North Carolina saw its single biggest spike in coronavirus cases today with 273 new cases reported since Wednesday, a 17 percent jump.

There are now more than 1,850 people who have tested positive for the highly infectious virus. Sixteen people have died due to complications from the virus, which progresses to pneumonia in the most serious cases. While most patients experience mild symptoms and recover at home—and some are asymptomatic—there are currently 184 people being treated at hospitals.

The jump in cases may be attributed to an increase in testing: So far the state has tested nearly 29,000 people.

“We have about another 5,000 [tests] we know are still in the cue waiting to be run,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said at a press conference on Wednesday. 

People have tested positive for the virus in every county. Mecklenberg County has the most cases, with nearly 500, followed by Wake County with 234 cases and Durham County with 147. 

While the majority of cases have been found in individuals under 50, Cohen said that nearly 80 percent of fatal cases are in those over the age of 65. 

The state is working with data scientists from the state’s universities and the private sector to run models on how the virus might progress, Cohen said.

“Everyone wants to know how long is this going to last. When is this virus going to peak? When can we resume our lives again?” Cohen said. “All of this is so new. We don’t have the perfect data, we don’t know the perfect assumptions, and we aren’t going to know with precision how things are going to play out.”

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at 

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