Based on the number of cars on the road and planes in the air over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, citizens across the country were, to a large extent, ignoring instructions to celebrate Thanksgiving at home this year with only the people in their immediate household.

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, while many were doing their last bit of work and packing before traveling, state of North Carolina health officials did their part to dampen any holiday cheer. At 4:12 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) put out its new hospitalization and death numbers for the coronavirus.

According to the Thanksgiving Eve report, there had been a toal 346,506 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the state since March and 5,138 deaths that are COVID-19 related. There were 1,811 people hospitalized.

On that Thanksgiving Eve, on the testing front, there had been 5,065,442 tests given, with a 7.3 percent positivity rate on Wednesday Nov. 25.

The state’s update offered other recent virus-related news. It noted that Governor Roy Cooper had issued an additional COVID-19 executive order to tighten mask requirements since cases were continuing to “rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country.” That new executive order strengthening facemask requirements and making other changes to fight the spread of the virus went into effect on November 25 and will remain in effect until Friday, Dec. 11, unless it’s extended.

The state also announced right before the mass travel event that the North Carolina communities hit hardest by the pandemic will have access to $5 million in grants to help address food insecurity needs. The NCDHHS Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities is partnering with Livingstone College to execute a community-based program meant to provide more resources to vulnerable populations.