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North Carolina reported a record number of COVID cases Thursday but there's a reason why

State health officials reported over 44,000 new infections Thursday, setting a new single-day record for COVID-19 cases.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina set a new single-day record for COVID-19 infections Thursday, with health officials reporting 44,833 new cases, with a delay in test results being the culprit for Thursday's report.

The Department of Health and Human Services explained Thursday's large jump in cases as a delay in results from GENETWORx laboratory. Thursday's report included nearly 11,000 positives that were gathered between Dec. 31 and Jan. 11. The two-week positivity rate statewide is at 28.5%, according to analysis by WCNC Charlotte's Vanessa Ruffes. 

"During Dec. 31, 2021 through Jan. 11, 2022, some laboratory results from GENETWORx laboratory were not submitted to NCDHHS. As a result, 36,473 test results (including 10,791 positive results) from this period were not included in data on the NCDHHS data dashboard. This issue did not cause any delays in results being sent to patients or providers. The issue with submission of results from GENETWORx to NCDHHS has been resolved; case and test data reported on Thursday, Jan. 13 will be higher as it will incorporate data that would have been reported on earlier dates."

Hospitalizations are also at a pandemic high, with 4,275 people hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19. This is up from Wednesday's report of 4,098 hospitalizations. As of Thursday, 70% of adults in North Carolina are fully vaccinated, while 74% have taken at least one dose of the Moderna of Pfizer vaccine.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) released an open letter urging the public to get vaccinated, calling this a "critical juncture" of the pandemic. Health care systems are feeling the effects of the highly contagious omicron variant, with staffing shortages and outbreaks impacting services at hospitals across North Carolina. 

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The CDC estimates that omicron is now responsible for 98% of new infections.  On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 4,098 people were hospitalized due to the virus. That's the most COVID-related hospitalizations since the pandemic began. 

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government plans to send military medical personnel to hospitals in six states to help overwhelmed hospitals. Starting next week, 1,000 personnel will begin arriving. This is in response to some states allowing workers infected with COVID-19 to remain on the job due to staffing shortages. 

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