North Carolina reported more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday — the highest one-day increase in months, according to the North Carolina DHHS COVID-19 dashboard.
The state reported 4,331 new cases Thursday. The last time more than 4,000 cases were reported was Feb. 13, when 4,130 cases were reported.
There were 3,413 cases reported Wednesday. New cases stayed at about 2,200 on Monday and Tuesday. Positive case numbers tend to be lower on Monday and Tuesday due to less testing being performed over the weekend, as shown by the Daily Tests analysis on the NCDHHS dashboard.
There are 1,651 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state, up 71 from Wednesday’s 1,580. Hospitalizations have increased every day since July 9, when 409 people were hospitalized.
There are currently 388 adult ICU COVID-19 patients. On July 5, there were 388 total COVID-19 hospitalizations.
There were also 24 new deaths reported Wednesday, a figure the state hasn’t reported since late May. So far, 13,724 people have died from COVID-19 in North Carolina. The seven day average deaths was 13 on Tuesday and remained the same as of Wednesday.
Delta variant to blame
The recent surge is due to the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, health officials say. This variant is more transmissible and possibly more deadly.
Durham County has reported 193 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days; Orange County reported 144 and Wake County 340. On Wednesday, Durham reported 178 cases per 100,000 people, Orange reported 125 and Wake 315.
As of Thursday, Durham has had 26,741 cases, Orange has had 8,914 and Wake 94,566.
From July 4 to 17, the last data available, the state’s county alert system labeled Wake and Orange counties as yellow (significant impact) counties and Durham as a light yellow (moderate impact) county. Richmond County was the one red county in the state; only 34.3% of that county is fully vaccinated.
Fifty-five percent of North Carolinians 12 years or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 59% of this age group has received at least one dose. These numbers have remained the same since Tuesday. They are lower than the national averages; 58.2% of Americans 12 years or older are fully vaccinated, and 67.7% have received at least one dose.
Most cases and deaths among unvaccinated
North Carolina has so far administered 34,300 vaccine doses this week, but the NCDHHS website states that this data could be incomplete. The state administered 109,446 doses last week. The number of vaccines administered in a week has been increasing since the week of July 5.
NCDHHS recently told The News & Observer that more than 94% of cases and deaths reported since May 6 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. People who are vaccinated and contract COVID-19 typically avoid serious illness or hospitalization, the spokesperson wrote.
Additionally, during May and June, more than 99% of cases and more than 98% of hospitalizations and deaths were in people who were not fully vaccinated.