RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the state Wednesday as more cities and counties begin to implement mask mandates.
The state announced all 100 counties in North Carolina are labeled as areas of high transmission of the virus as the more contagious delta variant fuels new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide.
The Centers for Disease Control’s map of North Carolina shows all 100 counties in the red – the highest category. This means there are high COVID-19 transmission levels in our state.
On Wednesday, state labs reported more than 5,200 new cases. They made up 13.2% of tests. That’s more than double the target positivity rate of 5% or lower – the threshold for containing the spread.
Every day, the state reports multiple COVID-related deaths. The death toll came to 13,952 as of Wednesday.
Hospitalizations are spiking. More than 2,900 people are in North Carolina hospitals with COVID-19 – the most since January 28. That was months before vaccines became widely available to the public.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said the state is experiencing the fastest increase in cases seen since January 2021, and that the surge happening now was on par with the original surge.
North Carolina physicians continue to emphasize more than 90% of patients are unvaccinated.
For the past two days, Cone Health has been taking care of more than 100 patients admitted for care. This doesn’t include those in the emergency department.
Cone Health issued a memo earlier this month, saying it projected to surpass 100 patients by the end of August. That happened much sooner.
Cone Health representatives said there are unspecified contingency plans in place to accommodate more patients. For example, the hospital system can add more than 100 new negative pressure rooms, if necessary. However, they will not be reopening the now-vacant Green Valley campus as a COVID-19 unit, as they did last year.
When it comes to vaccines, North Carolina is seeing some movement, but not enough to slow the spread.
If you isolate only the people eligible to get vaccines – 12 and older – we’re up to 56% fully vaccinated. That’s just slightly lower than the U.S. average of 59%.
Doctors and health researchers emphasize the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get the vaccine. Health officials have repeatedly said the way out of the pandemic is through vaccinations.
- To find a vaccine provider near you, click here and enter your zip code.
- You can also call your local health department or North Carolina's 211 number to learn more about vaccine clinics near you.