Coronavirus: Tracking North Carolina COVID-19 cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As COVID-19 continues to spread through North Carolina, ABC11 is breaking down the data behind the impact of the virus on the Tar Heel state.

Testing Numbers

To date, 247,172 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have been reported in North Carolina.

State labs are working with universities and private labs to test COVID-19 patients across the state.

RELATED: Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

While state health offiicials initially prioritized health care workers, first responders and those at high-risk for severe complications from COVID-19 for testing, North Carolina has since revised its testing guidelines as the state seeks to test between 5,000 and 7,000 people daily. Under the new guidelines, anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms or who has had exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can be tested for the virus. Additionally, as of July 7, North Carolinians no longer need a referral for a doctor's office to be tested for COVID-19.

Around the world, people older than 65 and those with underlying medical conditions--such as heart conditions, lung conditions, asthma and diabetes--are at greater risk of severe illness and death.

This is how North Carolina reports COVID-19 deaths

Across the country, epidemiologists noted that members of the Black community are dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than people of other races. North Carolina is no exception.

In addition, members of the Latinx and Hispanic community account for more than a third of the COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, despite making up less than 10% of the state's population.

WATCH | The Racial Divide: How minorities are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in NC

Hospital Response

While models released April 29 show that North Carolinians have limited the spread of virus in the community, hospitals and ICU beds could become overwhelmed if the state lifts restrictions too quickly, even under a phased approach.

An ABC11 investigation showed that hospitals could run out of available beds if just 1.5 percent of the state population gets COVID-19.

And of course, available beds are not the only challenge hospitals are facing. On April 1, President Donald Trump said the federal strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment--a supply from which every state is frantically trying to pull resources--was nearly depleted.

After months of sustained efforts to source and obtain personal protective equipment from private companies, the federal stockpile and other organizations, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management finally has enough of each type of necessary equipment to last for at least 30 days.

RELATED: North Carolina first responders, nursing home workers feeling the effects of PPE shortages, officials say


According to national data updated Thursday, 898,000 filed for unemployment benefits last week across the US. North Carolina is not immune to the economic crisis. As of October 14, 1,321,365 people had filed for unemployment benefits in the state, according to a news release from the Department of Employment Security, with 2,561,258 total claims filed. The state has paid more than $8.3 billion in unemployment assistance.

RESOURCE LIST: Financial information during the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Distancing

While North Carolinians seemed to follow Gov. Roy Cooper's Stay-at-Home order and similar county orders in late March and early April, by mid-April--weeks before the order was lifted--data showed North Carolinians starting to get antsy.

According to anonymized cellphone location data, in the days following the order, North Carolinians drastically reduced their movement. By March 30, the average North Carolinian had reduced the distance they traveled each day by 68 percent since the outbreak began. In Durham County, residents were traveling just 0.06 miles each day.

Additionally, ABC11 used Google Mobility data to track whether North Carolinians in Mecklenburg, Wake and Durham counties were staying at home. According to the data, residents in Wake County were staying home more often in early April than they did in January and early February, however, residents in all three counties tended to leave their homes more on weekends.

However, anonymous cellphone location data analyzed by Safegraph shows that the percentage of North Carolinians staying at home started to peak in mid-April. By April 24, residents began to leave home more often. The changed behavior aligns with the time President Donald Trump began talking about reopening the country more often and Gov. Roy Cooper laid out his phased plan to reopen the state's economy.

Have a question about coronavirus? Send it to us here.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.