People who have not gotten a coronavirus vaccine are 15.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday.

The state hit a record this week for both the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units and the number on ventilators. On Thursday, there were 912 adult COVID-19 patients in the ICU and 574 on ventilators.

"The vast majority of people dying with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. If you are not vaccinated please don’t wait until it is too late," DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said. "The authorized and approved vaccines have been through rigorous clinical trials and met scientific standards. Millions of North Carolinians have been safely vaccinated."

Over the past four weeks, 30 people younger than 65 died from the virus, DHHS reported. One of those was vaccinated. For people over 65, seven vaccinated people died compared to 30 unvaccinated people, according to DHHS.

North Carolina is in the middle of the sharpest spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began more than 18 months ago.

On Friday, the state reported more than 8,100 new coronavirus cases and more than 3,650 people in the hospital with the virus. The number of people in the hospital jumped by 100 between Thursday and Friday, according to DHHS.

Sixty-five percent of the adult population in the state is now fully vaccinated, according to DHHS, and 60% is fully vaccinated. There are still areas of the state with low vaccination rates, mostly in rural areas.

Robeson County has the lowest vaccination rate in the state, with 37% of adults fully vaccinated.

Doctors around the state have been warning of hospitals and intensive care units filling up with COVID-19 patients.

“We’re busier, our patients are a little sicker, oftentimes very sick,” Dr. Timothy Plonk, medical director for Duke Raleigh Hospital’s emergency department, said this week. “Our wait times are higher than they’ve ever been at Duke Raleigh.”

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