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"I've been ringing the warning bell" | Dr. Cohen says North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics are concerning

North Carolina has once again hit an all-time high for the number of coronavirus patients currently hospitalized.
Credit: WCNC

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry held a COVID-19 coronavirus briefing from Raleigh. 

Cases in North Carolina: 38,171 lab-confirmed cases, with 1,053 deaths. DHHS reported 1,011 new cases Wednesday. That's up from Tuesday's 676 cases, and while the single-day increase is not an all-time high, Cohen noted the state keeps seeing increases of more than 1,000 cases at a time, which is troubling.

North Carolina's record for the largest one-day jump in cases is still from Saturday, June 6, which marked 1,370 new cases.

Credit: WCNC

There are 780 people in the hospital with COVID-19, which is a new single-day high. Hospital resources, like beds and ventilators, are still available, but the trend for hospitalizations remains upward.

Credit: WCNC

The percent positives for test results was 8%. Earlier this week, Dr. Cohen noted that North Carolina's rate is one of the highest in the country.

Credit: WCNC

Testing remains a major focus for the state. Wednesday's testing numbers were the second-highest in one day, with 17,939 tests completed. The record is from last Thursday, which saw 19,039 tests completed.

Credit: WCNC

Dr. Cohen said the recent trends in the COVID-19 metrics are concerning to her and are similar to trends seen in neighboring states in the Southeast.

"It's a reminder that COVID-19 is still a serious threat," said Dr. Cohen, noting that the virus is expected to linger for an extended period of time.

Dr. Cohen also elaborated on a call she recently received from Dr. Deborah Birx, who's on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The task force discussed eight North Carolina counties with concerning metrics. Mecklenburg County was on that list, along with Durham, Wake, Forsyth, Duplin, Lee, Johnston, and Alamance Counties.

North Carolina plans to surge testing in these areas, Cohen said.

"It is going to take all hands on deck to make sure we keep the virus levels low," Cohen said. "I've been ringing the warning bell this week saying, 'Look, the trends aren't going in the right direction. Let's jump on this now and see if we can make those trends back."

Health officials continue to urge people to social distance, wear face masks when they cannot social distance, and wash their hands.

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