N.C. shatters record of new COVID-19 cases with over 18,000 positives in one day

Statewide, 18,571 positive tests for COVID-19 were reported, 60% higher than the previous record of 11,581 set in January of this year.
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 3:32 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 3:42 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina health officials have reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day as more than 18,000 people tested positive Thursday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is closely monitoring hospital capacity and is urging North Carolinians to gather safely, get vaccinated and boosted, and wear a mask indoors in public places.

Statewide, 18,571 positive tests for COVID-19 were reported, 60% higher than the previous record of 11,581 set in January of this year.

The number of people visiting the emergency room for COVID-like illness also set a record at 4,171. The number of individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled since the beginning of December.

Data suggests that the omicron variant of COVID-19 may cause less severe illness for people who are vaccinated.

However, officials say those who are unvaccinated or who have underlying medical conditions are at highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization. 89% of people in intensive care are unvaccinated.

Hospitalizations are likely to increase as the trend typically lags four to five days after an increase in cases.

“We are concerned that even a very small proportion of these cases ending up in the hospital could overwhelm our hospital system and increase the loss of lives of those most vulnerable,” said incoming NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Everyone can help save lives and protect hospital capacity by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already and getting boosted if you are eligible.”

As cases and hospitalizations are rising rapidly, officials say it is important to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This is especially important as treatment supply is extremely limited and being reserved for the most at-risk patients,” a press release read.

Officials say you can protect yourself and your loved ones as we celebrate the new year by:

  • Gathering Carefully – Avoid large gatherings particularly if you are unvaccinated. Keep gatherings small and make sure guests are vaccinated and boosted when eligible. Host gatherings outside. If you gather indoors, only do so with others who are vaccinated and leave room for social distancing, open windows for ventilation, and consider wearing masks. View more tips.
  • Vaccinating/Boosting – Vaccinations provide the best protection from severe illness, hospitalization and death from all COVID-19 variants. Get your booster shot if you are eligible – a booster shot provides more protection against infection from the Omicron variant.
  • Testing – Record testing levels mean that people need to plan ahead. Do not wait to book your appointment, and try an alternate testing location if your favorite one is full. Visit for a list of testing sites, community events in your area, and other options to get tested. NCDHHS has worked with local governments to increase community testing. To protect hospital capacity, do not go to the emergency room just to get tested.
  • Masking – Wear a well-fitting mask, a surgical or procedure mask, a KN95 or an N95 mask. The CDC recommends all unvaccinated people 2 years old or older wear a mask indoors in public places. (CDC guidance)

North Carolina has ample of supply of vaccines and boosters available.

The CDC recommends getting boosted as soon as you are eligible. Find out how to book an appointment in advance for your vaccine or booster shot, at

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC has issued new guidance for isolating from others and masking.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.