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STATE: NCDHHS reports highest one-day increase of COVID-19 positive tests

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 8,444 new cases reported Friday, doubling a record day reported just one month ago on Nov. 19 when the state reported 4,296 new cases.

“I am very worried for our state. Everyone must act right now to protect each other,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “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.”

COVID-19 is highly contagious, and more than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness. Studies are also finding that some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.

State health officials advise 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, get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors, and always wear a mask. NCDHHS has issued guidance outlining steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including getting tested three to four days ahead of time. A test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not yet have symptoms. However, a test can miss some infections. Furthermore, a negative test only gives you information for that point in time. Community testing events and other testing sites are listed online at ncdhhs.gov/testingplace.

People who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around a person with COVID-19, should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings until they complete their isolation or quarantine period.

North Carolina’s Modified Stay at Home Order is in effect. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, are required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.