Here’s what to know in North Carolina on July 1

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

Thirteen additional deaths reported

At least 1,013,689 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 13,437 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 208 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, down from 274 on Tuesday.

Thirteen additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Wednesday. Deaths don’t necessarily occur on the day the state reports them. The state health department revises its daily figures as more information becomes available.

At least 393 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Wednesday, up from 384 the day before.

As of Monday — the most recent date available — 2.7% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 56% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and about 53% have been fully vaccinated. State health officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

Mecklenburg residents should still carry mask, official says

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said residents should carry a mask at all times — particularly as cases of the Delta variant continue to rise.

Harris told The Charlotte Observer people who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine should wear a mask at all times. Masks aren’t, however, necessary for vaccinated individuals, she said.

Officials don’t know what percentage of new cases are caused by the variant in North Carolina. But Harris said it would be unreasonable to think it isn’t present in the state.

“My recommendation to people is don’t leave home without a mask,” Harris said.

Local experts believe the Delta variant will become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Science group says masks protect students

Two reports by the ABC Science Collaborative promote continuing to wear masks at school until more students are vaccinated.

“The science clearly shows us that masking is an effective strategy to prevent within-school transmission when COVID-19 is circulating and when vaccination is not yet available for all children,” Dr. Kanecia Zimmerman, co-chair of the ABC Science Collaborative, said in a statement Wednesday.

The group is a partnership between Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill that advises schools how to deal with the pandemic.

The reports were issued just as the North Carolina Senate is slated to vote on legislation ending the governor’s statewide mask mandate that requires face coverings in schools. The measure has already been approved by the House and would allow public and private schools to make masks optional during the upcoming school year.

Passengers warned of busy holiday weekend

An airline is urging people to get to Charlotte Douglas International Airport earlier than usual if they plan to travel for the Fourth of July.

American Airlines said passengers should plan to be in security lines three hours early as long lines are predicted this weekend, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

The airport is expected to be busy after seeing a dip in traffic last year due to COVID-19. In May, there were more than 2 million passengers — up from 499,000 in May 2020, data show.

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