COVID-19 in the Carolinas: NC reports highest one-day increase of positive tests, hospitalizations

NC reports highest one-day increase of positive tests, hospitalizations

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported on Friday the state’s highest one-day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 2,099 cases.

Hospitalizations are also at a record high with 951 people currently hospitalized

The second highest hospitalization count recorded in the state was on June 23 with 915 people hospitalized.

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The state continues to have enough capacity to care for patients, officials said.

“We are seeing significant spread of the virus and it is very concerning,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “Today we have the highest reported day of new cases and hospitalizations - and that should be a warning to us all as we go into this holiday weekend. We don’t get a holiday from COVID-19. We all need to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often.”

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Of Friday’s newly reported cases, 11% were positive among labs that report both negative and positive tests into the state electronic reporting system – the highest percentage North Carolina has seen since late April when the state was doing more targeted testing.

One more death was reported on Thursday, bringing the total in the state to 1,392.

Breakdown of COVID-19 trends:

  • People showing up to emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms: Increasing (early warning indicator)
  • New cases: Increasing and accelerating
  • Percentage of positive tests: Remains elevated (sitting at 8%-10% but leaders want it closer to 5%)
  • Hospitalizations: Level

Cohen stressed Thursday the importance of face coverings and avoiding large gatherings going into the holiday weekend. She said the state isn’t where she wanted it to be for Fourth of July, but that we can work together to see positive change.

“The best way to honor our country is to honor each other,” she said in regards to people taking personal responsibility for following health guidelines.

When asked about holiday travel playing a role in possible virus spread, Cohen said most of North Carolina’s cases are driven from local transmission and community spread such as workplace exposure and large gatherings. According to Cohen, North Carolina is seeing a “slow but steady increase” compared to states that now serve as cautionary tales for how things can change quickly.

Cohen did say that the state is seeing a positive trend in its response to the virus. Testing is up and there are over 530 testing sites across the state.

According to Cohen, the state is facing shortages of a chemical that is used to process lab tests.

What about closer to home?

As of Friday morning, 12,233 Mecklenburg County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 151 related deaths. Data from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 are presented below.

As of June 30, 2020, 10,367 cases of and 151 deaths due to COVID-19 among county residents were reported to Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH).

MCPH provides these routine updates about reported cases of COVID-19 to help our community better understand how this pandemic is developing in our county. These results only reflect laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among county residents. Many individuals infected by COVID-19 have not been tested because they are asymptomatic. As such, these results are very fluid and only represent a fraction of the true burden of COVID-19 in our community.

>> We’ll bring you LIVE updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Get extended coverage on the free WSOC Now app on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV.

Daily case counts provided by MCPH may differ from state and federal counts due to delays in reporting to the various entities. MCPH updates case counts after an initial case review and, where possible, a patient interview is conducted, which includes confirming county residency. Cases reported after 5 p.m. are counted in the following day’s case count.

Highlights about the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County as of June 30, 2020 include:

  • About 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old.
  • More than a third of reported cases are Hispanic – most of whom are younger adults. The high number of reported cases among young Hispanics over the last several weeks remains a significant concern. As previously noted, some factors influencing this trend include:
  • Targeted testing occurring in neighborhoods with lower access to care, some of which have larger Hispanic populations;
  • Higher proportions of Hispanics working in essential jobs that make social distancing difficult;
  • Significant household spread among large families; and
  • Pre-existing disparities in other social and economic determinants of health, like poverty.
  • About 1 in 15 reported cases were hospitalized due to their COVID-19 infection. While everyone is at risk for severe COVID-19 complications, reported cases who were older adults (≥ 60 years) were more likely to be hospitalized compared to younger individuals.
  • More than half of cases have met CDC criteria to be released from isolation.
  • During the past week, an average of 144 individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections were hospitalized at acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County. This represents an increase over the last 14-days. These data are based on daily census counts from acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County reporting to MCPH.
  • During the past week, an average of 11.2 percent of individuals who were tested were positive for COVID-19. During the last 14 days, there was a slight decline followed by a slight increase in percent positive. Overall, this represents a stable trend over the last 14-days. These data only include tests conducted by Atrium Health, Novant Health, and CVS Health. Reporting of negative results to MCPH is not required or covered by communicable disease reporting laws. MCPH will include results from other providers and laboratories as accurate, consistent and timely reporting mechanisms are established.
  • One hundred-fifty-one deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases.
  • Almost all deaths were among older adults (≥ 60 years), 18 deaths were adults ages 40 to 59.
  • All deaths, except two, occurred among adults with underlying chronic illnesses.
  • More than half were non-Hispanic Whites. The disparity in COVID-19 deaths among non-Hispanic Whites is related to differences in race/ethnicity of residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities actively experiencing an outbreak.
  • Nearly 2 out of 3 deaths were connected to active outbreaks at long-term care (LTC) facilities.
  • Based on publicly available mobility tracking data, social distancing slightly increased then slightly decreased in Mecklenburg County over the last 14 days. Overall, this represents a fairly stable trend over the last 14 days.

>> The latest data, maps and charts on local COVID-19 are available here on MeckNC.gov.

Gaston County leaders continue to be concerned with the rise in COVID-19 cases in the county, and are re-emphasizing the need Thursday for residents to take this public health crisis seriously and practice the 3 Ws – Wear, Wait and Wash.

Gaston County’s total active case count reached an all-time high on Tuesday, and daily positive totals are five and six times higher than what the County experienced just six weeks ago. In addition, the County’s percentage positive rate has more than tripled – from just over 5% in mid-May to more than 17% this week.

Are people recovering?

As of Monday (this data is released only on Mondays), the state was reporting 45,538 patients were presumed to have recovered. That’s out of the 63,484 cases reported Monday across the state.

In Mecklenburg County, more than half of the 11,532 COVID-19 cases have been released from isolation.

It takes about 28 days for people who have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 to recover from the virus, according to the NCDHHS.

North Carolina to test all nursing home residents, workers

North Carolina has announced plans to test all nursing home workers and residents for the coronavirus over the next two months.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says the partnership with CVS Omnicare will provide one-time COVID-19 tests to about 36,000 residents and 25,000 staff in more than 400 nursing homes across the state.

A cost estimate was not immediately provided.

Nearly half of all COVID-related deaths in North Carolina to date have come from nursing homes. There has also been 123 coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes thus far into the global pandemic, and those over the age of 75 are most vulnerable.

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