NC sees record 98 COVID deaths in a single day
Posted December 16, 2020 12:04 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina reported the largest single-day death total of the coronavirus pandemic to date on Wednesday. A record 98 new deaths were recorded.
To date, 5,979 people have died of the virus in the state, and more than 303,000 have lost their lives nationwide.
At the same time, hospitalizations continue to climb – to a record 2,811 on Wednesday, a jump of 76 from the day before and about double the number seen as recently as the week of Thanksgiving.
More than 15% of all hospital patients statewide have tested positive for coronavirus, and nearly a quarter of the ICU beds in the state are filled with COVID-19 patients.
"Too many North Carolinians are getting seriously ill," Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said Tuesday.
"I know we’re all getting so numb to these numbers, so I'm asking you to take a moment to think about who these people are. They're our neighbors, our friends, our family members – they’re people we love," Cohen said. "I know no one wants this for our state."
Cohen and Gov. Roy Cooper said the surge in the virus – North Carolina also recorded another 5,273 new infections on Wednesday, marking seven days out of the last eight when the daily total topped 5,000 – was expected after people traveled and had family gatherings for Thanksgiving.
They said the numbers could be even worse following Hanukkah, Christmas and other holiday celebrations in the coming weeks, and Cooper again urged people to forgo traditional get-togethers and choose instead to call loved ones on the phone or chat online.
"If you must [travel], it’s essential you get tested, wear a mask, keep it small and keep it outdoors," he said.
The rate of positive tests also reached a record on Wednesday, at 12.5%. That is two and a half times the 5% positive rate Cooper and Cohen want to see to consider spread of the virus under control.