We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
New cases, hospitalizations hit record highs
At least 70,241 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 1,392 have died, according to state health officials.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported a record 2,099 cases of the virus, breaking the earlier record of 1,843 set Wednesday.
The number of North Carolinians hospitalized with COVID-19 also set a record of 951, DHHS said Friday.
On Friday, the percentage of positive tests was 11%, passing the 10% mark for the first time. Health officials have said that number needs to get closer to 5%.
How man people are actually infected in NC?
While more than 70,000 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, the number of people who have contracted the virus statewide is likely closer to half a million, according to researchers from N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill.
The researchers estimate more than 480,000 people have been infected in the state, less than 5% of North Carolina’s population. They said the number indicates the state is not testing enough people, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The estimates show that about 84,000 people currently have the virus in North Carolina and about half of those could still be infectious, The Observer reports.
State fails to hit benchmarks
Dr. Mandy Cohen, N.C. DHHS secretary, said during a news conference Thursday that the state is continuing to fail to hit benchmarks that measure the spread of COVID-19.
State officials use four metrics to monitor the spread of the coronavirus: hospitalizations, the number of new lab-confirmed cases, the percentage of positive tests and the number of people with COVID-like symptoms at hospital emergency departments.
She said North Carolina isn’t seeing progress in any of them.
“We are not in dire straits like some (states) around us,” she said. “We have reason to be concerned, though. This isn’t where I’d hoped we’d be for July Fourth weekend.”
Cohen also said North Carolina is seeking federal help with a testing supply shortage that’s causing delays in receiving results. The shortage of reagents, the chemicals used to run lab tests, means labs can take between five and six days to report test results.
“The health systems could run more tests if they had more reagents,” Cohen said. “We can’t solve that problem from the state level. Federal help and action is needed to address these supply issues right now.
Governor vetoes reopening bills
Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday vetoed three more bills passed by the state legislature that attempted to lift coronavirus-related restrictions.
The bills would have reopened gyms, fitness centers, skating rinks, bowling alleys, amusement parks and entertainment venues — all of which have been required to stay closed under Cooper’s executive orders.
He also vetoed House Bill 686, “Freedom to Celebrate the Fourth of July,” which would have allowed parades and firework shows to violate Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan and Senate Bill 105, “Clarify Emergency Powers,” which would have required agreement from the rest of the Council of State for some orders.