RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting nearly 19,000 new coronavirus cases during the first two days of 2021.
Numbers reported on Jan. 1 totaled 9,527 new cases. That exceeded the state’s previous high set on Dec. 18 by more than 1,000. Cases were slightly less on Saturday with 9,356 new ones reported.
The numbers come from COVID-19 key metrics reported from the NCDHHS.
Officials said records were also set for the percent of tests that were positive and hospitalizations. On Jan. 2,15.5 percent of tests were positive, the highest rate since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 3,479 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and 783 people were in the intensive care unit.
“We begin 2021 in our most dangerous position in this pandemic. We have critically high rates of spread in much of our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. “I encourage you to avoid getting together indoors with anyone who doesn’t live with you. If you plan to see other people keep it outside and very small. Wear a mask the whole time. We must do all that we can to protect one another.”
Earlier this week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued stark warnings to North Carolinians, including:
- If you are under 40 and you gathered beyond your immediate household, you need to assume you became infected with COVID-19 even if you don’t have any symptoms. You are dangerous to others and must isolate away from anyone at increased risk for severe disease and get tested.
- If you are over 65 or if you have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked and you should have groceries and medications delivered.
North Carolina’s Modified Stay at Home Order remains in effect. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, are required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.