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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 Reports 11,581 New COVID-19 Cases, Capping A Week Of Skyrocketing Coronavirus Numbers

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North Carolina reported a record 11,581 new coronavirus cases Saturday, the second time in the past seven days a new high has been set in that category in a week where COVID-19 statistics in the state have skyrocketed.

After reporting back-to-back days of 9,000 new COVID-19 cases at the start of 2021, the last seven days have included three days with at least 10,000 new cases.

An average of 7,988 new coronavirus cases have been reported per day in North Carolina over the last week, and 515 new deaths attributed to the virus have been added to the state’s total.

The positivity rate averaged 15% in the last week, reaching a high of 17.8% on Wednesday – the largest number reported in that category since the pandemic began.

And 295 new hospitalizations for the coronavirus have been added to that number in the last week, as hospitalizations surged to as high as 3,960 on Thursday and Friday.


On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper extended Phase 3 coronavirus restrictions – including a 10 p.m. curfew – for at least three more weeks, and Health Secretary Mandy Cohen issued a secretarial directive strongly encouraging state residents to follow social distancing recommendations.

“They need to be staying home unless they are conducting essential business -- unless you’re going to work or school, getting groceries,” she said at a news conference Friday. “You should not be going to someone else’s home indoors. You should not be having people over to your home indoors.”

Cohen added that she does not yet think we are experiencing the anticipated infection surge from holiday gatherings.

Both Cohen and Cooper said they are confident the state’s hospitals can weather the influx of patients, even as a field hospital was constructed this week in Lenoir for Western Carolina patients, and as The Charlotte Observer reported that 90% of ICU beds in Mecklenburg County were occupied at the end of December.

The North Carolina Nurses Association this week sent a letter to Cooper urging the governor to take additional measures to “prevent the state’s health care system from being swamped.”

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