close to their peak at 798.
The virus has been confirmed in all 100 North Carolina counties but some counties have a much greater number of cases.
Thirteen counties have more than 800 confirmed cases each. These are Mecklenburg with 7,131, Wake with 3,011, Durham with 2,662, Forsyth with 2,204, Guilford with 2,032, Wayne 1,512, Duplin with 1,182, Robeson with 966, Randolph with 921, Cumberland with 888, Rowan with 888, Johnston with 849, Chatham with 808. These counties account for more than 52% of all confirmed cases.
Post 101, 1:35 p.m., June 13, 2020
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,427 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 42,676. This is the second-most new cases reported in a day, behind yesterday, and sets a new three-day record for new cases.
DHHS data shows new reported cases peak on Fridays and Saturdays. This week’s average number of cases reported is also the highest it has ever been in North Carolina.
DHHS reported 12 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,104. North Carolina passed the grim mark of 1,000 deaths this week.
There are 823 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, a new high. Spikes in daily death rates lag 1-2 weeks behind spikes in hospitalization rates.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Sixteen counties have recorded over 700 cases, with Alamance, Burke, Johnston and Sampson crossing the threshold in the last week. Counties with more than 700 cases are Mecklenburg with 6862, Wake with 2892, Durham with 2569, Forsyth with 2128, Guilford with 1983, Wayne with 1467, Duplin with 1150, Robeson with 956, Randolph with 908, Cumberland with 874, Rowan with 862, Johnston with 802, Chatham with 784, Sampson with 728, Burke with 706 and Alamance with 700.
If there was any doubt that the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents has been going up, not leveling, Friday’s record-eclipsing number of additional cases in one day, 1,768 may have cleared up the question.
With the spike, the state’s total case count climbed to 41,249, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Completed tests were also up Friday, with just under 600,000 tests completed across the state.
DHHS reported 28 additional deaths from illness related to COVID-19 on Friday, with the state’s total deaths at 1,092. More than half of these deaths are in nursing homes and many others are in other congregate living settings including long-term care facilities and prisons.
Hospitalizations fell to 760 on Friday after topping 800 for the first time on Thursday. However, Carolina Public Press and a collaborative of investigative new organizations have previously reported that this number should be viewed as an “at least” count with the fluctuations ignored because changes are largely driven by which hospitals report on a given day.
While the virus has been confirmed in all 100 North Carolina counties, seven counties have more than 1,000 cases each. These include Mecklenburg with 6,538, Wake with 2,737, Durham with 2,467, Forsyth with 2,051, Guilford with 1,899, Wayne with 1,448 and Duplin with 1,130. The counties account for more than 44% of all cases in the state.
CPP reported Friday on the economic and health care challenges for residents of Anson County, where Walmart announced it was closing the same week the pandemic hit the state. The store was one of the area’s largest employers, sold discounted medicine, provided a convenient location that many residents relied on to purchase food and supplies, resulted in substantial sales tax revenues and donated large amounts of food and supplies to local aid organizations.
Local governments, nonprofit groups and stores are facing challenges in dealing with the impact and supplying increased needs with less resources even as they deal with the pandemic.
Confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents surged upward Thursday by 1,310, the second-highest single-day increase to date, bringing the statewide total to 39,481, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
The number of new tests completed, just under 20,000, was also the second highest on record.
Deaths from COVID-19 related illness rose to 1,064 on Thursday.
Hospitalizations topped 800 for the first time at 812, showing that another key metric the state has been watching is going the wrong direction.
While the virus is present in all 100 N.C. counties, 11 counties are reporting more than 800 confirmed cases each. These include Mecklenburg with 6,155, Wake with 2,553, Durham with 2,370, Forsyth with 1,967, Guilford with 1,853, Wayne with 1,403, Duplin with 1,096, Robeson with 913, Randolph with 866, Cumberland with 828, Rowan with 808. These counties account for more than 52% of all cases statewide.
After dipping on Tuesday, the number of additional new coronavirus confirmed cases in North Carolina residents surged again Wednesday to 1,011, bringing the statewide total to 38,171, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
DHHS also announced that the statewide death toll from illness known to be related to COVID-19 has risen to 1,053, an increase of 24 from Tuesday.
Hospitalizations continue to creep upward and now stand at 780, the highest point so far.
More than half of all deaths from coronavirus in North Carolina have been in nursing homes, with 554 deaths total. Residential care facilities, which are similar but lack nursing care, account for 83 deaths. Correctional facilities, including jails and federal and state prisons, account for another 23 deaths.
There has been little change in trends that show a bias in illness that disproportionately affects black and Hispanic residents of North Carolina, but there has been an increase in deaths among African Americans relative to other groups.
An earlier strong trend for men to die of COVID-19 more frequently than women is much slighter now, though men do die more often by a narrow majority in North Carolina.
Age-related trends have also continued, if only grown more distinct. About 63% of all North Carolina cases involve people under 50, but only 4% of deaths are for people in this age range. However, only 7% of confirmed cases are in those 75-years-old or older, yet 62% of death in North Carolina are for people in this age range.
The virus has been confirmed in all 100 counties. But 10 counties have reported more than 800 cases each. These include Mecklenburg with 5,861, Wake with 2,448, Durham with 2,284, Forsyth with 1,910, Guilford with 1,806, Wayne with 1,367, Duplin with 1,072, Robeson with 900, Randolph with 842 and Cumberland with 811.
These 10 counties account for more than 50% of all cases in the state.
Carolina Public Press and other news organizations who make up the North Carolina Watchdog Reporting Network reported Tuesday afternoon on concerns about the state prison system restarting inmate transfers, which could be a key way in which the illness is spread between institutions, affecting inmates, but also prison staff, their families and their communities.
Wayne County, for instance, makes the list of counties with large outbreaks, not because of its overall population density encouraging disease spread, but because of a runaway outbreak at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro.
As it has several times recently on a Tuesday, the number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents dipped Tuesday to 676, according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the statewide total to 37,160.
The smaller increase also comes on a day when the number of completed tests was nearly 16,000, one of the highest so far.
The state’s death toll from illness known to be related to COVID-19 increased by 23 to 1,029 on Tuesday.
Another key measure, hospitalizations, surged upward to a new record on Tuesday, of 774.
The illness has been confirmed in residents of all 100 North Carolina counties. Counties with at least 700 cases each include Mecklenburg with 5,744, Wake with 2,371, Durham with 2,227, Forsyth with 1,874, Guilford with 1,743, Wayne with 1,337, Duplin with 1,062, Robeson with 876, Randolph with 809, Cumberland with 798, Rowan with 773 and Chatham with 745.
These 12 counties account for more than 54% of call confirmed cases statewide.
Carolina Public Press reported Tuesday on a ruling by a superior court judge that North Carolina prisons are likely operating unconstitutionally during the pandemic by not adequately testing prisoners for the virus and not taking enough precautions to promote social distancing and avoid the spread of the disease in the prisons, which have been hit by major outbreaks.
CPP also reported Tuesday on Gov. Roy Cooper’s plans for returning students to school in the fall. He laid out three scenarios Monday that will depend on how the state is faring with the pandemic, but warned that current measures don’t look promising.
Despite a major drop in the number of new tests of COVID-19 completed since Sunday, confirmed cases of the new coronavirus continued their high rate of increase Monday with 938 additional cases, bringing the statewide total to 36,484, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Reports of 10 additional deaths brought the death toll in North Carolina to 1,006 from COVID-19-related illness.
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, which had been down slightly in recent days, rebound to 739, the highest level so far, according to DHHS statistics.
Although the virus has been confirmed in all 100 counties, 12 counties have reported more than 700 cases each.
These include Mecklenburg with 5,682, Wake with 2,300, Durham with 2,180, Forsyth with 1,816, Guilford with 1,665, Wayne with 1,335, Duplin with 1,047, Robeson with 868, Randolph with 801, Cumberland with 781, Rowan with 771 and Chatham with 733. These account for more than 54% of the cases statewide.
Carolina Public Press also reported Monday on discrepancies between information the prisons have presented in court and information in documents and inmate testimony about how the state’s prisons are handling COVID-19. A judge may rule as early as Monday afternoon on a lawsuit seeking the release of many prisoners due to conditions.
The rapid increase in confirmed cases of the new coronavirus slowed slightly Sunday as the number of new tests completed also dropped from other recent days.
Even so, the 921 additional cases reported Sunday represented the seventh-highest one-day increase since the state began tracking the pandemic’s spread throughout North Carolina in early March, according to records from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The total number of cases statewide rose to 35,546. For comparison, on May 15, about three weeks ago, the state was completing its first week of partial reopening under Phase 1, and the total number of confirmed cases was 17,000 – less than half of the current number.
The state’s deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19 rose by four since Saturday and stands at 996 according to DHHS’ official count, though some media organizations have reported their own counts based on county numbers are already above 1,000.
In recent days, Gov. Roy Cooper has drawn attention to the disproportionate impact of the illness on minority ethnic groups. Although the virus can infect people of any background, African Americans and Hispanic residents have been affected severely.
While only about 9% of the state’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, 41% of those who have been infected in North Carolina fall in this category. The state’s population is about 22% black, but about 28% of those infected have been black.
With many of the confirmed cases among Hispanics a recent tread, there have been relatively few deaths in this group. But 34% of all COVID-19 related deaths have been among black, out of synch with both their percentage in the population and their rate of infection.
Cooper, in a Friday press conference, blamed longstanding economic inequity and lack of access to health care for contributing to this disparity. The despair brought about this situation in minority communities has been heightened by the death of North Carolina native George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota, and the widespread protests sparked by his death, both peaceful and violent.
The virus has been confirmed in residents of every North Carolina county, but some counties are more heavily affected.
As of Sunday, 12 counties reported more than 700 confirmed cases each, including Mecklenburg with 5,509, Wake with 2,235, Durham with 2,114, Forsyth with 1,774, Guilford with 1,614, Wayne with 1,306, Duplin with 1,006, Robeson with 862, Randolph with 792, Cumberland with 775, Rowan with 761 and Chatham with 723.
These 12 counties accounted for more than 54% of all cases statewide.
Post 94, 1 p.m., June 6
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,370 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 34,625. This is the third-straight record-setting day for new confirmed cases. The state also completed more tests this week than in any previous week.
DHHS reported 26 additional deaths from illness known to be related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 992.
There are 708 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, down from Friday’s peak of 717.
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation on Friday that would have provided for broader reopening of restaurants and bars. Cooper said the measure could heighten the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases and threaten public health. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is running for governor against Cooper this fall, issued a statement challenging Cooper’s decision and saying that there’s no scientific evidence that additional reopening would lead to a surge in cases.
Since the previous two rounds of economic reopening in North Carolina, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased dramatically and hospitalizations have reached much higher numbers than previously across the state.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has been confirmed in all 100 counties. Twelve counties have recorded over 700 cases. Those counties are Mecklenburg with 5,358, Wake with 2,155, Durham with 2,025, Forsyth with 1,721, Guilford with 1,573, Wayne with 1,268, Duplin with 976, Robeson with 859, Randolph with 779, Cumberland with 768, Rowan with 735 and Chatham with 720.
These account for nearly 55% of cases statewide.
Although COVID-19 most often leads to serious illness and death in older North Carolina residents, it can be fatal at any age. The state reported the first death of a child from the illness on Friday. The child was a resident of central North Carolina, DHHS said, but did not release additional details in the interest of the privacy of the child’s family.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore issued a statement reminding state residents that everyone should protect themselves against the disease, both to avoid spreading it to others and to prevent infection in themselves.
Post 93, 1 p.m., June 5
The record single-day increase in confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents established on Thursday didn’t last long, as the increase the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported on Friday surpassed Thursday’s record increase by 100.
The addition of 1,289 new confirmed cases on Friday raised the state’s overall count to 33,255.
The record increase is somewhat surprising considering a substantial decline in newly completed tests from the record number DHHS reported on Thursday. Nearly 14,000 tests were completed ahead of Friday’s count, DHHS reported, with a total of almost 500,000 tests on North Carolina residents.
With a state population estimated at more than 10 million, the vast majority of residents have not been tested for the highly contagious virus that often shows few symptoms.
The statewide death toll from illness known to be related to COVID-19 now stands at 966, up six from Thursday.
Also reaching an all-time high on Friday were hospitalizations at 717, representing a rebound to near previous highs after dropping a bit over the last few days.
The virus has been confirmed in all 100 North Carolina counties, but several counties have a disproportionate share of cases.
Nine counties have more than 700 cases each. These are Mecklenburg with 5,057, Wake with 2,067, Durham with 1,877, Forsyth with 1,660, Guilford with 1,508, Wayne with 1,240, Duplin with 943, Randolph with 751, Cumberland with 744. The counties account for more than 47% of the cases statewide.
Carolina Public Press reported Friday on actions by Gov. Roy Cooper to address the disproportionate impact of the illness of North Carolina’s African American and Hispanic residents.
Due to economic disadvantages, these groups have been infected at a much higher rate than whites. The governor is looking a range of polices to address these concerns.
Thursday the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus climbed by 1,189 people compared to Wednesday’s numbers — the largest reported single-day increase.
According to state information, 960 people have officially died after contracting the virus.
In all so far, 31,966 people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. With 85 percent of hospitals reporting, 659 people who have tested positive are hospitalized.
State officials have said they have confidence that hospitals will be able to handle COVID patients for the foreseeable future.
Among the dead is former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Lee Medford, 74, who died at the federal prison complex in Butner Wednesday, according to a report from WLOS. He died of complications from COVID-19, according to a news release.
Medford was evaluated May 20 for low oxygen levels in the blood. He was then taken to a local hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19. The following day he was placed on a ventilator. Medford had long-term pre-existing medical conditions.
Medford had served more than 11 years of a 15-year prison sentence for racketeering, violence, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of state and local law enforcement and conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business.
Counties with more than 1,500 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 are: Mecklenburg with 4,842, Wake with 1,977, Durham with 1,830 and Forsyth with 1,560.
Wednesday the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus surged past 30,000 people. Later this week we may also see another broken milestone as the number of deaths may pass 1,000 North Carolinians.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said in its Tuesday update that 30,777 people have tested positive for the virus, and so far 939 of those have died.
As the number of cases in Macon County leapt from a handful to several dozen, Macon County Health Department now has at least nine people working as contact tracers, who tracked many of the cases down to a local church and a resort. Health department spokeswoman Emily Ritter said they are bracing for additional clusters.
“There is still opportunity for us to slow the spread,” Ritter told Carolina Public Press on Tuesday.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to 684 people. However, only 88 percent of hospitals reported their numbers to the state. The last time hospitalizations were below 500 people was in mid-May.
DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Tuesday she was confident in the state’s hospital capacity despite the rise in people seeking care.
Nearly two thirds of the state’s COVID-19 deaths, or 565, have occurred in nursing homes and residential care facilities. For a list of facilities with current outbreaks, updated twice per week with state data, view Carolina Public Press’ page on facility outbreaks.
North Carolina has substantially accelerated its testing for COVID-19 in recent weeks, so much, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, that posting new statistics by 11 a.m. each day is no longer possible.
In fact, the agency has only occasionally posted each day’s stats by its own stated deadline. Starting today, DHHS’s daily goal for new COVID-19 numbers is to release them by noon. And on the first day of the noon deadline, the new numbers appeared online at 12:25 p.m.
Tuesday’s numbers witnessed a further decline in the number of new confirmed cases to 626, with more than 13,000 tests completed since Monday. However, similar drops in new case numbers previously across several weeks have been followed later by much higher new case counts, especially on Saturdays. This apparently has to do with how test results are reported to the state, rather than the actual number of people with the virus.
Overall the state’s case count Tuesday officially stands at 29,889.
Despite some improvement in case increases Tuesday, hospitalizations spiked again to their highest daily number on record, 716.
Since Monday, 23 additional deaths of North Carolina residents from illness related to COVID-19 have been reported, bringing the death toll statewide to 921.
The total case numbers are being dominated by a small number of counties, despite the virus’ confirmed presence in all 100 counties.
Twelve counties reported at least 600 cases each. These were Mecklenburg with 4,519, Wake with 1,841, Durham with 1,706, Forsyth with 1,434, Guilford with 1,318, Wayne with 1,179, Duplin with 870, Robeson with 786, Cumberland with 708, Randolph with 678, Rowan with 675 and Chatham with 638.
These counties account for more than 54% of confirmed cases in North Carolina.
The number of additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina residents dropped dramatically Monday morning, but with an important caveat – the number of new tests completed dropped by more than half from Sunday and is about a third of those reported completed on Friday.
As a result, state officials reported 674 new confirmed cases on Monday. Two weeks ago, that would have been a fairly high number, but not since several days each with more than 1,000 new North Carolina cases in the last week. The state’s total confirmed case count stands at 29,263, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
An additional 12 North Carolina residents died from illness known to be related to COVID-19 since Sunday, bringing the state’s death toll to 898.
Another measure that state officials watch, hospitalizations, peaked about 700 for several days last week and then fell to 638 on Saturday, but has been creeping back up since then. Currently DHHS said it stood at 650 Monday morning.
However, previous reporting by CPP and a collaborative of other news organizations has shown that hospital reporting on COVID-19 patients has been so erratic that the state’s number is meaningless except as an “at least” number and fluctuations often relate to which hospitals reported on a given day.
While the virus has been confirmed in every North Carolina county, 12 counties with more than 600 cases each have the bulk of case. These include Mecklenburg with 4,412, Wake with 1,773, Durham with 1,660, Forsyth with 1,383, Guilford with 1,288, Wayne with 1,161, Duplin with 846, Robeson with 755, Cumberland with 696, Rowan with 673, Randolph with 671, Chatham with 637. These counties account for more than 54% of cases across North Carolina.
CPP reported Monday morning on questions about claims by state officials that eased restrictions were justified by “sustained leveling” seen in the state’s statistics.
A professor at the School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, who has studied coronaviruses for some time, told CPP that “sustained leveling” isn’t present in the data.