The second wave of COVID-19 in North Carolina has produced yet another statewide daily case record for the pandemic, while Forsyth County has surged past 12,000 cases.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,514 cases Sunday, moving well past the previous high of 4,296 that was reported Thursday.
The state overall has had 336,775 cases.
DHHS reported 29 additional deaths for an overall total of 5,034.
Forsyth reported 192 cases Sunday, the second highest daily count behind 211 on Thursday. The county has experienced 26 days with new case counts of at least 80 since Oct. 16.
There were no additional deaths in Forsyth, keeping the county at 157.
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.
"We are seeing warning signs in our trends that we need to heed to keep our family and friends from getting sick and ensuring our hospitals are able to care for those that have serious illness," Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement Tuesday.
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.
DHHS reported there are 1,571 North Carolinians in the hospital with COVID-19, down 19 from the record high of 1,590 reported Saturday.
The Triad region also reported a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday, with 462, the most for any region in the state. The Triad has had the state's highest daily regional hospitalization numbers every day since Oct. 28.
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's three largest health-care systems said Tuesday that while they are experiencing upticks in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, they are within their bed capacity range.
The statewide positive test rate was 7.1% from the record 55,326 daily tests conducted Friday. The rate was down from Tuesday's record of 9.2% since North Carolina began tracking during the pandemic.
By contrast, the positive test rate has been as low as 4.6% on Sept. 24.
The percentage of Forsyth tests returning positive results was at 9.7% out of about 1,500 tests on Friday. That's down from a pandemic record high of 10.1% out of about 1,200 tests on Thursday.
By contrast, the Forsyth positive test percent dropped to as low as 2.5% in the past five weeks.
Federal, state and local public health officials have issued warnings about having more than 10 individuals at a Thanksgiving gathering, particularly when having out-of-town guests.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state's health secretary, has warned individuals planning to attend such a holiday gathering to get a COVID-19 test at least three days beforehand.
Cohen, Gov. Roy Cooper and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged caution when gathering for Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations.
"Especially for gatherings that include people who are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, such as anyone over the age of 65," Cohen said.
Cohen said that "the best way to protect loved ones during Thanksgiving is to limit travel and gatherings with anyone who does not live in your household."
A screening test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not have yet have symptoms.
However, Cohen cautioned that a screening test can miss some infections, and that a negative test "only gives you information for that point in time."
Screening tests are available at state-funded community testing events, which are listed at ncdhhs.gov/testingplace.
"If you test positive, stay home and isolate," Cohen said.
"If you test negative, it’s not a free pass. Wear a mask and practice all 3Ws, including keeping six feet of distance from others and washing hand often."
DHHS advised limiting how many individuals are crowded around where food is available, holding events outdoors if possible, and have one individual designated to serve food and drinks.
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