The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the third-highest daily increase in new COVID-19 cases and deaths on Thursday -- 2,344 and 38 respectively.
The jump in both metrics happened as hospitalizations dipped below yesterday’s record-high of 1,291 people in the hospital with COVID-19 down to 1,239.
With 89% of hospitals reporting, 1,149 intensive care unit beds and 5,660 inpatient beds are available statewide.
To date, 8% of tests have been positive, a metric that has been dropping slightly over the past week to remain stable at 7-8%, but is still higher than the 5% health officials would like to see.
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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.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen held a news conference Thursday where she stressed the importance of mental health awareness and access to resources for anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
According to state health leaders, North Carolina hospitals are seeing an uptick in people coming into the emergency room with drug overdoses and binge drinking.
The Director of the NCDHHS Mental Health Division, Victor Armstrong, said symptoms of anxiety and depression have tripled, and North Carolina has seen a 15% increase in ER visits for opioid overdoses.
Cohen said the goals of the state’s mental health programs are to increase access, improve awareness and combat stigma.
“There are resources we can connect you with,” Cohen said. “You don’t have to go through it alone.”
Cohen and Armstrong also said that the state’s mental health crisis, much like the pandemic, is disproportionately impacting minorities.
If you or anyone you know needs mental health resources, you can call the Hope 4 NC Crisis Line (1-885-587-3463) and the Hope 4 Healers Line (919-226-2002), a line exclusively for health and child care workers.
The North Carolina State Fair will not happen in 2020 for the first time since World War II.
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the announcement Wednesday morning, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial hurdle it would create for the fair.
“We have hoped, we have prayed and we have thought and thought and thought but at the end of the day, it’s the only logical decision that we could make,” Troxler said.
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