Virus cases hit another daily NC high; colleges rescheduling

Published 12:56 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

RALEIGH (AP) — Another record number of daily cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina was reported on Friday through state health data.

The state Department of Health and Human Services reported there were 19,174 new positive cases, surprassing the previous one-day high on Thursday of 18,571 cases. Before Thursday, the single-day high had been in January 2021.

The recent rapid spread of coronavirus, attributed to the contagious omicron variant, has prompted long lines at public testing sites and some universities in the state to delay student returns for the spring semester, news outlets reported.

Nearly 2,400 people were identified by DHHS as hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Thursday. The total is roughly double the number of those in the hospital a month ago.

The state said more than 76,000 tests were completed on Thursday, not including at-home tests. Almost 23% of recorded tests on Wednesday were positive, according to DHHS data.

The rapid spread led Duke University to announce on Friday that spring semester classes will now remain remote until Jan. 18, instead of Jan. 10 as previously decided.

Elizabeth City State University and Methodist University in Fayetteville also have announced that the start of spring semester will be delayed until Jan .18.

At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the semester will begin as scheduled on Jan. 10, but graduate and undergraduate classes will be held remotely until Jan. 24. The school’s athletic department also said Friday that attendance would be limited at home sporting events until Jan. 24 to a “small number of participants’ family members.”

UNC-Chapel Hill announced Friday that individual deans would make decisions on class flexibility within their schools. Classes are set to start Jan. 10.