State and local officials reported record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

The Iredell Health Department reported 301 new laboratory confirmed cases, setting a new single-day record for the county, as well as Iredell’s 90th death attributed to COVID-19.

There have now been 8,074 cases throughout the county, and 59 people who have tested positive are now hospitalized in Iredell. Another 1,931 people who have been infected are isolating at home.

Meanwhile, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported the state’s highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 8,444 new cases.

“I am very worried for our state. Everyone must act right now to protect each other,” NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen said in a news release. “Do not wait until it’s you or your loved sick with COVID-19 to wear a mask, wait apart from others and wash your hands often. Do not wait until it’s you or your loved one alone in a hospital bed. Do not wait until you’ve lost a loved one to this pandemic. Take personal responsibility for you, your loved ones and your community now.”

COVID-19 is highly contagious, and more than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness. Studies are also finding that some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.

State health officials advise people to avoid travel over the holiday season and only gather with people in your household. If you absolutely must travel or be with people you do not live with, get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors, and always wear a mask.

NCDHHS has issued guidance outlining steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including getting tested three to four days ahead of time. A test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not yet have symptoms. However, a test can miss some infections. Furthermore, a negative test only gives you information for that point in time. Community testing events and other testing sites are listed online at

People who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around a person with COVID-19, should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings until they complete their isolation or quarantine period.

For a full list of guidance about traveling and gathering during the holidays, along with a chart outlining low, medium and high-risk activities, see the NCDHHS Interim Guidance for Winter Holidays.

North Carolina’s Modified Stay at Home Order is in effect. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, are required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.