Raleigh, NC – A record 5,637 new coronavirus cases were recorded in North Carolina on Thursday, raising the previous record by 25 percent.
Meanwhile, 2,101 people were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals across the state, setting a record in that metric on the sixth straight day.
Secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen calls the state moving beyond the 5,000 mark to “disastrous milestones of 5,000” new cases.
“This number is alarming,” Cohen said during a briefing on the epidemic.
The previous record for new cases was 4,514 on 22 November. Thursday’s record numbers – it comes exactly nine months after North Carolina’s first coronovirus case report – put an average of seven-day new cases, rolling at 3,793 per day compared to the previous week. .
While thanksgiving can be attributed to the crush of the test conducted before the thanksgiving as people prepared for the holiday celebrations, Cohen also expressed concern over the 11.4 percent rate of positive coronavirus tests.
“I’m very worried,” he said.
Gov. Roy Cooper, who was visiting the Pittsboro plant that makes protective face shields and clustered nose swabs for virus tests, said he was “deeply concerned” by North Carolina’s troubled trend lines.
“We are particularly concerned about the stress on our hospitals,” Cooper said. “We know it is important that we try to bring these numbers back.”
Both Cooper and Cohen said the state’s epidemic-related restrictions are enough to limit the spread of the virus – provided people follow them. But they said they would again oppose tougher restrictions if needed.
The governor said, “There are many people who are doing the right thing and following the rules, and we are grateful for that. But it is irresponsible to ignore the rules and create situations where people can get infected.” ” “It is critically important that people follow these orders and they take personal responsibility.”
“We knew there was a greater risk of bus outages during the winter holidays,” Cohen said. “We know, however, what to do. We know what prevents it. … We can all do something right now to slow the spread of this virus. We have to.”
The US Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to meet next week to consider an emergency use authority for a potential vaccine made by Pfizer. Modern and other companies’ vaccine candidates for FDA authorization are also in the pipeline.
Cohen said that, once a vaccine is approved, North Carolina will initially receive about 85,000 doses, which will be sent to the state’s largest hospitals, all of which require the ultra-cold to store the Pfizer vaccine. There are freezers.
Rural hospitals and cities will not have access to that initial batch for smaller facilities, he said, because of cold storage requirements and the inability to break 1,000-dose packages into smaller units. But in late December and January, doses will continue to be shipped to North Carolina which will eventually make its way to smaller hospitals and counties.
Cohen said nursing home and health care workers who work directly with COVID-19 patients will be the first group targeted for vaccination in the state.
The state still hasn’t seen the full impact of travel and holiday celebrations on Thanksgiving weekend, Cooper said. Fearing a steady increase in cases through the ensuing holidays, he continued to promote security.
“We hope that people are smart and responsible over the holidays,” he said. “I hope that those who are planning these big celebrations will reconsider when they think about the fact that they can put people in a position where not only those people who are getting sick, Rather everyone who comes in contact with these people. During the holidays, when you see a lot. “