RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Public health officials added another 17,000 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in two weeks in December to the running total, and the omicron variant’s share of cases has nearly tripled in a week.
About 10,000 of those cases — one of the largest weekly increases on record — came in between Dec. 19-25 after roughly 7,000 were reported from Dec. 12-18.
That’s according to the weekly report released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services that breaks down those breakthrough cases through Christmas Day.
It showed a total of nearly 136,000 breakthrough cases in the state from Jan. 1-Dec. 25. — a 14-percent increase in two weeks. The running total on the NCDHHS report from last week was about 119,000 breakthrough cases through Dec. 11.
The report also shows 2.3 percent of the state’s 5.8 million fully vaccinated people have reported a breakthrough case.
That total does not yet reflect the massive case counts that NCDHHS has reported in recent days, with more than 100,000 new cases coming in during just the first six days of January as the fast-spreading omicron variant sweeps across the state and the nation.
Omicron made up 40 percent of the samples sequenced during the week ending Dec. 25 by a handful of labs across the state. It accounted for 14 percent of those samples during the week ending Dec. 11 and less than 5 percent during the previous week — the first time it was spotted.
The report also shows 80 percent of COVID patients in hospitals and 88 percent of those in intensive care are not fully vaccinated.
NCDHHS says a record 18 percent of the emergency room visits during the week that ended on New Year’s Day were for COVID-like illness — significantly up from 11 percent during the previous week.
The previous record of 17 percent was set in early September during the delta surge.
CBS 17’s Joedy McCreary has been tracking COVID-19 figures since March 2020, compiling data from federal, state, and local sources to deliver a clear snapshot of what the coronavirus situation looks like now and what it could look like in the future.