RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina reported 1,434 new cases and an almost 9% positivity rate on Wednesday, a significant increase compared with Tuesday’s 871 cases and Monday’s 734. From July 15 to 18, there were more than 1,000 new cases every day.
The increase in cases is largely due to the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is more transmissible and possibly more deadly, according to health officials.
There are currently 694 people hospitalized in North Carolina, a figure which has increased every day since July 9.
Positivity rates have also been steadily increasing for the past week. According to DHHS, the positivity rates were less than 5% from July 13 to July 15, went back above 5% starting on July 16, and have been well over 7% this week. On Monday, the rate was 7.9% and Tuesday’s rate was slightly less than 9%.
Wake, Durham and Orange counties were all well below 5% positive, but Johnston County was at 7.7%. Mecklenburg was at 5.8%.
The state has been completing fewer tests each day compared to several months ago. Since June 19, the most tests the state has administered in a day is 22,101 on July 14.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials set a target positive rate of 5%. Below that rate is thought to mean that spread of the virus is slowing.
Durham County currently has 26,092 total cases, while Orange County has 8,693 and Wake County has 90,645.
Vaccine rates in the Triangle are higher than the statewide average, with the three counties having vaccinated 57%, 66% and 59% of their populations, respectively. Spread is lower in these counties, with 38, 34 and 46 cases per 100,000 people in Durham, Orange and Wake counties.
Mecklenburg County currently leads the state with 116,274 total COVID-19 cases. Over the last 14 days, it had 138 positive cases for every 100,000 residents, according to the dashboard.
The News & Observer reported that 99% of cases across the state since May have been among those who haven’t been vaccinated. Additionally, 98% of all hospitalizations in North Carolina have been people who are not fully vaccinated.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Wednesday news conference that the state has entered a new phase in the pandemic where the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“This pandemic is not behind us yet. We will continue listening to experts as we share health recommendations,” Cooper said. He said that if action is needed to protect people, “we’ll take it.”©2021 The News & Observer. Visit at newsobserver.com. Distributed at Tribune Content Agency, LLC.