North Carolina reports 8,833 new COVID-19 cases after 3 straight days of more than 10K cases; more than 3,700 remain hospitalized

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

SUNDAY

3:25 p.m.
Cape Fear Valley Health announced that it will be opening scheduling for COVID-19 vaccines starting Wednesday, January 13 for all of its hospital campuses including Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville and Cape Fear Valley hospitals in Hoke and Bladen counties.

The health care system says it is currently vaccinating Phases 1B, group 1, which includes individuals ages 75 and older, as well as continuing vaccinating first and second doses for health care workers in Phase 1A.

For those looking to schedule an appointment, click here.

Cape Fear Valley Health will also be offering one more day for walk-in "first come, first serve" clinic on Tuesday, January 12 at the Medical Center and Hoke Hospital.

11:15 a.m.
Following three days of record-shattering COVID-19 metrics, the state is reporting 8,833 new cases Sunday, bringing the total to 623,188.

With 95 percent of hospitals reporting, 3,774 COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized in North Carolina.

According to NCDHHS data, 368 ICU and 5,056 inpatient hospital beds are empty across the state.

142 more North Carolinians have died from the virus, bringing the total to 7,567.

The daily percent of positive tests is at 13.7%, down slightly from Saturday's 14.8 percent.

7:20 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 22,138,725 COVID-19 cases throughout the United States since March.

More contagious COVID-19 variant 'likely' in NC, potentially producing false-negative tests

SATURDAY

1 p.m.
Wake County health officials said they will start vaccinating residents ages 75 and older against COVID-19 on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

"We've taken a major step forward in providing protection to our healthcare workers, and now, we're poised to give the vaccine to our older residents who are at greater risk of serious health problems if they contract the virus," said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria. "We strongly encourage anyone 75 or older to consider rolling up their sleeves and getting the shots to safeguard themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19."

11:20 a.m.
North Carolina has recorded another record in the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 11,500 new cases reported in a single day. This follows two consecutive days of more than 10,000 cases.

The state reported 11,581 new cases, bringing the total to 614,355.

Throughout North Carolina, 3,871 COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized. That is down 89 but among the highest seen during the pandemic.

97 more North Carolinians have died from the virus, bringing the total to 7,425.

The daily percent of positive tests is at 14.8%, which has increased from Friday's 13.9%.
7:20 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 21,871,822 COVID-19 cases throughout the United States since March.

FRIDAY

5:27 p.m.
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill said classes will begin January 19, as planned but the start of in-person undergraduate classes will be delayed for three weeks.

Those classes instead will be held remotely, with the current plan to start in-person classes February 8.

The semester start dates for graduate and professional programs may vary, and all programs have the option of starting remotely.

"We will welcome students back to our campus residence halls beginning Jan. 13 as planned, but students will have the option to return or delay their move-in date up until Feb. 7," the university said.

5:24 p.m.
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health vaccinated 500 people Friday at its COVID-19 vaccination clinic held at the Crown Complex. Within the first three hours, 200 vaccines were given to individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Group 1.

Individuals who received their first dose of the vaccine today are eligible to get their final dose as early as January 29.

The next vaccination clinics at the Crown Expo Center for individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Group 1 are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, while supplies.

Individuals who are not part of Phase 1a or Phase 1b, Group 1, are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time. Phase 1a is for health care workers at high risk for exposure and staff and residents at long-term care facilities. Phase 1b, Group 1 is for people 75 years of age or older.

The COVID-19 vaccine is still limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the clinics next week. No appointments are necessary.

Anyone seeking the vaccine will be screened prior to entering the vaccination area. Vaccinations will be available in a drive-thru setting at the Crown Complex at the West VIP parking lot. A walk-in option will be available at the front of the building.

"This was our first mass vaccination clinic for the public, and we are pleased that things ran smoothly," said Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green. "We will continue to fine-tune our operations as we expand our capacity moving forward into the other phases."

Visitors should expect long lines and come prepared to wait. Visit the county's vaccine website for additional information.

4:43 p.m.
The Orange County Health Department has more than 4,200 people signed up for vaccination in Phase 1b Group 1 for individuals 75 and older since registration opened January 7, and appointment slots are being filled already for next week.

As of Friday morning, the department has vaccinated 999 people.

The county began vaccinations for Phase 1b Group 1 Thursday. There is no requirement to have qualifying chronic conditions to be eligible in this group for ages 75 and older.

For registration and more information, click here.

The Orange County Health Department said there have been 66 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 5,431 cases.

4;16 p.m.
In alignment with the state of North Carolina's extended Modified Stay at Home Order, the Town of Morrisville is implementing additional safety cautions and changes to its daily operations, beginning Monday and extending through at least January 29.

"While the Town of Morrisville has relatively low Covid-19 infection rates at this time, it's imperative that we continue to work to slow the spread of this virus," said Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley. "We urge residents to stay vigilant in adherence of the three Ws - wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart (avoiding close contact) and washing your hands often. It's also important to get your flu shot."

The following changes to Town of Morrisville operations will be in place from January 11-29:
  • Town of Morrisville offices will be closed to the public.
  • Town Council meetings (and the Jan. 13 Planning & Zoning Board meeting) will be completely virtual.
  • The Morrisville Aquatics & Fitness Center and Cedar Fork Community Center will be closed. No outdoor classes will be conducted, but virtual programming will be available (parks, tennis courts and the Healthy Food Hub will remain open).


Town staff will continue to work mostly remotely, with a limited number of employees in Town buildings.

3:10 p.m.
The Sampson County Health Department reports 172 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 5,469 positive test results.

One additional death was reported for a total of 68 countywide.

Sampson County is expecting a high turnout at its drive-thru COVID vaccination clinic scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 13.

Vaccinations at this event are free, but only for Sampson County residents 75 years of age and older. Participants are encouraged to bring verification of date of birth.

Persons who have had any vaccine in the last 14 days will not be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine at this event. Future clinics will be scheduled for those unable to be vaccinated.

Persons receiving the vaccine should plan to remain in a designated "parking/waiting" area for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine for observation by public health staff. Access to the Sampson Expo Center parking lot will NOT be open until 7:30 am on the 13th.

2:15 p.m.
As COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in the wrong direction, Dr. Mandy Cohen revealed that she is worried.

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NCDHHS' Dr. Mandy Cohen on Friday addressed the state about the concerning COVID-19 metrics.



"In the 10 months that we have been fighting this pandemic, this is the most worried that I have been for our state," Cohen said.

Cohen said many hospitals have stopped non-urgent procedures to free up staff or decided to open up additional COVID-19 units. She even said she expects to see the strain on hospitals get worse before it gets better.

"The situation is so critical that if you have been with people you don't live with, you should assume you are infected and are a danger to others."

Now is as important as ever to adhere to the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands and wait at least six feet apart.

Another step in the state's response to the pandemic is the vaccine rollout. Cohen said the state is working hard to ramp up the number of shots given every day.

In the last 24 hours, she said 20,000 people in North Carolina received the vaccine.

That comes after the CDC identified North Carolina as the 7th worst state for vaccination rate.

"The rate of vaccine going into arms has really started to pick up," Cohen said. "Now that we are out of the holiday time, we are able to keep it up and I think you are going to see that pace continue to accelerate."

Still until, and even possibly for some time after, the vaccine is distributed far and wide, it's going to be important to remain vigilant against the virus.

"I do think folks have had a long year and sometimes we are letting down our guard," Cohen said. "We know there was holiday travel and we know the increase in cases are linked to the fact that folks are getting together indoor and not wearing their masks."

2:14 p.m.
Halifax County said the Kirkwood Adams Community Center vaccine site has been canceled. COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered at Halifax Community College Building 700 beginning Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 pm.

The Halifax County Health Department will continue to vaccinate group 1A and 1B-1 Tuesday.

The Halifax County Health Department will begin vaccinating group 1B-2 January 13 and January at Halifax Community College, Building 700 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (If vaccine amounts are available the health department will consider moving to group 1B-3.)

1B-2 group includes health care workers and frontline essential workers 50 years and older. The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (fire fighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.

The Halifax County Health Department said it has 3,269 total positive COVID 19 cases (63 new cases). One additional death has been added, for a total of 54 deaths -- 1.7% of cases.

11:30 a.m.
For a second straight day, North Carolina reports having more than 10,000 new positive COVID-19 cases.

Friday's number of new cases did dip slightly to 10,028--which is the second most ever, behind yesterday's number. The percentage of positive cases increased slightly from 13.5% to 13.9%.

The number of people killed by the virus increase by 115, meaning at least 7,213 people in North Carolina have now died from COVID-19 in less than a year.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus remained steady at just under 4,000.

To take a look at the metrics for yourself, click here.

FRIDAY MORNING STORYLINES


The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed to more people in North Carolina.

Duke Health is now allowing people 75 and older to get the shot. You do not need to be a Duke Health patient. If you're interested in setting up an appointment, call 919-385-0429 sometime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Meanwhile in Cumberland County, the county's health department is hosting a public vaccination clinic Friday morning.

About 300 vaccinations will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis to people 75 and older. The clinic is set to open at 9 a.m.

Wake County remains in the first vaccination phase--trying to inoculate frontline healthcare officials.

A clinical liaison for the Wake County Health Department said that is because the county has many more people who fall in Phase 1A than other parts of North Carolina.

Durham County likewise has not moved into Phase 1B yet. County officials hope to do some sometime next week.

Johns Hopkins University reports 3,865 people died from COVID-19 in the United States on Wednesday. That's the highest single-day death toll to date, breaking the record set just a day prior.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said ongoing upticks in deaths, hospitalizations and cases will likely continue through January.

"As we get into the next couple of weeks in January, that likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time," Fauci said.

He went on to say he hoped increased public health measures in place during the holidays will prove to have been effective, but it's unclear yet if people followed those guidelines strictly.

Unfortunately, he admitted, "things will get worse as we get into January."

THURSDAY


7:15 p.m.
The Durham Public School Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to stay with Plan C for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

4:30 p.m.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz sent the below message to campus announcing modifications to the spring 2021 semester.

"With record COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina and around the country, we are making adjustments to our spring semester to provide as much flexibility as possible for a safe return to campus. We are making these changes with the health of our campus and the community in mind," Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said.

UNC-Chapel Hill's spring 2021 semester start date remains January 19.

All undergraduate classes will now be remote for the first three weeks of the semester. Only a limited number of undergraduate courses were planned to be in person.

The limited number of students who will live on campus also will have more flexibility on when they can move back to campus: on-campus residents have the option to move in to their single-occupancy housing starting January 13 or delaying their move through February 7.

11:25 a.m.
For the first time ever, North Carolina is reporting more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period.

On Thursday, the state added 10,398 new cases of the virus. However, the daily percent positive rate did drop from over 16% to 13.5%. That, of course, means the state received a significant uptick in tests completed.

The previous single-day record for cases was 9,527, which happened on New Year's Day.

Thursday's metrics also showed a steep increase in COVID-19 deaths. Another 137 people succumbed to the virus, increasing its total death toll in North Carolina to 7,213.

Hospitalizations also increased (setting yet another record) from 3,893 in yesterday's report to 3,960 in today's report.

"North Carolina has set a new one-day record with nearly 10,400 new cases," Gov. Cooper said in a tweet Thursday. "These numbers paint a dark picture - COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across our state. We're at a critical point in our fight against this virus and all need to take responsibility for our own actions."

THURSDAY MORNING STORYLINES



A drive-up vaccine clinic in Concord had to shut down early after long lines and traffic backups led to health officials running out of their allotted supply of the vaccine. The drive-up clinic at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center drew so many cars, Highway 49 had to be temporarily shut down, according to WSOC.

The clinic was scheduled to last until 4 p.m. but instead closed at noon. A COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Goldsboro also ran out of available doses for the day after opening early due to high demand.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has extended the statewide curfew but added no new restrictions on businesses or individuals.

Several counties in the state have begun vaccinating adults 75 years or older. Public health officials are warning that demand is outpacing supply and will continue to be that way in the coming weeks. Hospital workers that have come into frequent contact with COVID-19 were prioritized first. The state hopes education will help boost vaccine participation among workers in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes.

North Carolina's new chief justice says he's asked Gov. Roy Cooper to consider getting COVID-19 vaccines more quickly to local court officials to meet a requirement to keep the courts open. Chief Justice Paul Newby made the remark at Wednesday's online installation ceremony for himself and two new justices. Court activities in all 100 counties have been dramatically scaled back since the pandemic began.

Health officials said more than 137,000 people have been vaccinated in North Carolina. That is less than 30 percent of the doses of the vaccine that the state has received.

The state also revealed an updated COVID-19 map Wednesday. The new map shows 96 counties have either critical or significant community spread of COVID-19. That is up from 92 counties two weeks ago.

The United States set a record for the most deaths in a single day Wednesday. This is the second day in a row that the country set a death record.

On Wednesday, 3,865 people died from COVID-19, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to work from home, but there are signs that office life will continue in North Carolina's Research Triangle. Our Newsgathering partners at The News & Observer reported Wednesday that some tech firms are planning new offices in the region despite the recent trend of working from home. Pendo and Bandwidth are also going full-speed ahead with their new headquarters.
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