On Friday, July 3, many people were taking it easy as part of the Fourth of July holiday, however, some staff at the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) were hard at work adding up numbers and sending the latest unpleasant COVID-19 findings out to the public.

The NCDHHS reported in a press release that on July 3 the state saw its highest one-day number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases with 2,099 positive cases reported.

In that same release, the department also stated that hospitalizations in North Carolina were at a record high as well, with 951 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

The increased number of positive cases is in part due to an increase in testing – which yields more positive results. However, the continued presence of the virus at high levels has state health officials alarmed, and it’s clear they want the latest statistics to serve as a reminder to people celebrating this weekend to take the preventative measures that are now known – if not always practiced – by everyone.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the latest numbers should be a wake-up call for the state’s residents.

“We are seeing significant spread of the virus and it is very concerning,” she said in the press release. “Today we have the highest reported day of new cases and hospitalizations – and that should be a warning to us all as we go into this holiday weekend. We don’t get a holiday from COVID-19. We all need to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often.”

Of the newly reported cases, 11 percent were positive among labs that report both negative and positive tests into the state’s electronic reporting system. That’s the highest percentage of positive cases North Carolina has seen since late April, when the state was doing more targeted testing.

According to the release, the NCDHHS is responding to the pandemic on several fronts, including by increasing both testing and contact tracing in places around the state that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.