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COVID-19 Blog: North Carolina sets new record for hospitalizations, more than 3,300

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.  


3:04 p.m. - An inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said the Central Prison offender also had pre-existing medical conditions and the inmate died at a hospital.

“We sympathize with the offender’s family, as losing a loved one is hard enough, but especially so during the holiday season,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “We continue working diligently to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons because the health and safety of the staff and the offender population continues to be our top priority.”

The said the inmate tested positive for COVID on Dec. 18 and was hospitalized the same day but his condition worsened and he died on Dec. 24. 

The offender was a male in his early-70s who had underlying health conditions. 

Prisons leadership has taken more than four dozen actions throughout the North Carolina prison system to try to prevent transmission of the virus. 

Noon -- Hospitalizations reached another record high in North Carolina and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests is above the national average. More than 3,300 people are fighting COVID-19 in hospitals and health officials only expect that number to rise following Christmas gatherings. Here's a breakdown of the statewide data on Tuesday.

Statewide data:

  • New cases confirmed Tuesday: 3,563
  • Total cases (including recoveries): 524,279
  • Current hospitalizations: 3,377 (new record)
  • Percent positive: 13.5% (national average is 12%)
  • Total deaths: 6,574
  • Testing turnaround (PCR molecular): 3 days


Noon -- North Carolina has had 520,716 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Hospitalizations reached a record high again Monday and have stayed above 3,000 since December 21. Case numbers today and yesterday were the lowest in about a month. However, it should be noted that fewer people got tested over the Christmas holiday weekend. 

It's too early to see a direct correlation between Christmas gatherings and COVID spread, as symptoms typically appear between 5-7 days after possible exposure. Then, it can take a few more days for a test result. 

Nearly half of all North Carolina counties have 'critical' spread, per the last county update on December 22. The state is still in phase 1a of vaccine distribution. This phase includes health care workers and long-term care staff and residents. We will get a new vaccine report on Tuesday. 

Statewide numbers: 

  • Total cases (including recoveries): 520,716
  • Hospitalizations: 3,192
  • Total deaths: 6,561
  • Total tests: 6.77M
  • Percent positive: 14.7%
  • Average testing turnaround time: 3 days

County  breakdown:

  • Alamance: 10,120 cases, 117 deaths
  • Davidson: 8,361 cases, 77 deaths
  • Davie: 2,010 cases, 13 deaths
  • Forsyth: 19,947 cases, 221 deaths
  • Guilford: 23,810 cases, 308 deaths
  • Randolph: 7,753 cases, 118 deaths
  • Rockingham: 4,324 cases, 25 deaths
  • Surry: 4,251 cases, 63 deaths
  • Wilkes: 3,745 cases, 69 deaths
  • Yadkin: 2,310 cases, 28 deaths


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.


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. 


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.

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