North Carolina saw its highest single-day record of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began in March, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday. Officials reported 2,532 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 238,939.
“We are moving in the wrong direction,” N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said. “The increase is a warning that there is more viral spread happening across our state.”
Cohen updated the public on the state’s data trends and key metrics. The trajectory of new cases, Covid-like cases, positive test rates and hospitalizations have increased.
“Our goal is to get these numbers down,” Cohen said. “I know that nobody in North Carolina wants us to move backward.”
Unlike in August when students returned to colleges and universities, Cohen said the current worsening trends don’t link to a certain place, age group or type of activity. The increase in trends concerns Cohen as North Carolina heads into flu season.
“This isn’t where we want to be, and frankly it’s frustrating,” Cohen said. “We have the tools to slow the spread and protect one another. The science is clear on masks; they work. They slow the spread if everyone is working together to wear them.”
The Coronavirus Task Force put out the state’s first flu report on Thursday, which already accounted for the first flu-related death of someone over the age of 65.
Cooper and Cohen encouraged the public to get their flu shot before the state’s humidity levels and temperatures drop significantly.
“The virus likes that (low humidity),” Cohen said. “With colder weather and people moving more indoors, there’s more of a chance for viral spread.”
The state continues to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments, but Cohen said she’s hearing reports of infected individuals not sharing information or contacts for people they may have exposed to Covid-19.
“We want to understand who else may have been exposed to this virus,” she said. “It’s really important to work with your local health department. Please answer the call and help protect your loved ones and neighbors.”
Cooper and Cohen urged the public to continue wearing masks, washing their hands and waiting six feet apart.
“Complacency will cost lives and hurt our economy,” Cooper said. “North Carolinians must be even more vigilant in our effort to prevent the spread of this virus.”
Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan is supposed to end Oct. 23. Cooper said he and the Coronavirus Task Force will continue to look at the science and data before deciding on a possible extension.