In an unusual weekend statement, Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina secretary of Health and Human Services, warned the further state actions might be in order as new cases of the coronavirus and hospitalizations both climbed to records.
The state reported 6,018 new cases of the virus on Saturday and 2,171 people being treated for it in hospitals across the state. The average of new cases over the past seven days is 4,371, and the average of daily deaths is 42.
North Carolina also has a record number of people in intensive care, Cohen said. A total of 5,516 North Carolinians have died from the virus, an increase of 49 since Friday, the health department said.
“In less than a week, we went from exceeding 5,000 new cases reported in one day to exceeding 6,000,” Cohen pointed out.
“I am asking each North Carolinian to take personal responsibility for their actions and slowing the spread of this virus. Always wear a mask when with people you don’t live with, keep your distance from other people and wash your hands often. We are looking at what further actions we can take as a state to protect North Carolinians and save lives,” she said.
On Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden said he would call on Americans to wear facial coverings for 100 days.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest executive order, which limits gatherings indoors and out and requires masks in all indoor settings where members of more than one household are present, is set to expire on Friday.
With more and more people being tested for the virus daily, the percent of those tests that come back positive has continued to climb. On Saturday, the state reported 10.7% of tests were positive. The seven-day average is 10.26% positive tests, when the state wants that number to be closer to 5%. Both the number of tests and the percent positive have been rising in the week since Thanksgiving.