MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC — Mecklenburg County's number of known coronavirus cases jumped by 4,897 cases this past week, according to Mecklenburg County Public Health officials.
The news comes as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools confirms its first cluster of related cases in the school district.
According to county health officials, nearly 300 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the last week as daily cases continue to rise throughout the county.
As of Friday, the percentage of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 was 12.1 percent, MCPH said.
"With substantial community spread, one of the best ways to keep your loved ones safe is to stay home for the holidays," MCPH said in a statement. "If you still have shopping to do, order online or by phone and pick it up curbside when possible. Remember to mask up when you go out. If you've been to a gathering or a crowded place or have been around someone with COVID-19, get tested."
CMS was notified by county officials Thursday that several positive cases at Francis Bradley Middle School in Huntersville are now considered a cluster, the first for the school district.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services defines a cluster as five or more lab-confirmed cases that are linked.
"We would like to share this as an example of the notification and contact tracing process working as it should," CMS said in a statement Friday. "All impacted students and staff were notified last week of confirmed cases and/or the need to quarantine due to close contact with infected persons. No impacted students or staff have been in the building since notification was made. Enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures were implemented and those actions have been completed."
North Carolina's tally of COVID-19 cases rose by 8,444 new cases Friday, increasing the state's total to 466,104 known cases, according to DHHS. At least 60 deaths were reported, increasing the state's death toll to 6,125.
As of Dec. 18, about 10.5 percent of tests conducted in the state were positive.