We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 4,300 new cases reported
At least 1,066,631 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 13,724 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday reported 4,331 new COVID-19 cases, up from 3,413 the day before. Thursday’s case count was the highest in a single day since mid-February, The News & Observer reported.
Twenty-four additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported on Thursday. Deaths don’t necessarily occur on the day the state reports them. The state health department revises its daily figures as more information becomes available.
At least 1,651 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, up from 1,580 on Wednesday. Patient counts have been rising each day since July 9.
As of Tuesday, the latest date with available information, 10.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.
Roughly 62% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 58% have been fully vaccinated. State health officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.
‘Dramatic uptick’ in COVID cases among kids reported in Charlotte area
The Charlotte area is seeing a “dramatic uptick” in COVID-19 infections among kids, with three weeks until the school year starts, according to one local doctor.
Dr. Catherine Ohmstede, a Novant Health pediatrician, on Thursday said the increase looks similar to one seen in January, when Mecklenburg County reported its highest day-to-day coronavirus case jumps.
“Our clinics across the community have been incredibly busy diagnosing COVID in children,” Ohmstede said, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The cases come as the contagious delta variant continues to spread and officials urge people to get COVID-19 vaccines. Children younger than 12 aren’t yet eligible to receive the shots.
Charlotte to start checking for vaccine status of city workers
Starting next week, Charlotte will begin to verify whether city workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, officials said.
Employees will be required to fill out a “vaccine verification form” no longer than 10 days after it comes out, The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday.
“The city believes that the best way to protect our employees and the community we serve is through vaccination which is why the city is requiring employees to share information about their vaccination status,” officials said in a human resources memo.
Some local governments bolstering mask rules
Some Triangle-area governments have strengthened rules on mask-wearing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday afternoon, cities and towns requiring people to wear masks inside their public spaces include Knightdale, Morrisville, Raleigh, Rolesville and Wake Forest, The News & Observer reported.
Raleigh officials are also considering testing employees who haven’t received their shots, said spokesperson Julia Milstead.
Wells Fargo changes back-to-office plans due to COVID
Scott Powell, chief operating officer, said the bank could make additional adjustments “if required to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and customers.”
Before the change, employees were expected to return to the office from Sept. 7 through October.
Charlotte-area medical practices join hospitals in requiring vaccines
Seven independent medical practices in the Charlotte area are requiring their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the delta variant sparks concerns.
Those workplaces include: “Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates, Charlotte Gastroenterology & Hepatology, OrthoCarolina, Surgical Specialists of Charlotte and Tryon Medical Partners,” The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday.
Workers at the practices must receive their shots by Oct. 31, and vaccine exemption guidelines will be followed, the practices said.
Last month, health care systems Atrium Health and Novant Health said they would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees. Hundreds of workers gathered over the weekend to protest Atrium’s rule, according to WBTV, the Observer’s media partner.
Hundreds of cases reported among partially vaccinated in Charlotte area
Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, said hundreds of residents who contracted COVID-19 hadn’t finished getting vaccinated against the disease.
Gibbie Harris, the county’s public health director, on Wednesday reported at least 624 cases among people who were partially vaccinated.
Those are different from breakthrough cases, in which a person who has completed the vaccine series gets COVID-19, usually with no or mild symptoms. Mecklenburg has seen at least 376 “true breakthrough cases” among the 579,488 residents who are fully vaccinated, The Charlotte Observer reported.
As of Wednesday, community transmission of COVID-19 was “high” or “substantial” in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. Health officials have urged people in those areas to wear face masks inside public spaces to help slow the spread of the virus.
“We can’t rest until this pandemic is behind us, and the only way that happens is if we get enough people vaccinated that we push this virus off the cliff,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday during a news conference.