Raleigh, Caroline du Nord – North Carolina reported nearly 10,400 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, marking the first time the state has exceeded 10,000 cases in a single day and breaking the one-day record set last week alone.
The mark of 10,398 new cases is almost 10% higher than the 9,527 cases reported on New Year’s Day, and it pushed the seven-day average to a record 7,600 per day over the past week.
North Carolina also set records for hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday.
The 137 virus-related deaths were the largest in a 24-hour period. Higher death rates were reported two days in the week after Christmas, but one of those reports covered 36 hours due to what state officials called a technical glitch in the data collection , and the other three days over a vacation weekend.
Statewide, 3,960 people are being treated in hospitals for COVID-19, straining available beds, especially in intensive care units. The health care regions that include the Triangle report only have 18 critical care beds available, according to the State Department of Health and Human Services.
“If this trend continues, I think it will put incredible pressure on hospitals across the state to take care of the COVID population,” said Dr. Joseph Rogers, Chief Medical Officer of Duke University Health System. “Our numbers, compared to what we were about two weeks ago in the Duke Healthcare System, we’ve increased by about 60 inpatients per day. ”
About 30% of Duke Health’s intensive care beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, Rogers said.
“Since the holidays we have seen a fairly spectacular on the rise, ”he said.
The situation is the same at UNC Health and WakeMed.
“All of our beds are full,” said Dr Charles Harr, chief medical officer of WakeMed. “We have patients we care for in what we call cutting edge spaces, but all patients are given hospital beds. ”
“Our main challenge is to keep all the staff available to care for patients, ”added Harr.
” Through UNC system, all 14 hospitals we are at 480-some inpatient COVID patients, ”said Dr. Abhi Mehrotra, vice-president of the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine. ” [Those are] pretty high numbers based on what we’re seeing, and we’re concerned about capacity. ”
Peak numbers are more difficult for small hospitals.
“We’re at maximum capacity,” said Jason Cox, vice president and chief operating officer for UNC South East Health in Lumberton. “It is increasingly difficult to find a hospital bed because resources are limited. ”
The hospital wants to keep as many people out of its emergency room as possible, Cox said, so those with less serious problems are advised to go to an emergency care clinic or to a doctor. primary care instead.
“It’s sad to see a hospital pushed to its limits if you have to see people here suffering, scared, having to be hospitalized,” he said.
WRAL Fayetteville reporter Gilbert Baez contributed to this report.