Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is reporting new records for COVID-19 key metrics for January 1-2, 2021.

On January 1, North Carolina reported its highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 9,527 new cases reported, exceeding the state’s previous highest day set on December 18, 2020 by more than 1,000. New cases remained high on January 2, with 9,365 new cases reported.

Records were also set for the percent of tests that were positive and hospitalizations. On January 2, 15.5 percent of tests were positive, the highest rate since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 3,479 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 with 783 people in intensive care units across the state.

“We begin 2021 in our most dangerous position in this pandemic. We have critically high rates of spread in much of our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen. “I encourage you to avoid getting together indoors with anyone who doesn’t live with you. If you plan to see other people, keep it outside and very small. Wear a mask the whole time. We must do all that we can to protect one another.”

Earlier this week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued stark warnings to North Carolinians, including:

♦ If you are under 40 and you gathered beyond your immediate household, you need to assume you became infected with COVID-19 even if you don’t have any symptoms. You are dangerous to others and must isolate away from anyone at increased risk for severe disease and get tested.

♦ If you are over 65 or if you have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked and you should have groceries and medications delivered.

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.

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. 

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