GREENSBORO, N.C. — During a COVID-19 task force briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said he will extend an executive order that will require state employees to get a booster shot once the CDC updates its definition of being fully vaccinated to include a booster shot.
"Our medical experts here and I urge the CDC to do this as soon as possible. With these vaccines and boosters, we have an amazing tool to save people’s lives and beat this pandemic," Gov. Cooper said.
It's the governor's latest push to fight the pandemic amid record case numbers fueled by the omicron variant after the holiday.
The briefing also came as testing sites across the Triad and state have been inundated with long lines. NCDHHS officials said more than 90,000 tests were reported on New Year's Eve. Officials are urging people to plan ahead when it comes to testing and look for testing sites near them.
NC COVID-19 data
North Carolina health officials reported a new single-day record for infections on New Year's Day - nearly 20,000 new cases. On Tuesday, we had more than 10,000 new cases and a near 30% daily positivity rate, meaning nearly one in every three people tested positive for COVID-19.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise. Data from NCDHHS showed hospitalizations topping more than 3,000 on Tuesday, with patient counts up by 1,000 from a week ago.
Return to school
For students returning from winter break, Guilford County School officials started COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites for GCS students and staff members starting Tuesday.
School officials said faculty and students can drive up to Andrews, Grimsley, or Dudley from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Friday, Jan. 7.
The state revised its safe schools' toolkit, getting in line with the CDC's latest isolation guidance. Any student who tests positive but doesn't have any symptoms can return to class after five days, with five more days of strict masking.
Find a test
As the omicron variant spreads, so is testing demand. North Carolina health leaders are urging people to plan ahead to be able to find testing near them.
To find a test site near you, click here.
Vaccine progress in NC
Percent of population fully vaccinated in North Carolina as of Tuesday, Jan. 4:
- Total population: 59%
- 5+ years old: 62%
- 12+ years old: 67%
- 18+ years old: 69%
The latest on vaccines/boosters
The FDA on Monday endorsed COVID-19 booster shots for children as young as 12.
Health experts say kids should now get a booster shot five months after their second dose, rather than wait six months.
The FDA also recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer booster for some children as young as five with compromised immune systems. The CDC still needs to sign off on that plan, which could happen sometime this week.