Raleigh, NC – The State Department of Health and Human Services reported 18,571 new coronavirus cases on Thursday – the highest ever seen.
Thursday’s one-day rise was 60% higher than the previous record of 11,581 set in January this year. The number of new cases reported is about the same number of people living throughout Warren County.
Thursday’s increase is not due to an increase in state data and is not a random increase of one day. We know this because the state also reported its highest positivity rate of 22%, meaning that nearly a quarter of all coronavirus tests administered on Tuesday came back positive.
This means that more than 84,000 coronavirus tests were taken in the last 24 hours, and more than one in five people who took a test ended up being tested positive.
The number of newly reported cases increased by more than 400% in one week, according to data from the State Department of Health. On Monday, only 3,698 new cases were reported.
More than 4,000 people have visited the emergency room for coronavirus-like disease in the past 24 hours, according to the state.
In addition to an increase in both hospitalizations and cases, 60 people died from the virus within the last 24 hours. This is the highest number we have seen since early November, according to WRAL Data Trackers.
So far, experts believe the latest variant appears to be milder than other virus strains.
“We are concerned that even a very small proportion of these cases that end up in the hospital could overwhelm our hospital and increase the loss of life for the most vulnerable,” incoming NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley said in a statement.
As of Thursday afternoon, 2,258 people have been hospitalized with the virus, which is about 29% higher than last week. The majority of inpatients are unvaccinated, according to government data.
Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 80% of all coronavirus cases in the South are from omicron.
New research presented by the UK Health Security Agency, which is still being peer reviewed, suggests that the chances of someone catching the omicron coronavirus variant from a person in their own home are greater than with delta.
If one person has the virus, the adjusted odds of someone in the same room catching it are 3.2. In comparison, these odds were 1.7.
“The best way to think about these, if you’ve sick, is how likely you are to pass it on to people around you,” said Dr. Michael Smith, vaccine expert at Duke University Department of Pediatrics.
The rise in omicron cases may not cause as many hospitalizations or deaths as the delta, but it could have other societal consequences, Smith said.
North Carolina’s seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases rose 30% from Wednesday. On average, the state adds 7,674 new coronavirus cases every day. The state’s currently rolling average is higher on Thursday than below the state’s high for coronavirus delta cases.