RALEIGH — As of Monday, Dec. 7, according to latest available dashboard data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, COVID-19 cases in North Carolina had increased by approximately 36,000 cases over the previous week, as the state nears the benchmark of 400,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, as 4,372 new cases were reported within a 24-hour period statewide from Dec. 6 to 7.

“After a steady increase in numbers, we’ve broken another case record today with 6,018 new cases,” NC Gov. Roy Cooper said via Twitter on December 5. “We’re examining what action may be needed to protect North Carolinians, but we need everyone to wear masks and follow safety measures. Our actions right now are life or death.”

The state has experienced an increase in hospitalizations of 274 individuals over the span of the past week, as NCDHHS reported on Dec. 7 that 2,240 people were hospitalized. NCDHHS reports an additional 299 North Carolinians have died related to the virus over the past seven-day period, as the agency reports a total of 5,560 overall deaths.

NCDHHS reported on December 7 that Avery County had topped the 1,000 total positive case mark, reporting a cumulative total of 1,068 positive community cases, an increase of 97 cases from the previous week. NCDHHS reports Avery with 10 deaths associated with the virus, but Toe River Health District reported in a December 7 release a pair of Avery deaths, raising the cumulative total of casualties related to COVID-19 to 16 in all.

NC Department of Public Safety reported on Dec. 7 that the local prisons have 383 total positive cases between Mountain View Correctional and Avery/Mitchell Correctional facilities, with 345 cases having recovered and one active cases.

Avery, as well as Mitchell County, remains as two of 20 “red” counties listed as “critical” in association with the NCDHHS County Alert System which identifies the highest levels of community transmission of COVID-19 statewide.

According to NCDHHS Dashboard data on Dec. 7, Avery reports 114 cases per 10,000 residents over the previous 14-day period to remain as one of the counties with the highest case rates in the state. In comparison, Mitchell County reports 85 cases per 10,000 residents, while Yancey County reports 90 cases per 10,000 residents. Watauga County reports 61 cases per 10,000 residents, while Ashe County has 48 cases per 10,000 residents during the same 14-day period.

“Public health staff is working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to contain the spread of disease,” TRHD reported. “The Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County health departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.”

According to latest NCDHHS Dashboard data on Dec. 7, Mitchell County reported a total of 599 positive cases, Mitchell County Health Department reported on Dec. 7 an additional two county deaths, raising Mitchell’s virus-related deaths to a total of 17. NCDHHS reports Yancey County with 661 total cases as of December 7, with TRHD reporting a fourth death in the county on December 4.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports more than 67.44 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with a total of 14,909,148 cases in the U.S. as of December 7. Johns Hopkins reports 283,326 reported deaths nationwide and more than 5,624,609 individuals across the country reported as having recovered from the virus.

The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs report 5,630,137 completed tests as of Monday, Dec. 7, according to N.C. DHHS. The estimate of people presumed to have recovered from the virus as of Dec. 7 is more than 341,041 statewide, with the estimate provided each Monday afternoon by NCDHHS. NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.

In neighboring counties, Watauga County reports 2,468 positive tests and 16 deaths among residents, while Ashe County reports 1,064 positive cases and 20 deaths as of Dec. 7, according to AppHealthCare statistics.

Caldwell County has 3,935 positive tests as of Dec. 7 with 25 deaths, while Wilkes County has 2,967 reported cases and 55 deaths, according to NCDHHS Dashboard data.

NCDHHS reports McDowell County with 2,125 cases and 35 deaths. Burke County reports 4,503 cases and 68 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.

In Tennessee, Johnson County reports 1,525 cases with 24 deaths, while Carter County reports 3,147 cases and 65 deaths as of Dec. 7, according to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health.

Statewide, Mecklenburg County has reported the most total positive cases with 47,547. Wake County is reporting 32,111 cases and Guilford County reports 18,417 cases, according to Dec. 7. NCDHHS statistics. At least 73 of North Carolina’s 100 counties report at least 1,000 total positive COVID-19 cases.

The reported testing numbers could be incomplete due to differences in reporting from health departments and other agencies. Sources include Toe River Health District, AppHealthCare, NCDHHS, Caldwell County Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health.

Updated news and information on the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response can be found by clicking to covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

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