RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

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12 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 6,164 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total amount of cases to date to 472,268. This is a slightly smaller case increase than Friday’s record 8,444 case jump.

Throughout the state, 59 more people have died from the virus, bringing the total to 6,184.

With 96 percent of hospitals reporting, 2,846 COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized. That is up 22 from Friday and is the all-time high. This is the ninth straight day North Carolina has had more than 2,500 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

More than 75,000 more tests have been completed throughout the state. The state is reporting a daily percent test rate of 11.3%.

7:30 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 17,466,226 cases of COVID-19 since March throughout the United States.


5:20 p.m.
Wake County Public Health officials have identified a second COVID-19 outbreak at Glenaire, a retirement community located at 4000 Glenaire Circle in Cary.

health officials said this is the second outbreak confirmed for this facility, the first being in June.

The NCDHHS defines an outbreak as two or more people — residents or employees — testing positive for the virus. The details of those infected will not be released to the public.

3:31 p.m.
The Wayne County Health Department reports 6,325 total positive cases of COVID-19. Of those 334 have been attributed to congregate living facilities and 5,519 are cases from outside any type of congregate facility.

There are 592 active cases in Wayne County.

The Health Department said seven people died from COVID-19 complications this week. In all, 131 people in the county have died from COVID-19.

2:30 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the state expects to receive 61,425 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 175,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine for the week of Dec. 21. About 96,000 of the Moderna doses are allocated for long-term care. Officials expect shipments to occur over several days as they did in week 1.

1:29 p.m.
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health reports 774 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths since its last report on December 15. Cumberland County has a total of 11,938 COVID-19 cases and 134 deaths.

The percentage of tests returning positive is 12.1% in Cumberland County and the daily average of positive cases in Cumberland County is 149.6.

In Cumberland County, 80% of deaths were in people age 65 and older and at least 84% of people who have died had an underlying condition,

“This week marks the largest increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Cumberland since the onset of the pandemic,” said Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green. “Our public health and medical center are being stressed and we cannot sustain these increasing trends.”

The Health Department continues to partner with community agencies to offer COVID-19 testing. Several testing options are free and do not require appointments. Visit the COVID-19 testing website to find testing locations and information.

1:22 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 50 new positive cases for a total of 2,474 positive COVID-19 cases.

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There have been 44 deaths in the county — 1.7% of cases.

11:50 a.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 8,444 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest single-day increase in the state since the pandemic began. The last record for case increases was set exactly a week ago, when North Carolina recorded 7,540 new cases, meaning the new record is nearly 1,000 cases higher than the previous.

“I am very worried for our state. Everyone must act right now to protect each other,” NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a news release. “Do not wait until it’s you or your loved sick with COVID-19 to wear a mask, wait apart from others and wash your hands often. Do not wait until it’s you or your loved one alone in a hospital bed. Do not wait until you’ve lost a loved one to this pandemic. Take personal responsibility for you, your loved ones and your community now.”

The spike in cases is accompanied by an increase in completed tests, with 60,000 new tests completed yesterday. As of Wednesday, 10.5% of tests are positive, the lowest that the metric has been a week but still more than double the state’s benchmark of 5%.

Currently, 2,824 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number reported so far. In less than a month, more than 1,000 additional COVID-19 patients have occupied beds in North Carolina hospitals.

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60 more COVID-19 deaths were reported today after Wednesday’s record increase of 98.

State health officials are advising people to avoid travel over the holiday season and only gather with people in your household. If you absolutely must travel or be with people you do not live with, health officials advise that you get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors, and always wear a mask.

8 a.m.
Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Falls River Court and Village, at 1130 Falls River Ave. in Raleigh.

This is the second outbreak confirmed for this facility. The first outbreak occurred in August.


128 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Wake County Public School System from Dec. 10 to Dec. 16. The virus was found to be in 69 students and 59 staff members. A cluster was reported at Lynn Road Elementary School in Raleigh.

The latest findings are an uptick from the Dec. 3-9 stretch where 84 cases were discovered in the WCPSS. More data about the district can be found here.

Nearly six million doses of the Moderna vaccine are ready to ship and FDA approval for emergency use authorization is expected to come soon. Rural areas and nursing homes will be the first to receive the vaccine since it doesn’t require ultra-cold storage like Pfizer’s vaccine.

WakeMed hospitals will begin giving vaccines starting on Friday morning. More than 200 employees will be vaccinated Friday and more than 300 on Saturday.

Vice President Mike Pence is set to receive the Pfizer vaccine Friday at 8 a.m.

On Thursday, Gov. Cooper said it’s up to all North Carolinians to help protect those on the frontlines and most at-risk. Cooper toured UNC Medical Center where frontline workers got the vaccine.

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“We owe it to them to do the simple things like wearing a mask and staying socially distant and being responsible and smart about the way we act, we owe that to them,” Cooper said.

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic is happening at the Greater Walltown United Holy Church in Durham. The clinic is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sponsored by North Carolina Central University.


7:50 p.m.
Moore County Health Department is reporting two new COVID-19 outbreaks among its long-term care facilities.

Health officials said four residents and seven staff members at the Coventry at 105 Gossman Drive, Southern Pines tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, two staff members and oen resident tested positive for COVID-19 at Elmcroft at 101 Brucewood Road, Southern Pines.

5:45 p.m.
With students scheduled to return to school on a staggered schedule on Plan B beginning January 7, Cumberland County Schools (CCS) Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., announced the decision to adjust the school re-entry schedule to allow for a two-week virus incubation period after the holidays.

“We realize that there are many factors to consider around this transition,” said Dr. Connelly. “We have had to consider medical metrics, staff and building readiness, student success with virtual learning, students who are not being successful with virtual learning, the impact of virtual learning on students’ social and emotional wellness, and the impact on families economically and emotionally. All things considered, student and staff safety and well-being are our number one priority.”

The actual reentry plans and procedures remain the same; however, the dates have been adjusted. The district’s updated re-entry schedule is contingent upon the metrics and the other factors that administrators are monitoring.
3:36 p.m.
The Lee County Government Health Department said a county resident has died as a result of COVID-19 related complications. This is the 38th COVID-19 death confirmed in Lee County.

2:30 p.m.
According to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, obtained by ABC News, North Carolina is in the red zone for cases and for test positivity.

The state is 35th in the country for cases and 31st for test positivity with 98% of all NC counties having “moderate or high levels of community transmission” and 60% having high levels of community transmission.

1:06 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 2,424 total positive COVID 19 cases, including 23 new ones Thursday.

One additional death was reported, bringing the county’s total to 44 — 1.8% of cases.

1 p.m.

North Carolina continues to see record-high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations — topping 2,800 on Thursday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that 2,804 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

320 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted in the last 24 hours. 312 suspected patients were also admitted in that timeframe.

North Carolina on Thursday also surpassed 6,000 related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. So far, there have been a total of 6,065 reported.

5,786 new cases were reported.

The percent positive is at 11.7 percent.

12:36 p.m.
Sampson County reports 63 new cases of COVID-19. It also had 79 cases Wednesday. The county has a total of 4,569 positive cases.

One death was reported Thursday, bringing the overall total to 56 countywide.

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12 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that it selected 17 school districts and 11 charter schools to participate in a pilot program to deploy COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 public schools where any in-person instruction is happening.

The goal of the rapid testing program is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by quickly identifying students and staff who may have the virus, especially after the holiday season. Schools and districts selected for the program are offering full in-person instruction (Plan A) or hybrid remote and in-person instruction (Plan B).

NCDHHS sent the selected districts and schools more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests. Tests are to be used for students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Students and staff will have access to more than 200 school-based testing locations across 17 counties as part of the pilot. Local health departments in each county participated in the application process and, in some cases, will help with testing.

More information is available here.

10:10 a.m.
Dr. Jason Wittes, a pharmacy director with Wake County, expressed that the COVID-19 vaccine supply is low and has just shipped in recent days. It’s expected to be months before enough doses are produced for everyone who needs a vaccine.

In Phase 1 of the distribution process, the county will vaccinate the EMS, health care workers at risk of exposure in clinics & the jail, public health, and adult & child protective services staff who work with the vulnerable.

“We’re so close,” said WakeMed CEO Donald Gintzig. “This is the home stretch. We don’t drop our guard, we double down. We strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant with the 3Ws and to get flu shots. The more vigilant we are, the better we will weather the winter together.”

WakeMed is expecting a shipment of around 3,900 doses on Thursday.WakeMed employees will start getting vaccinated on Friday.

7:55 a.m.
Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria will hold a news conference on Thursday at 10 a.m. to give an update on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Wake County and discuss vaccine distribution plans. The update will be streamed live on abc11.com.

The state considers Wake County an “orange level/substantial” county with a substantial community spread of COVID-19.

7:15 a.m.
The United States again set a record for the number of deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday.

According to Johns Hopkins University, another 3,656 people died from the virus. It’s the fourth time since the beginning of the pandemic that more than 3,000 people died in a single day from the virus. The previous record of 3,300 fatalities was recorded on Dec. 11.

In addition, there were 247,403 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Wednesday–another record high. It’s the 44th straight day that the U.S. has reported more than 100,000 new infections. The previous single-day record of 231,775 was set on Dec. 11.

Nearly 17 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March. In that time, more than 307,000 have died from the virus.

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