North Carolina added more than 5,800 cases to its COVID-19 total Friday, far fewer than it saw through much of September. But the number of hospital patients statewide shot back up after a two-day decline.
The state Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,368,743 cases since the pandemic’s beginning, up 5,805 from Thursday.
For the third straight day, the state’s seven-day average stayed below 6,000, coming in at 5,464 cases — far lower than most of the the month.
Also, North Carolina saw its percentage of positive cases drop for a second day to 8.6%. While the state started the week with that percentage in double digits, it remains higher than state health officials’ goal of 5%.
But while much of the week saw the state’s pandemic numbers trending downward, its hospitalized patients moved higher on Friday after days of decline. The state now has 3,359 COVID-19 patients, up 128 from Thursday.
Intensive-care patients had also fallen earlier in the week, but that figure finished at 895 Friday, rising by 35 people in a day.
The state has seen a steady downturn in its COVID-19 new-case numbers all week, with the seven-day average falling below 6,000 for the first time since August.
Both hospitalizations and intensive-care patients hit their lowest mark in a month on Thursday, signs that the delta variant’s spread may be waning.
Still, COVID-19 test results have not averaged below 5% — the state’s goal — since July. North Carolina has not seen its daily caseload increase by less than 1,000 in nearly two months.
Gov. Roy Cooper and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen continue to stress vaccines as the fastest way out of the pandemic, but by Thursday, only 63% of adult North Carolinians had taken both doses. That number inched up to 64% Friday.