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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

NC, SC Report Record Highs In Coronavirus Cases; NC 'Looking At What Further Actions We Can Take'

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Both North Carolina and South Carolina reported record highs in new coronavirus cases Saturday, and NC Health Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a statement that “we are looking at what further actions we can take as a state to protect North Carolinians and save lives.”

In a tweet, Gov. Roy Cooper said, "Our actions right now are life or death."

The NC Department of Health and Human Services said 6,018 people tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, just two days after reporting more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time. The percentage of tests that came back positive was 10.7%, the fifth consecutive day the positivity rate has been in double-digits. Health officials say they would like that number to be 5%.

“This is very worrisome,” Cohen said in a statement. “We are seeing our highest rates of tests that come back positive despite the fact we are doing a lot of testing. This indicates we have more viral spread across our state right now.”

North Carolina currently is in Phase 3 of coronavirus restrictions, which allows restaurants to open at 50% capacity and caps limits on mass gatherings at 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. A recent tightening of face mask requirements now says people should wear face coverings whenever indoors in the presence of others who are not a part of your household.

The latest executive order is scheduled to expire Dec. 11.

Meanwhile, South Carolina also reported a record high in coronavirus cases identified for the second straight day. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control said Saturday that 2,715 people tested positive for COVID-19, with 20.8% of tests performed coming back positive.

It is the fourth consecutive day that the test-positivity rate in South Carolina has been at least 20%.

On Friday, SCDHEC released a statement saying, “Our state’s hospital systems are becoming increasingly burdened in caring for all of those who are severely suffering from this deadly virus. ...

"We are currently in an all-hands-on-deck situation. We know South Carolinians can and will come together, now more than ever, to change our course."

Nationally, deaths attributed to COVID-19 jumped 40% in the past week, as daily cases reported topped 200,000.

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