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North Carolina Sees Big Increase In COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations

In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, medical transporter Adrian Parrilla moves a patient into a COVID-19 unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif.
In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, medical transporter Adrian Parrilla moves a patient into a COVID-19 unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif.

The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina has increased by more than 1,000 cases in one day.

At a briefing Wednesday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper said more than 12% of COVID-19 tests are positive. That's well above the state's 5% positivity target, and the highest rate since the winter surge.

The state reported 3,413 new cases on Wednesday. That compares to 2,188 cases North Carolina reported on Tuesday. It's the highest rate the state has reported since Feb. 20.

As he addressed the media and the public, Cooper continued to push residents to get vaccinated.

"I can't stress this enough. The sharp rise in our numbers is driven by the unvaccinated," said Cooper. "The data and the science are clear that getting a COVID vaccine dramatically lowers the chance of severe illness, hospitalization and death. These vaccines are safe and effective."

Cooper was pressed by reporters about the potential for a return to statewide mask mandates or restrictions. The governor repeated that vaccinations are the state's primary focus.

North Carolina saw over 100 new hospitalizations reported Wednesday. The state reported 1,580 people in the hospital due to COVID-19. That compares to 1,465 on Tuesday.

There also were 21 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday. There haven't been that many reported in one day in North Carolina since June 4. So far, 13,700 people have died from COVID-19 in the state.

Copyright 2021 North Carolina Public Radio

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Naomi Prioleau joined WUNC in January 2017 as their Greensboro Bureau reporter.