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WEB EXCLUSIVE After months of business closings, mask mandates, quarantining and social distancing, good news looks to be on the horizon for North Carolinians dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Although universities in the state have been struggling with recent outbreaks, key metrics have been good enough to warrant reopening of gyms, museums and playgrounds and the number of new daily cases, hospitalizations and the percent positive test rates are falling. Here’s where the state, Raleigh and Wake County are with COVID-19 today.
Key Metrics Are Improving
While nearly 180,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina, the numbers of new cases daily have been dropping–today, just 716 new cases were reported. Daily hospitalization numbers have been dropping steadily as well, and have remained below 1,000 since August 20 after peaking in July. On Monday, NC DHHS reported a 5.6 percent positive testing rate, close to health officials’ goal of 5 percent positive or below (today’s rate is slightly higher, at 6.2 percent); the percent positive test rate had remained below 7.7 percent since August 31. College students account for 16 percent of all new cases in the state.
While there was a sharp decline in the number of hospitalizations reported Monday, state officials warned the data could be incomplete citing “continued technical and submission issues with hospital systems’ data,” exacerbated by the holiday weekend. Hospitalization numbers are likely higher than reported but the state’s overall recovery rate is high, around 88 percent.
On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bipartisan $1 billion COVID relief bill with provisions for $335 stimulus checks for North Carolina parents to offset costs of remote learning, a $50 boost in unemployment benefits, $72 million in funding for PPE, $10 million for broadband internet connectivity, $6 million for food banks plus a $100 incentive for poll workers on Election Day. Some Democrats criticized the bill for again failing to expand Medicaid. The bill also sets a Dec. 30 deadline for the state to allocate federal CARES Act funds.
Two COVID Clusters at Raleigh Childcare Facilities
A state report released Friday found two outbreaks at childcare centers in Wake County. At the Goddard School of Holly Springs, four staff members and eight children tested positive for COVID-19, while at Kreepers and Crawlers Daycare in southeast Raleigh, four staff members and six children tested positive.
Free Testing this Weekend
Make an appointment to get tested this Thursday, Friday or Saturday, for free in the parking deck of the Sunnybrook building at 2925 Holston Lane in east Raleigh.
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