RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina experienced its deadliest day during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday as the number of deaths blamed on the virus surpassed 100.
State health officials reported 22 new deaths Tuesday morning – the previous highest daily death total was 13 on April 7.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said a total of 108 deaths are being connected to the disease.
Durham County officials said that one person died from the disease — bringing the total in the county to two deaths. Also, there were 25 new COVID-19 cases, which increases the county total to 349.
The Durham County resident who died was over 65 and had underlying health conditions, putting this individual at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, Durham County officials said, citing the CDC.
North Carolina saw the number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 spike after several days of decline.
A total of 418 people are hospitalized as of Tuesday – that number was 313 on Monday.
The state now has 5,024 known cases.
A study from the University of Washington forecast April 13 as the peak for deaths in North Carolina.
Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, cautioned that those models “are not crystal balls.”
“As I look a week out I do see a continued slow, but continued uptick in the number of cases we will see here in North Carolina,” said Cohen. “I don’t see a peak at this moment in time. It doesn’t mean I see a surge either. What that is telling us is that we want continue with the stay-at-home efforts, we want to continue with the social distance.”
Cohen said the data does show improvement, saying although the number of deaths continues to rise, the case rates are slowing.
“How many days does it take to double the number of cases? Meaning going from 100 cases to 200 cases,” said Cohen. “That doubling rate is extending. That’s a good thing. That tells us we are slowing the rate of acceleration.”
Outbreaks at long-term facilities across the state have sharply increased over the last week with facilities in Orange, Durham and Wake counties reporting dozens of cases.
The outbreaks led Gov. Roy Cooper to sign an executive order to put more safeguards in place at long-term care facilities.
On Monday, Cooper said lifting his executive orders to combat COVID-19 would be a “catastrophe,” as experts say it would increase the likelihood of hospitals exceeding capacity next month.
Cooper said when the stay-at-home order ends later this month, “We know we will have to put in place new executive orders at the end of the month because the ones that are there run out. That’s why I’m encouraging people to work very hard during these next couple of weeks to help us flatten this curve.”
His comments came just before governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced they’re working together on a strategy to reopen.
CBS 17 asked Cooper about what that process will be in North Carolina.
“Right now our team is looking at statistics,” Cooper said, citing deaths, new infections and hospitalizations. “A lot of families are suffering because they’ve lost loved ones.”
On Tuesday, Virginia health officials said 6,171 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the commonwealth and the disease has killed 154 .
- March 3: NCDHHS announces state’s first COVID-19 case
- March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declares
- March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
- March 13: President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency
- March 14: Cooper issues Executive Order 117 closing K-12 public schools until at least March 30 and banning gatherings of more than 100 people
- March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people
- March 17: Cooper issues Executive Order 118 limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits
- March 23: Cooper issues Executive Order 120 which closes public K-12 schools through May 15 and orders businesses such as barbershops and salons to close.
- March 25: North Carolina reports its first coronavirus-related deaths
- March 29: Trump extends social distancing orders through the end of April
- March 31: Cooper signs Executive Order 124 which prohibits utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the pandemic.
- April 7: Cooper will sign executive orders limiting customers in retailers and offers child care assistance to certain workers
- April 14: Coronavirus-related deaths top 100 in North Carolina
- April 24: Cooper extends stay-at-home order to May 8
- May 5: Cooper announces Phase One of reopening will being May 8
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