North Carolina topped the 4,000 mark of daily new cases for the first time on Thursday, while federal health officials are now telling Americans not to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday the state’s highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 4,296 new cases.
The record-high day follows several days of increasing trends in new cases, the percent of tests that are positive and hospitalizations.
The state’s weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Summary report released today on the number of people visiting the emergency department with COVID-like illness also showed an increase.
According to an updated posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days.
“As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” the agency said. “Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”
“I am very concerned. We are seeing warning signs in our trends that we need to heed to keep our family and friends from getting sick and ensuring our hospitals are able to care for those that have serious illness,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
“We can do that if each North Carolinian wears a face mask over their mouth and nose anytime they are with people they do not live with; waits six feet apart and avoids crowds; and washes their hands often,” Cohen said.
“We have reasons for hope. With promising news on vaccines, this pandemic will end. Until then, North Carolinians need to do what we’ve done throughout this pandemic — take care of one another,” Cohen said.
More than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness, according to health officials. Studies are also finding that some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.
State health officials are also advising people to avoid travel over Thanksgiving and only gather with people in your household.
For those that do plan to travel or get together with others, NCDHHS has issued guidance outlining steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including getting tested three to four days ahead of time.
The department said 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 ncdhhs.gov/testingplace.
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 Thanksgiving Holiday.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.