NORTH CAROLINA — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in North Carolina days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted a rise is oncoming.
On Friday, the CDC announced that the state-level ensemble forecasts in North Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Utah and Vermont suggest that the number of new deaths over the next four weeks will likely exceed the number of deaths during the previous four weeks.
Other states are expected to experience about the same or a slight decrease in the number of deaths, according to the CDC.
As of Sunday morning, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed 44,119 cases of the coronavirus, and 1,109 deaths. This is an increase of 2,870 new cases and 17 new deaths since Saturday.
On Thursday, there were 812 coronavirus-related hospitalizations reported in North Carolina, the highest number recorded yet in the state since the coronavirus pandemic began three months ago.
On Sunday, that number dropped to 798 people currently hospitalized in North Carolina. A total of 627,130 tests for the virus have been completed.
This week's national ensemble forecast suggests that there will likely be between 124,000 and 140,000 total reported coronavirus deaths by July 4th.
The CDC based its prediction on national forecasts put together by 17 institutes including Georgia Tech, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In response to the increases, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said the state will increase testing in the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus, including Durham and Wake counties.
"This virus continues to be spread by people who don't know they have COVID-19," Cohen said.
In the past month, North Carolina has expanded testing to about 400 sites around the state and has increased processing in state labs from 5,000 tests to about 15,000, she said.
"We want to rapidly increase testing for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not having symptoms, especially people from historically marginalized populations who we know have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19," Cohen said.
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