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Mecklenburg hits record single-day hike in COVID-19 cases. Cooper warns NC of ‘danger’

 Mecklenburg County recorded its largest-ever single-day increase of COVID-19 cases on Sunday, according to state data. And the county is quickly nearing its previous peak in daily hospitalizations, as well.

Mecklenburg added 534 infections on Sunday — a volume that far eclipses caseloads seen in late July when the county saw its first coronavirus peak.

During that summer wave, some 200 people required acute-level hospital care, local public health data show. Average
hospitalizations in Mecklenburg are edging close to that number, with 180 people seeking treatment as of Wednesday, the most recent day data was made available.

Meanwhile, Gov. Roy Cooper gave a “stark warning” to North Carolinians on Monday, urging caution ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday that some experts worry could prompt an even larger spike of coronavirus across the state.

“We are in danger,” Cooper said in a news conference. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

Cooper announced a new executive order Monday, tightening the state’s mask mandate, calling on residents to wear a mask “whenever you are with someone you don’t live with.”

He had previously reduced his limit on gatherings to no more than 10 people. Monday’s order will extend that restriction through Dec. 11.

The governor urged families to stay home for Thanksgiving, saying the next seven to 14 days could decide whether the state will enact more restrictions.

“We don’t want to go back,” Cooper said. “But we will if necessary.”

The new state mask mandate will go into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m., ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday gatherings.

Health officials say small private gatherings with extended family and friends are fueling the bulk of new coronavirus cases — leaving the impact of the governor’s stricter mask mandate an open question.

Recently, Mecklenburg’s COVID-19 ambassadors — tasked with visiting local businesses and educating employees on coronavirus restrictions — found that 91% of nearly 3,000 businesses inspected complied with mask-wearing. The overwhelming majority of businesses also followed social distancing and occupancy limits, Mecklenburg Deputy Public Health Director Raynard Washington said last week.


Despite the worsening trends, the state on Monday did not change Mecklenburg’s level on its county-by-county alert system, even as North Carolina doubled the number of counties at the direst level. The system uses a combination of three metrics: case rate, percent positive of tests, and hospital impact within the county.

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