The latest wave of COVID-19 in North Carolina has contributed to yet another daily high for not only coronavirus-related hospitalizations, but also the rate of positive tests.
The state Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday there are 1,966 North Carolinians hospitalized with the virus.
That's up 81 from the previous high of 1,885 reported Sunday. The last three reporting days have all set records.
The 17-county Triad region had a record 555 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of noon Monday, up 24 from the previous high of 531 reported Saturday.
No region in North Carolina has more hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including the Charlotte region, which had 495 as of Sunday.
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 every day since Oct. 28.
DHHS reported Monday a statewide positive test rate of 9.5% from the 38,761 daily tests conducted Saturday. The previous high was 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 9.6% out of 900 tests on Saturday. The record high for Forsyth is 10.1% out of about 1,200 tests on Nov. 19.
By comparison, Forsyth's positive test percent had dropped to as low as 2.5% in the past six weeks.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Forsyth dropped, with 133 reported Monday by DHHS after 214 were reported Sunday.
Forsyth has an overall case total of 13,421 since mid-March.
The record daily high of 268 was reported Friday. The first time that Forsyth surpassed 200 cases was the 211 reported on Nov. 19.
In fact, the last time Forsyth's daily case count was below 100 was Nov. 16, with 76.
There were no additional COVID-19 related deaths reported Monday in Forsyth, with the total remaining at 166.
There have been 45 coronavirus-related deaths reported for Forsyth in November, by far the deadliest month of the pandemic. The previous high was 28 during August.
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, with DHHS reporting 2,734 new cases Monday. The highest-ever daily case count for North Carolina remains the 4,514 reported Nov. 22.
There were 21 additional deaths reported statewide.
As of noon Monday, North Carolina is at 364,512 total cases and 5,261 deaths.
On Nov 23, Gov. Roy Cooper tightened statewide mask requirements through Dec. 11.
Cooper said at that time "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.
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 364,512 as of noon Monday.
Meanwhile, the death toll has increased by more than 82% from 2,889 to 5,261.
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 70% from 214,684 to 364,512. The death toll is up by nearly 46% from 3,608 to 5,261.
DHHS' next semiweekly reports on child-care, K-12 schools and long-term care facilities will be released Tuesday.