COVID-19 hospitalizations hit another record high 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.

What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here



6:45 p.m.
Cumberland County is reporting six new COVID-19 cases. Cumberland County's case count is now 717 with 25 deaths.

5 p.m.
Johnston County officiais have a new hotline for COVID-19 information.

Beginning Wednesday at 8 a.m., residents can call (919) 209-8310 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday - Friday for information.

2 p.m.
At a media briefing, North Carolina Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen warned that new cases are on the rise and it can't all be attributed to increased testing.

"Day-over-day new cases are increasing," Cohen said. "And notably, we've seen in the past week, this increase has even accelerated slightly. In the last 10 days, we have had three days with over 1,000 new cases reported on those days. I would have liked to see this trend starting to level, but unfortunately, it continues to increase."

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State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is troubled by some recent COVID-19 trends in NC. Here, she breaks down the numbers.



Cohen said the data shows that we're "just having more viral spread in our community."

Gov. Roy Cooper, who touched on the racial tensions and violent protests seen nationwide in the past few days, also issued a reminder that COVID-19 provides an ominous backdrop to the social rage that has bumped the novel coronavirus from the forefront of American consciousness.

"A cruel virus that threatens all of us that has disproportionally struck the black people in our state," Cooper said.

He said one reason is the gap in health care. The governor called it a "systemic injustice."



12:30 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 626 more cases of COVID-19 since Monday.

12,273 tests were reported in the last 24 hours, which means that the state hit its goal for testing.

The percent positive is 8%, which is level over the last few days.

716 people are currently hospitalized from complications of coronavirus, which marks a new daily record high in that metric.

10 a.m.
More than $3 billion has been paid out to unemployed people in North Carolina since March 15.

Due in most part to COVID-19, 987,072 people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment. So far, 660,553 of those have received unemployment benefits.

TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES

The state could very well surpass 900 coronavirus-related deaths when the new numbers are reported Tuesday. North Carolina is reporting the percentage of positive coronavirus tests increased slightly over the weekend and is now at 9 percent. It has remained roughly level over the last few weeks.

Hospitalizations increased by 1 person (650), but have decreased since last week's record high. There have been 898 coronavirus-related deaths in the state since late March.

The state met its testing goal in the last 24 hours and has completed 421,908 tests in total.

Gov. Cooper will speak about COVID-19 at 2 p.m. The update will be aired on ABC11 and abc11.com.

MONDAY
4:45
Lee County Government confirmed a total of 459 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, up 31 from Friday. There have been four deaths county-wide.

3:50 p.m.
Halifax County is reporting 184 COVID-19 cases, up 7 from Friday. There has been one death related to the virus.

3 p.m.
In a news conference, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen started with a simple statement, "George Floyd. I can't say anything else without first saying his name."

Cohen said one clear demonstration of the pervasive inequities that structural racism has created in North Carolina is the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the black and African American community.

"I want you to know that I see you. I see your deep hurt and sadness. I understand the dispair, and fully support the need to peacefully protest," Cohen said.

Cohen said one of the ways that North Carolina and NCDHHS can act to address inequities is to focus their COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts in historically marginalized communities, and to partner with minority businesses and businesses that employ diverse work forces to do so.

"I can use my place of privilege and power to do better," Cohen said.

Department of Public Health Senior Deputy Director Dr. Cardra Burns recognized the systemic barriers to communities of color in seeking medical attention and getting access to disease prevention tools.

"Everything from implicit bias impacting access to quality health care, lack of trust in the health care system, or just being able to access testing in their communities," Burns said. "Our team is laser-focused on addressing these barriers and ensuring that our communities of color are front and center in our efforts to respond to COVID-19."

Burns detailed the department's efforts to hire people representative of the communities they will serve to do contact tracing. Burns also said NCDHHS is prioritizing partnering with minority-owned businesses in choosing partners and vendors to mitigate COVID-19.

"It's one small down payment on our commitment to action," Burns said. "As we move toward mitigation of COVID-19 and provide more testing and contact tracing, we must address these root causes without unintentionally harming our communities and increasing these disparities."

Cohen also added that she was proud to see many protestors over the weekend wearing face coverings.

"I was appreciative in the context of all the pain and anguish of the weekend that people were taking that people were taking that act of care and kindness to protect the world and wear those face covering," Cohen said.

2 p.m.
Wake County has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at HeartFields at Cary, an assisted living and memory care facility in Cary.

The county did not release information about the number of workers or patients who have the virus.

"We're not surprised by the outbreaks in our community's congregate living facilities, given the nature of this virus," said Dr. Jose Cabanas, who is overseeing the Wake County Emergency Operations Center's public health branch. "HeartFields acted proactively by having its staff and residents tested so that early intervention protocols could be enacted in order to protect all of their residents and staff. It's a smart decision given COVID-19's ability to spread quickly throughout congregate living facilities."

11 a.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 674 new COVID-19 cases and 5,619 tests for a total of 29,263 cases and 421,908 tests.

Twelve more people have died from complications related to the disease, bringing the total to 898 deaths. The state reported that 650 people are currently hospitalized with severe symptoms.

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

HOW ARE WE DOING?
As the state looks to go through the phases of reopening, officials are looking to meet certain benchmarks.
Here's how we're doing on some of those:
Decrease in percent of positive tests? Though this metric increased slightly over the weekend as is now at 9%, it has remained roughly level over the last few weeks.
Hospitalizations decreasing? Hospitalizations increased by 1 person, but have decreased since last week's record high. However, only 75% of hospitals reported to NCDHHS on Monday morning. According to health officials, 26% of inpatient beds and 16% of ICU beds are currently available.
Testing capacity? The state met its goal in the last 24 hours.
Contract tracers? During a news conference Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has hired nearly all 250 new contact tracers they were contracted to employ. This doubles the state's number of contact tracers to 500.
PPE Supplies? Though the state still does not have a 30-day supply of surgical gowns on hand, supplies have now reached a 29-day supply. However, the state's stockpile of N95 respirators has decreased to a 19-day supply.

10 a.m.
More than $3 billion has been paid in unemployment benefits and claims in North Carolina since COVID-19 became a pandemic.

$3,124,023,562 has been paid out, according to the latest numbers released from the state's Division of Employment Security. 980,952 people have filed claims since March 15 with 654,287 claimants paid.

9 a.m.
Wake County is launching drive-thru COVID-19 testing for at-risk residents.

Location information:
June 1-4:
Wake County Commons Building parking lot
4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

More information here.

8:45 a.m.
Raleigh Parks will open comfort stations/restrooms, picnic shelters, dog parks, skate park, lakes, and private boat launches Monday.

In addition, Millbrook Tennis Center will re-open along with all tennis and outdoor pickleball courts, but singles play is strongly encouraged.

All other Raleigh Parks programs and facilities will be closed through at least June 26, 2020. This includes playgrounds, drinking fountains, basketball and sand volleyball courts, athletic fields, aquatic centers, pools, and splash pads.

In addition, indoor facility and athletic field rentals are not available at this time.

MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Durham is set to relax some of its COVID-19 restrictions on Monday at 8 a.m., allowing breweries and restaurants to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Outdoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people and face coverings will still be required in spaces where social distancing can't be enforced.

Private pools can open, however, Durham Parks and Recreation Department will not open public pools this year.

Barbershops and salons will also be allowed to open.

Face coverings will still be required in places where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed.
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