RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- North Carolina’s percent positive cases hovered around 5-percent this week, a sign of good progress according to NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
“All of this progress continues to be fragile,” said Dr. Cohen.
Dr. Cohen said North Carolina had one of the lowest percent positive rates in the region making it standout in that key metric.
Most states south of North Carolina tests coming back with positive between 11 and 20 percent.
“We’ve been very good on that trend, we want to make sure that we see that going forward,” said Dr. Cohen.
Testing rates in North Carolina at 24,133 per 100,000 population. That figure also outperforms other southern states. In South Carolina, testing rate is 19,672 per 100,000 residents. Georgia’s rate is at 23,607 per 10,000 population. To the west, Tennessee is doing better at 35,912 per 100,000.
New York beat out the entire country in that metric with 85,556 per 100,000.
Increasing testing capacity
Dr. Cohen announced new partners to aid increasing testing capacity.
“Testing is a core element of North Carolina’s response to this pandemic, and that means making sure cost and access challenges never act as a barrier to a needed test. As we continue expanding free community testing options, we’re helping North Carolinians to stay informed about their health and help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cohen.
The state selected Optum Serve to join the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and StarMed Urgent and Family Care P.A., to increase testing across the state. Dr. Cohen said the three testing vendors have more than 200 test events planned across 80 counties through October. Those are scheduled to be free.
Dr. Cohen stressing widespread and targeted testing is key to ensuring the data reflects reality.
“It’s again why today we’re announcing yet another partner to serve additional testing into communities we know have less testing access and maybe at more risk,” Dr. Cohen said.