Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in North Carolina hit another record high

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina
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Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Send them to us here

5 p.m.

Stadium capacity will be adjusted to 1,500 for the Carolina Panthers final home game versus the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 3, 2021, the team announced Monday.

PSL Owners who purchased a ticket for the game have the option of receiving a refund or applying payment to their 2021 invoice. An automatic refund of all single-game ticket purchases through Ticketmaster will be applied to the same method of payment used to purchase tickets within 30 days. Tickets purchased through other channels are subject to their respective policies.

4:40 p.m.

Residents and staffers at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across North Carolina began receiving the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are administering the vaccines, but because of privacy concerns are not identifying the specific locations receiving the first shots.

According to CVS, nearly 128,000 people will get vaccinated at nearly 900 locations during the next three months across the state.

4:13 p.m.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield said he received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The North Carolina Democrat tweeted a photo of himself and said that "following CDC recommendations & direction of the Office of Attending Physician, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While this is a critical step in crushing the virus, we must continue science-based safety measures: Practice social distancing. Wear a mask."

3:41 p.m.

Wake County is providing six sites for free COVID-19 testing this week and into 2021, with several sites open on New Year's Day and park locations offering Sunday hours.

There's no cost, no appointment necessary, no insurance needed, and no ID required. Walk-ups are welcome.

The following locations will be open Monday through Saturday every week, including testing on the Friday, January 1 holiday:

  • Swinburne Parking Lot Drive-Thru Testing, 2845 Kidd Road, Raleigh, 27610, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Departure Drive Building Drive-thru Testing, 5809 Departure Drive, Raleigh 27616, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays)
  • Radeas Labs Drive-thru Testing, 907 Gateway Commons Circle, Wake Forest 27587, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Starting Tuesday, Wake County will offer free testing at three City of Raleigh parks:

  • Roberts Park, 1300 E. Martin St., Raleigh, 27610
  • Marsh Creek Park, 3050 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh, 27604
  • Method Community Park, 514 Method Road, Raleigh, 27607

Testing at all park sites is as follows:

  • Tuesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday & Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday-Sunday, Jan 1-3 NO TESTING
  • Monday, January 4, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday - Saturday, January 5-9, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 10, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the latest testing times and locations, check here.

2:53 p.m.

The Lee County Government Health Department confirms 218 new cases of COVID-19 since last Monday for a total of 3,401 cases of COVID-19.

1:14 p.m.

The Halifax County Health Department reports one new death and 145 new cases of COVID-19.

In all the county has had 45 deaths and 2,628 total positive COVID 19 cases.

11:50 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Monday reported 3,888 new COVID-19 cases on Monday -- the second day of daily increases under 4,000. Those numbers are abnormally low, however, the number of tests completed over the last two days is also abnormally low. This likely is due to lower processing volumes during the holiday.

Hospitalizations, on the other hand, set a new record high on Monday with 3,192.

366 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospitals in the last 24 hours. 286 suspected patients were admitted in the same time frame.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU also saw a record high Monday with 733. Last Monday there were 686 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

84 percent of hospitalized patients are over the age of 50. However, the majority of cases (40 percent) are in the 25 to 49 age group.

6:20 a.m.

Transportation Security Administration announced it screened more than 1 million people the day after Christmas.

The day after Christmas was the second most traveled day since the pandemic began. The most traveled day happened the day before Christmas, when TSA screened 1,191,123 people.

The daily numbers this holiday season are about half the number of travelers screened on the same day in 2019.

The TSA numbers come as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As cases continue to surge in the wake of Thanksgiving-related travel, health experts warn a similar surge will likely happen in a couple weeks because of the travel related to the end of year holidays.

Monday Morning Headlines

Residents at North Carolina nursing homes and long-term care facilities will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

CVS and Walgreens are organizing the vaccinations, but due to privacy concerns, they are not identifying the specific locations that will receive the shots first.

We do know that CVS is administering the vaccines at nearly 900 North Carolina facilities, and more than 40,000 nationwide, starting Monday. The group expects to vaccinate as many as 4 million residents and staff members.

CVS said it will begin offering the vaccine to the general public sometime next year.

Meanwhile, North Carolina's COVID-19 metrics remain at or near record levels.

To date, more than half a million people have tested positive for the virus in North Carolina, with at least 6,549 dying from it. Updated numbers will be released around noon.


9 p.m.

President Donald Trump signs COVID-19 relief bill after delaying for nearly a week.

The president announced Sunday that he had signed the bipartisan bill that his own representatives spearheaded but that he earlier in the week called a disgrace.

In a statement the president said he was signing the bill but was also calling on Congress to make changes to it.

12:48 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,898 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, raising the total number of statewide cases to 516,828.

The daily percent positive continues to trend in the wrong direction and has increased by 1.5 percent, raising the total to 11.9 percent. The goal, as set by the NCDHHS officials, is to be around 5 percent.

As of Sunday afternoon, 100 more people are currently in the hospital with COVID-19. For almost a whole week, the number of hospitalizations has been above 3,000.

Twenty-three more people have died due to complications with the virus since Saturday, bringing the total to 6,549.

In total, there have been 6,737,864 completed tests, up 29,776 from Saturday.


1:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday released new COVID-19 numbers for the state for the first time in three days.

Numbers were not released on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The daily case increases for the last three days are as follows:

Dec. 24: 7,703

De. 25: 6,345

Dec. 26: 5,371

Over the last few days, North Carolina surpassed 500,000 total cases since the start of the pandemic.

Currently, 3,023 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state. The number of hospitalizations has been above 3,000 since Dec. 21.

The percent positive in the state is 10.4 percent. The goal is to be around 5 percent.

10:29 a.m.

An offender at Nash Correctional Institution who was diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 died on Christmas night, prison officials said.

The 81-year-old offender had extensive underlying medical issues. He tested positive for COVID-19 on December 8 and was hospitalized on December 20.

"We sympathize with the offender's family, as losing a loved one is hard enough, but especially so during the holiday season," said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. "We continue working diligently to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons because the health and safety of the staff and the offender population continues to be our top priority."

9 a.m.

A look at the state's "County Alert System" shows the latest trends in community spread in central North Carolina.

Wake and Durham counties are in the orange zone -- with "substantial" levels of community spread.

Cumberland County is in the red zone -- with "critical" spread.

The latest update shows more than 90 percent of the state is in red or orange zones.

In the past two weeks, the number of counties in the red zone has increased from 48 to 65.