The latest wave of COVID-19 cases in Forsyth County has produced another record daily high.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that Forsyth had 268 new cases for an overall total of 12,968 since mid-March.
There also were 112 cases recorded by DHHS on Thursday, although the state did not issue a report on Thanksgiving.
The previous daily high was 211 reported on Nov. 19, followed by 198 reported on Nov. 15 and 194 reported on Wednesday.
There was one additional COVID-19-related death recorded in Forsyth since Wednesday's report, raising the total deaths in the county to 164 since mid-March.
DHHS lists COVID-19 cases and deaths on the day they are confirmed by medical providers and public health officials, so individuals may have been infected or died days before their case is counted.
The COVID-19 surge continued statewide as well, with DHHS reporting 4,174 cases Thursday and 3,834 cases Friday. The highest-ever daily case count for North Carolina is 4,514, reported Sunday.
There were 72 additional deaths reported statewide Thursday and Friday.
North Carolina is at 354,514 total cases as of noon Friday, along with 5,210 deaths.
COVID-19 related hospitalizations were at 1,780 as of noon Friday, down 31 from a record high of 1,811 reported Wednesday.
The 17-county Triad region had 508 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of noon Friday, down 17 from a record 525 reported Wednesday. No region in North Carolina has more hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including the Charlotte region, which has 437.
The Triad region, for the purposes of state COVID-19 reporting, is made up of Forsyth, Guilford, Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Davie, Davidson, Iredell, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.
The Triad has had the state's highest regional hospitalization numbers every day since Oct. 28.
On Monday, Cooper tightened statewide mask requirements through Dec. 11.
Cooper said during his latest COVID-19 update that "the next seven to 14 days are going to be critical in looking at the science and data to determine what additional steps we might need to do."
Local and state public health officials have expressed concern about another surge in COVID-19 cases over the next two weeks related to family and social gatherings around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Those steps could include retreating from the Phase 2.5 and Phase Three easing of pandemic-related restrictions.
The Cooper administration has been monitoring five public health data points: number of hospitalizations; number of hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators available; number of positive cases; percentage of positive cases; and number of people coming to hospital emergency rooms with COVID-19 symptoms.
Each metric has been going in the wrong direction for several weeks.
The statewide positive test rate was 7.3% from the record 55,326 daily tests conducted Wednesday. The statewide high is 9.2% reported on Nov. 17.
The positive test rate has been as low as 4.6% on Sept. 24.
The percentage of Forsyth tests returning positive results was at 9.8% out of a daily record of 2,200 tests on Wednesday. That's down from a record high of 10.1% out of about 1,200 tests on Nov. 19.
Forsyth's positive test percent dropped to as low as 2.5% in the past five weeks.
Since Phase 2.5 of reopening began Sept. 4 in N.C, the total statewide case count has more than doubled — from 175,815 to 354,514 as of noon Friday.
Meanwhile, the death toll has increased by 80.3% from 2,889 to 5,210.
Since Phase Three of reopening began Oct. 2, allowing bars and night clubs to operate at limited outdoor capacity, the total case count is up 65.1% from 214,684 to 354,514. The death toll is up by 44.4% from 3,608 to 5,210.