Daily positive test rate soars to 17.8% as NC surpasses 7,000 COVID-19 deaths

North Carolina has surpassed 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic and the current daily percent positive rate has reached a record 17.8%, according to data released Wednesday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

There were 80 more additional deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 7,076 deaths since March.

Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force are scheduled to have a news briefing at 2 p.m. You can watch it live on Channel 9 as well as on the WSOC Now app on your Smart TV. We will also be streaming it for you on your mobile device.

There were 6,952 new COVID-19 cases reported and the percent positive rate is higher than the 16.2% mark from Monday, and the highest rate of the pandemic, well above the 5% total that the state wants to reach.

A total of 3,893 people across North Carolina are hospitalized due to the virus, which is also higher than at any point since March. 531 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the past 24 hours -- the largest spike so far in the pandemic.

344 suspected COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in that same time frame. 80% percent of the newly-admitted hospitalizations are patients over the age of 50.

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

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Note: The numbers we show you every day mean everything in how our community recovers from coronavirus -- both in terms of healthcare and the economy -- but they don’t mean much without the proper context and as much transparency as possible.

New cases vary day by day based on a lot of factors. That can include how long it takes to get results back, so a new case reported today can really be several days old.

The other big metric we watch is the percent of positive cases. This is data we can only get from the state because it’s not as simple as factoring a percent of new cases each day from the number of tests. That’s because test results take days and come from a variety of places.