We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
Case count reaches 929,000
At least 929,406 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,248 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,509 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 2,087 the day before.
Twelve additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Thursday. Deaths don’t all occur on the day the state reports them, and the state health department revises its daily figures as information becomes available.
At least 977 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 1,010 on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 4.6% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials have said 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.
More than 2.3 million people in North Carolina have been fully vaccinated. That includes more than one-quarter of the state’s adult population and one-fifth of all North Carolinians, health officials said.
Charlotte-area COVID metrics going up at slow pace
Many COVID-19 metrics in the Charlotte area are going up or staying steady.
But Gibbie Harris, public health director for Mecklenburg County, thinks the region can avoid another spike in coronavirus infections if people get vaccinated and follow guidelines to help slow the spread of the infectious disease, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday.
“Our numbers are increasing, but they’re increasing at a very slow pace...” Harris told reporters. “We have the potential of keeping this rather flat. But it’s up to all of us to make that happen.”
Mecklenburg has about 270 new daily coronavirus cases, compared to 200 a week ago, according to seven-day moving averages. The percentage of positive tests continues to be about 6.8%, data show.
Most Duke Raleigh Hospital outbreak infections were among staff
Thirty-one people were infected in a COVID-19 outbreak at Duke Raleigh Hospital last month.
The Duke University Health System said it tracked down people who may have been exposed to the virus and determined most of the people who tested positive were on its staff, The News & Observer reported Friday.
“The incident serves as a reminder that COVID-19 remains a public health concern, and everyone should remain vigilant with continued mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing,” Leigh Bleecker, interim president for the hospital, wrote in a statement. “Everyone is now eligible for vaccination, and we encourage all to get vaccinated at their first opportunity.”
The outbreak started in a patient unit on the hospital’s fifth floor, which has undergone a “deep clean.” While Bleecker said people could have contracted the virus outside of the facility, “we have counted them as part of the hospital incident until further review.”
Charlotte provider to close mass testing sites
Novant Health, a hospital system in the Charlotte area, is shutting down mass COVID-19 testing sites as of Friday.
The centers in Charlotte and Winston-Salem are closing as the health care provider said it has been seeing lower demand.
Novant Health is still providing tests at its pediatric and primary care offices,The Charlotte Observer reported.
One-fifth of NC adults don’t plan to get COVID vaccine
About one-fifth of North Carolina adults don’t intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a new poll finds.
But residents are increasingly likely to get vaccinated against the disease, results from the Elon Poll show. In the most recent poll, 38% of respondents had received their shots and 25% planned to get vaccinated — up 30 percentage points from October.
“Typically when we ask people behavioral intention items or public opinion items, it takes decades to see the type of change that we’ve seen in six months in North Carolina,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll.
Husser said 20% of people who are against taking the vaccine and others who lean toward not getting it could prevent North Carolina from giving doses to 80% of residents, the percentage some have said will allow the state to reach herd immunity.
List of Charlotte vaccine sites grows
Camp North End has been added to a list of COVID-19 vaccine sites in the Charlotte area.
The area outside of uptown will be home to a vaccination clinic on April 17, according to Mecklenburg County Medical Director Dr. Meg Sullivan. Booking wasn’t open as of Thursday afternoon.
Also on Thursday, Atrium Health said it was opening new appointment slots available at www.thisismyshot.com. The hospital system has participated in mass vaccination events at Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers.
Concerns surround health care workers’ vaccine hesitancy
Thousands of people who work in North Carolina’s health care industry have turned down COVID-19 vaccines.
The NC Watchdog Reporting Network conducted an informal survey that found 40% to 75% of hospital staff have gotten vaccinated against the virus.
Those figures mirror the national trends, as polls have found about half of front-line health care employees received their first vaccine doses.
The hesitancy among people working in the industry makes some worried that the reluctance could deal a blow to herd immunity, according to the reporting network.