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COVID-19 Blog: NCDHHS reports 479,168 total cases of COVID in North Carolina

For immediate questions, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Get the latest COVID-19 updates from Gov. Roy Cooper and the state task force, health departments, universities, school districts, and more in this story. We'll put North Carolina's COVID-19 numbers in context for you, and explain what it could mean for the reopening process. Call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1 for immediate questions. 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2020

5:03 p.m. The NCDHHS reports a total of 22,002 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. They also report a total of 293 deaths in the county.

5:01 p.m. According to the NCDHHS, there are a total of 2,748 total hospitalizations due to COVID as of Sunday at 11:30 a.m. 

5:00 p.m. According to the NCDHHS, as of 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, there are 479, 168 total cases of COVID in North Carolina. 

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2020 

1:30 p.m. The NCDHHS reports a total of 3,959 cases of COVID-19 in Rockingham County. They also report a total of 23 deaths in the county. 

1:27 p.m. The NCDHHS reports a total of 18,087 cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County. They also report a total of 197 deaths in the county. 

1:20 p.m. The NCDHHS reports a total of 21,642 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. They also report a total of 293 deaths in the county. 

1:15 p.m. According to the NCDHHS, there are a total of 2,846 total hospitalizations due to COVID as of Saturday at 11:20 a.m.

1 p.m. According to the NCDHHS, as of 11:20 a.m. on Saturday, there are 472, 268 total cases of COVID in North Carolina. 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020

12 p.m. -- North Carolina reached a new record for COVID cases on Friday - more than 8,400. The last record was set exactly a week ago with more than 7,500 cases. Hospitalizations also hit a new record at 2,824. 

Cone Health reached 200 hospitalizations this week. On Friday, the hospital had 195 COVID patients, 27 of whom are in the ICU. 

The state's percentage of positive tests is 10.5% - lower than Guilford County's, which is at 16.5%. 

Statewide numbers: 

  • New cases: 8,444 
  • Total cases (including recoveries): 466,104 
  • Hospitalizations: 2,824 
  • Total deaths: 6,125 
  • Percent positives: 10.5%
  • Average testing turnaround time: 3.3 days
Credit: WFMY
Cone Health hospitalizations

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2020

3:39 p.m. - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services selected 17 school districts and 11 charter schools to participate in the COVID-19 rapid testing program.

Below is the full list of participating schools and districts by county:

  • Alamance County: Alamance-Burlington School System (33 locations)
  • Albemarle County: Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (1 location)
  • Bladen County: Emereau Bladen Charter School (1 location)
  • Buncombe County: Asheville City Schools (11 locations), Buncombe County Schools (44 locations), Francine Delany Charter School (1 location)
  • Cabarrus County: Cabarrus Charter K-12 (2 locations), Cabarrus County Schools (6 locations), Kannapolis City Schools (2 locations)
  • Catawba County: Catawba County Schools (29 locations), Hickory Public Schools (9 locations), Newton Conover City Schools (6 locations)
  • Durham County: Central Park School for Children (1 location), Healthy Start Academy (1 location)
  • Forsyth County: NC Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Gaston County: Gaston County Schools (1 location)
  • Harnett County: Harnett County Schools (28 locations)
  • Johnston County: Johnston County Public Schools (1 location)
  • Lenoir County: Lenoir County Public Schools (17 locations)
  • Lincoln County: Lincoln Charter School (2 locations)
  • Madison County: Madison County K-12 Public Schools (6 locations)
  • Mecklenburg County: Lake Norman Charter (1 location), Sugar Creek Charter School (1 location), UpROAR Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Surry County: Elkin City Schools (3 locations), Mount Airy City Schools (4 locations), Surry County Schools (20 locations)
  • Wilson County: Wilson County Schools (2 locations)

RELATED: Alamance-Burlington School System among 17 school districts, 11 charter schools to participate in COVID-19 testing pilot program

12:30 p.m. - Cone Health is caring for 191 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, with 26 of them in intensive care. The hospital has been hovering around 200 COVID patients all week. Statewide hospitalizations rose to a new high of 2,804, but that isn't far off from Wednesday's numbers, so we don't have enough information to say if it's a new record as some hospitals may still be reporting data from previous days. 

Statewide COVID-19 numbers: 

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 5,786
  • Total cases (including recoveries): 457,660
  • Current hospitalizations: 2,804 (97% reporting)
  • Total deaths: 6,065
  • Percent positive: 11.7%
  • Testing turnaround time: 3.3 days

11 a.m. - Guilford County officials released their vaccine distribution plan as recommended by the NCDHHS. Here's who will get the vaccine first under the four phases: 

  • Phase 1A: Health care workers in close contact with COVID patients and long term care workers
  • Phase 1B: Adults at highest risk of severe illness and those at highest risk for exposure
  • Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness
  • Phase 3: Students and critical industry workers
  • Phase 4: Everyone who wants a vaccine
Credit: Guilford County
Vaccine Distribution Plan

10 a.m. -- Dr. Christopher Ohl, Wake Forest Baptist Health infectious disease expert, shared an update on COVID-19, two days after he received the first vaccine shot at Baptist Medical Center. 

Ohl said he's feeling a "tad bit sore" after his COVID-19 shot on Tuesday, but no more than a flu shot.

"So far, so good," Ohl said. He will get his second shot on January 5, which will be 21 days after his first Pfizer shot. 

Ohl said some side effects include soreness and mild fever after receiving the vaccine. 

Hospital workers are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but Ohl said he expects that eventually, they could be, once more research is done on the shot's side effects. 

Ohl believes the vaccine will be long-lasting enough to end the pandemic but said we'll have to wait and see if people will have to get the shot every year. 

Ohl talked about Christmas gatherings during his briefing. He said a small intimate family event, with people in your own bubble, is the safest way to go. He said the more people you have over, outside your household, the higher your risk becomes for getting or spreading the virus. 

Here are a few tips he shared for Christmas gatherings: 

  • Keep it small. More people = more risk
  • Don't host or visit if you are high-risk
  • Keep gatherings outside
  • Wear masks and sit six feet apart while opening presents

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2020

8:36 p.m. The Alamance County Board of Elections announced it is closing until further notice after a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. They issued the following statements via a release: 

Due to a positive Covid-19 test result amongst staff, the Alamance County Board of Elections will be closed until further notice. While building cleaning is underway, the office will remain closed out of an abundance of caution. 

The Alamance County Health Department was notified of the possible COVID-19 case(s) and is currently in the process of investigating the findings. The Health Department will continue to work with the Alamance County Board of Elections to offer testing and contact tracing guidance. 

For voter information, campaign finance questions and general information between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. please phone 336-570-6755 and follow the prompts.

Nine new outbreaks in the Triad:

  • Adams Farm Living and Rehab in Guilford County. 3 total cases (all staff), no deaths. This is their second outbreak. The first had 58 cases and 3 deaths.
  • St. Gale's Estates in Guilford County. 8 total cases (5 residents, 3 staff), no deaths. This is their 2nd outbreak. The first had 4 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Accordius Health at Winston-Salem. 2 total cases (both staff), no deaths.
  • Woodland Hill Center in Randolph County. 2 total cases (both staff), no deaths. This is their 3rd outbreak. First had 57 cases, 6 deaths. Second had 2 cases, 0 deaths.
  • Penn Nursing Center in Rockingham County. 5 total cases (3 residents, 2 staff), no deaths.
  • Highgrove Long Term Care Center in Rockingham County. 32 cases (28 residents, 4 staff), no deaths.
  • North Point Mayodan. 6 total cases (2 residents, 4 staff), no deaths.
  • Universal Healthcare King in Stokes County. 2 total cases (both staff), no deaths.
  • Village Care of King in Stokes County. 16 total cases (14 residents, 2 staff), no deaths

Additional cases to facilities in the Triad:

  • GrayBriar Nursing and Rehab (the second largest outbreak on record in the Triad) confirmed 5 new cases and 4 new deaths. One of those deaths was a staff member. This is very rare. It's among only a handful of other living facilities in the state to confirm a death among its staff. GrayBriar now has 145 total cases and 9 total deaths.
  • 38 case spike at Magnolia Creek Assisted Living in Forsyth County. They now have 49 total cases (37 residents, 12 staff), no deaths.
  • 32 new cases at the Forsyth County Detention Center. They have 36 total cases (30 inmates, 6 staff), no deaths.
  • Alamance Health Care Center (the largest outbreak on record in the Triad) swells to 196 cases (3 are new today, all among staff). Another person also died, taking their death total to 14.
  • Massive spike at Accordius Health at Wilkesboro. 111 new cases in the last week alone. 6 deaths in the last week alone. They now have 113 total cases (74 residents, 39 staff), 6 total deaths.

12 p.m. - North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 update. Hospitalizations hit another consecutive record high in North Carolina, the NCDHHS reported Wednesday. Nearly a quarter of patients hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19 are in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), according to health officials. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen said the recent increase in hospitalizations are beginning to strain North Carolina hospital workers, doctors and workers. Many surrounding states are experiencing similar increases in hospitalizations, so many North Carolina hospitals have not been able to request additional aid from out-of-state hospitals, Dr. Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen also reported both Novant and Cone Health medical systems will receive shipments of the FDA approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Statewide data

Newly-confirmed cases: 5,273

Total cases (including recoveries): 451,874

Percent positive: 12.5%

Current statewide hospitalizations: 2,811

Total deaths: 5,979

11 a.m. - Novant Health is now offering drive-thru flu vaccines at its COVID-19 screening center located at the former Sears Auto Center at 190 Hanes Mall Circle. COVID-19 screenings will continue to be offered at this location. Drive-thru flu vaccinations are available for patients between the ages of 6 months and 65. Vaccinations are available with or without a referral or appointment. You can schedule your flu shot at Novant Health’s screening center or another Novant Health location at NovantHealth.org/doctor. You cannot get a flu shot if you have flu or COVID-19 symptoms, or if you are isolating due to exposure to COVID-19. 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2020

4:30 p.m. - Cone Health restricts visitor access to the Emergency Department

Visitors have been asked to not accompany patients into Cone Health's Emergency Departments, according to hospital officials.

Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, only people who need care would be allowed to come into a Cone Health emergency department. Friends, relatives, and others would have to wait in their car outside. There are exceptions for children and those with special needs. Only a designated support family member would be allowed with a non-cognitive patient or child, hospital officials said.

Read more: Cone Health restricts visitors' access to the Emergency Department

2 p.m. -- Gov. Roy Cooper and the COVID-19 task force gave an update on the virus Tuesday afternoon. It's the first time we're hearing from Gov. Cooper since COVID-19 vaccinations were distributed to 11 hospitals in the state, including Wake Forest Baptist. The task force is expected to talk about coronavirus trends in the state, but also the latest on distributing and prioritizing vaccinations. 

  • 42 hospitals will receive shipments of the vaccine on Thursday. 
  • Because supply is limited, hospital workers working closely with COVID patients will get the vaccine first. 
  • Gov. Cooper said the federal government is releasing vaccine shipment quantities on Fridays before they go out on Mondays. He has asked Vice President Mike Pence for help with getting information about the vaccines sooner, so state leaders can better plan. 
  • Twice as many people are in NC hospitals with COVID since a month ago. 
  • NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen encouraged people to get tested for COVID before traveling for Christmas.
  • Cooper and other state leaders penned a letter to local governments asking them to civil penalties for not following COVID-19 guidelines, the stay-at-home order, or the mask mandate.

1:15 p.m. -- Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert with Wake Forest Baptist Health, received the first COVID-19 vaccine within the hospital system on Tuesday.

12:30 p.m. -- Hospitalizations reached another record high on Tuesday with more than 2,700 statewide. New cases confirmed Tuesday are high, but not record-setting. Gov. Cooper and the COVID task force will give an update on the virus this afternoon. 

Statewide Data

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 5,236
  • Total cases: 446,601
  • Daily percent positive: 10.9%
  • Currently hospitalized: 2,735 (new record high)
  • Total deaths: 5,881
Credit: NCDHHS
This chart shows who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first in North Carolina.

10:55 a.m. --  COVID-19 testing is canceled Wednesday at Guilford County Public Health Site in High Point to the threat of freezing weather.

Testing at the 501 East Greene Drive location will resume Thursday.

You can go to www.healthyguilford.com for more information on testing hours and how to schedule an appointment.

9:30 a.m. -- Novant Health is giving a community COVID-19 update. The hospital is expected to get the vaccine on Thursday. 

7:15 a.m. -- Guilford County Sheriff's Office closes due to COVID-19

GCSO officials say the West Washington Street building will be closed until Monday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office says all employees will be tested. 

6 a.m. -- Wake Forest Baptist Health says it will begin vaccinating employees Tuesday. The hospital received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2020

2:30 p.m. -- Atrium Health answered questions about getting its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. A hospital spokesperson said five employees have received the vaccine so far, and more will be vaccinated this evening. The hospital's infectious disease expert received the first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Atrium Health says it is not requiring its employees to get the vaccine at this time but is strongly recommending it. A hospital spokesperson said the reason for not requiring the shot for employees right now is because it's a new vaccine, and they're still learning more about it. However, they are confident in the vaccine's results and are encouraging workers to get it. 

12:30 p.m. - Hospitalizations reach another record-high day

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations hit another record-high on Monday with 2,553 total, NCDHHS reported. Our percent positive remains in double digits, but lower than the national average. A vaccine rollout began at 11 North Carolina hospitals, including Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The state's COVID task force will meet Tuesday, but no time has been announced. 

STATEWIDE DATA

  • New cases: 4,770
  • Total cases (including presumed recoveries): 441,365
  • Current hospitalizations: 2,553
  • Total deaths: 5,855
  • Percent positive: 11.6% (national average is 13.3%)
  • Testing turnaround: 3.3 days

COUNTY DATA

  • Guilford total cases: 20,364
  • Forsyth total cases: 16,785
  • Guilford deaths: 276
  • Forsyth deaths: 190

7:30 a.m. - COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

A spokesperson for Wake Forest Baptist Health confirms shipments of COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Baptist Medical Center Monday morning. 

Baptist Medical Center is one of 11 sites in North Carolina getting the vaccine first because the hospital has cold storage. 

FACTS NOT FEAR

Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the safety measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Abide by the three W's. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands, and waiting at least six feet from another person. You also want to avoid touching your face and make sure to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it away.

WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS website. 

NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE 

The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 for the latest.

Stay connected to local, national, and breaking news: Download the WFMY News 2 app. 

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