A reporting glitch contributed to lower COVID-19 daily totals being reported Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The department said some laboratory data files were not processed Tuesday.
That means COVID-19 numbers reported Wednesday "are lower than they would have been had all data been processed at the standard time. Data reported (Thursday) will be higher," according to the state.
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 cases are counted.
DHHS reported Wednesday there were 5,098 new COVID-19 cases.
The statewide total is at 641,073 since mid-March.
There were 116 new cases for Forsyth County.
Forsyth set a record for new cases Saturday with 430. The total is at 23,776 since mid-March.
Even with missing laboratory data, there were an additional 107 COVID-19 related deaths reported Wednesday for an overall total of 7,745. A record 142 deaths were reported Sunday.
DHHS reported an additional COVID-19 death in Forsyth for an overall total of 236.
Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease expert with Novant Health Inc., said Tuesday it is too early to say that the holiday surge in COVID-19 metrics has reached its peak locally and statewide.
It typically takes seven to 10 days for COVID-19 symptoms to appear.
Priest has said one key area of concern in early January was a 25% positive test rate in the system’s Triad and Charlotte markets over a seven-day rolling period.
On Tuesday, Priest said the positive test rate has dropped to 22%.
“We don’t know if this is a true trend in the right direction, or just a temporary change,” Priest said.
DHHS reported Wednesday that Forsyth had a positive test rate of 14.7% out of about 700 tests conducted Monday. The county had a record 14.8% positivity rate out of about 1,150 tests conducted Sunday.
Statewide, there was a 14.7% positive rate out of 31,669 tests conducted Monday. The record positive rate is 17.5% of the 25,882 tests conducted Jan. 4.
The statewide COVID-19 hospitalization count was at 3,951 as of noon Wednesday, up 11 from 3,940 on Tuesday.
A record high of 3,960 was reported Thursday and Friday.
The 17-county Triad region had 1,018 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday's report, down six from Tuesday's report. The daily high is 1,078 reported Friday.
The Charlotte region had more COVID-19 hospitalizations, at 1,045, than any other region on Wednesday.
The Triad region had the highest hospitalization numbers for 12 consecutive weeks before Tuesday.
Forsyth is on DHHS' list of 84 counties experiencing critical community spread of COVID-19 and color-coded red, the highest level on the state's county alert system.
The latest update, released Wednesday, also designated Alamance, Alleghany, Ashe, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin as counties with critical spread.
Listed among 12 counties with substantial community spread — color-coded in orange — is Watauga.