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Health Team

NC new cases of coronavirus, percent testing positive trending in the right direction

Posted September 15, 2020 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2020 4:16 p.m. EDT

North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said Tuesday that the state is seeing daily coronavirus metrics trend in the right direction.

Although the state reported a daily high 51 deaths on Tuesday, the number of new cases of the virus per day and the percentage of people testing positive have both been down in the past week to numbers not seen since mid-June.

"Last week was a very positive week," Cohen said. "Case counts were on the lower side, our percent of positive tests is hovering around 5. That was a milestone we were aiming for."

On Tuesday, there were 916 people in hospitals statewide being treated for the coronavirus. Since March, 186,887 people have tested positive for the virus, but most of them – more than 167,000 – have recovered.

COVID-19 testing trends in NC

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services started releasing the total number of patients tested for COVID-19 on March 18. DHHS doesn't publish raw numbers detailing daily negative and positive tests from labs reporting both of these figures - just percentages. So WRAL is calculating the percentage of positive tests here on a rolling average based on the last seven days of reported new cases divided by the number of reported new tests. NOTE: This graph reflects a major correction by DHHS on Aug. 12 after the agency discovered a discrepancy with their submissions from LabCorp dating back to April 24. During the week of Aug. 30, DHHS made corrections to its reported case counts for several days in August after LabCorp reported a delay of nearly 1,000 positive test results. Read more about the corrections and compare the changes here.

Source: N.C. DHHS
Graphic: Tyler Dukes, WRAL

Cohen pointed to the decrease in the percent of positive tests as an especially encouraging sign. She called North Carolina "a standout in the South" with the lowest percent positive in the region. Throughout the summer, North Carolina averaged about 7% positive tests. Over the past week or so, that number is down to 5%.

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