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COVID-19 Blog: Dr. Cohen concerned about rising trends ahead of July 4th holiday

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

GREENSBORO, N.C. — WFMY News 2 is providing daily coronavirus updates with the latest information from emergency leaders, the state's task force, health departments, universities, school districts, and a lot more. 

THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2020

2 p.m. - NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen gave an update on COVID-19 trends in the state. She said she is concerned about a rise in cases ahead of the July 4th holiday. Watch her analysis of the data in the full briefing here. 

There are four trends Cohen is looking at closely. Here's where North Carolina is today: 

  • Trend 1: Trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases: Cohen said this gets a red "x," meaning we need to see this trend level out or go down. 
  • Trend 2: Trajectory of cases: Cohen said this gets a red "x" because new cases are rising and the line is getting steeper. 
  • Trend 3: Trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests: Cohen said this trend gets a yellow "line," meaning we're doing okay, but we need to see this trend get better. Right now, North Carolina is averaging between 8-10 percent of daily positive tests. Cohen wants to see that number closer to 5%. 
  • Trend 4: Trajectory of hospitalizations: Cohen gave this trend a yellow "line." She said hospitalizations are "starting to level" and we have ICU bed availability. 
  • Cohen said we aren't where she hoped we'd be for July 4th, but we can improve these trends by remembering to wear a face mask, wait six feet apart from others, and wash hands frequently. 
  • Cohen said they are mostly seeing the rising case numbers due to community spread in the workplace between people ages 18-49.

12:45 p.m. - North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus update. North Carolina hospitalizations reached the second-highest number since the pandemic started. Testing reached an all-time high at more than 28,000, though the new case number was average at more than 1,600.

Both Forsyth and Guilford Counties reported 55 new cases and two new deaths. Randolph and Alamance Counties each reported 28 new cases and zero new deaths.

Numbers of Note:

  • 68,142 CASES (UP 1,629)
  • 1391 DEATHS (UP 18)
  • 971,120 TESTS (UP 28,882)
  • 912 HOSPITALIZED (UP 11) (93% hospitals reporting; 35% ventilators in use)
  • 8% of yesterday’s tests came back positive, according to the NCDHHS

County Numbers:

  • ALAMANCE – 1,179 CASES, 37 DEATHS (28 new cases, 0 new deaths)
  • CASWELL – 141 CASES, 1 DEATH
  • CHATHAM – 964 CASES, 43 DEATHS
  • DAVIDSON – 1,012 CASES, 15 DEATHS
  • DAVIE – 206 CASES, 3 DEATHS
  • FORSYTH – 3,132 CASES, 37 DEATHS (55 new cases, 2 new deaths) 
  • GUILFORD – 2,946 CASES, 117 DEATHS (55 new cases, 2 new deaths)
  • MONTGOMERY – 321 CASES, 7 DEATHS
  • RANDOLPH – 1,234 CASES, 30 DEATHS (28 new cases, 0 new deaths)
  • ROCKINGHAM – 235 CASES, 2 DEATHS
  • STOKES – 129 CASES, 1 DEATH
  • SURRY – 488 CASES, 2 DEATHS
  • WILKES – 583 CASES, 6 DEATHS
  • YADKIN – 334 CASES, 4 DEATHS

10:30 a.m. - Dr. Ohl, infectious disease expert with Wake Forest Baptist Health, will look at COVID-19 trends ahead of the upcoming school year.

Watch Full Video:

7:45 a.m. - It's time for After GMS! Should there be a national mask mandate? Economists say it could boost businesses. Plus, should North Carolina beaches close for the Fourth of July? Some states are shutting down popular beaches ahead of the holiday. Join the live conversation

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2020

3 p.m. - Governor Cooper and members of the North Carolina coronavirus gave an update on COVID-19 in the state. Watch the full press conference here. Here are notes from the briefing: 

  • Gov. Cooper showed off his personalized Carolina Hurricanes face mask prior to the briefing. 
  • Today is our highest day of cases. 
  • Cooper said as we go into the Fourth of July weekend, we have to keep our guard up. 
  • Cooper said he wants schools to open in August for in-person instruction, but it will take everyone doing their part to slow the spread of the virus. 
  • Cooper said there's no update on a plan for how schools will reopen, but they will make an announcement soon. 
  • PPE is being distributed to schools across the state for school nurses to use.
  • Cooper said wearing a face mask, washing your hands frequently, and waiting six feet apart from others will fast-track the reopening of schools. 
  • NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said international research has shown that schools are not likely to play a role in the spread of COVID-19. She said they are encouraged by this data and will be watching it closely. 
  • Cohen said we all need to do everything we can - that includes wearing a face covering - to help protect loved ones, reopen schools, reopen businesses. 
  • Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said each school district is receiving a two-month supply of PPE intended for healthcare staff at schools. 
  • The press conference enters the Q&A portion. 
  • Cooper said he hopes to have more instructions from the state level for reopening schools within a couple of weeks. He said his priority is reopening schools for in-person learning. He said it will take all of us working together to slow the spread of the virus. 
  • Cohen said 18 to 49-year-olds are driving the upward trends we've been seeing recently. She said she will go over the trends more in-depth on Thursday. 
  • Cooper said he paused the next phase of reopening because of the concerning trends in our state. He said he doesn't want to be like other states (Arizona, Texas) that have had to go backward in their mitigation efforts. 
  • Cooper said he wants to get more "buy-in" from teachers about the plan to reopen schools. He said state leaders wanted a little more time to "get it right" before making any announcements regarding schools. 

12:30 p.m. - NCDHHS released the latest COVID-19 numbers. North Carolina recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases at more than 1,800 - more than 10% of the new tests. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen has said she wants that percentage to be closer to 5% to further ease mitigation tactics. A graphic below shows coronavirus cases over the last 30 days and a 14-day upward trend of new cases. 

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: 

  • 66,513 TOTAL CASES (UP 1,843) (NEW DAILY RECORD) 
  • 942,238 TOTAL TESTS (UP 17,660)
  • 901 HOSPITALIZATIONS (DOWN 7)
  • 1,373 DEATHS (UP 30)
  • 10.4% positive cases (new cases divided by new tests) 
Credit: NCDHHS/WFMY
The dotted line on this graphic shows an upward trend of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina over a 14-day period.

COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS:

  • ALAMANCE – 1,151 cases, 37 deaths
  • DAVIDSON – 989 cases, 15 deaths
  • DAVIE – 203 cases, 3 deaths
  • FORSYTH – 3,077 cases, 35 deaths
  • GUILFORD – 2,891 cases, 115 deaths
  • MONTGOMERY – 317 cases, 7 deaths
  • RANDOLPH – 1,206 cases, 30 deaths
  • ROCKINGHAM – 234 cases, 2 deaths
  • STOKES – 129 cases, 1 death
  • SURRY – 482 cases, 2 deaths
  • WILKES – 578 cases, 6 deaths
  • YADKIN – 334 cases, 4 deaths

11:30 a.m. - Hometown Strong expands focus to help rural NC communities cope with COVID-19. Hometown Strong is a program aimed at partnering rural communities with North Carolina's government by provideing those communities with information and resources. It now will turn its attention to the coronavirus.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper named Mary Kelley the new Executive Director of Hometown Strong. The initiative team will partner with the NC Pandemic Recovery Office to help small towns recover economically from the effects of COVID-19. The partnership hopes to improve access to health care, economic planning for commercial revitalization, and remote learning support for students and workers.

7:45 a.m. - Join our live conversation on After GMS! We're asking if you feel comfortable flying anywhere this year or if you'll stick to driving. 

News to note: 

Governor Roy Cooper will give an economic development announcement at 11:30 and a coronavirus update at 3 p.m. His office said he will not have an announcement regarding the plan for reopening schools. We will live-stream both press briefings in this blog. 

RELATED: Gov. Cooper will not announce school reopening plans as expected at upcoming news conference

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen announced Tuesday the state has plans to test all nursing home workers and residents for the coronavirus over the next two months. Cohen said a partnership with CVS Omnicare will provide one-time COVID-19 tests to about 36,000 residents and 25,000 staff in more than 400 nursing homes across the state. 

RELATED: 'I don't know if they're doing it too little, too late' | NC leaders say they will test every nursing home resident and staff member statewide

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FACTS NOT FEAR

Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

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

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 to find out more information. 

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