(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the largest number of new cases in one day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – again.

19,174 new cases were reported Friday, NCDHHS data shows, breaking the previous record high of 18,571 set Thursday. A total of 19,426 people have died from the virus statewide.

The daily percent positive rate also set a new high at 22.9%.

There are currently 2,387 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide.

Data suggests that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may cause less severe illness for people who are vaccinated, NCDHHS said. However, those who are unvaccinated or who have underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization, they said.

“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.”  

Health officials around the Charlotte region said they are seeing some of the highest volumes of patients coming to the emergency room since the pandemic began in March 2020, putting a strain on resources.

Officials are urging people not to go to emergency departments for COVID testing.

County-by-county breakdown in the FOX 46 Charlotte viewing area:

  • Alexander County – 7,285 positive cases and 119 related deaths
  • Anson County – 4,272 positive cases and 86 related deaths
  • Avery County – 3,162 positive cases and 39 related deaths
  • Burke County – 17,119 positive cases and 253 related deaths
  • Cabarrus County – 37,934 positive cases and 376 related deaths
  • Caldwell County – 15,010 positive cases and 231 related deaths
  • Catawba County – 31,781 positive cases and 463 related deaths
  • Cleveland County – 20,263 positive cases and 324 related deaths
  • Gaston County – 45,518 positive cases and 652 related deaths
  • Iredell County – 33,546 positive cases and 348 related deaths
  • Lincoln County – 17,233 positive cases and 119 related deaths
  • Mecklenburg County – 181,465 positive cases and 1,314 related deaths
  • Rowan County – 29,102 positive cases and 492 related deaths
  • Stanly County – 13,128 positive cases and 212 related deaths
  • Union County – 41,687 positive cases and 390 related deaths
  • Wilkes County – 12,101 positive cases and 205 related deaths