RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of COVID-19 outbreaks at North Carolina nursing homes has hit a four-month high.

A weekly breakdown released Tuesday by the state Department of Health and Human Services included 279 nursing homes — up 9 percent in a week.

The BA.5 omicron variant has been driving cases and hospital admissions higher across the country and across the state — where the number of counties facing the highest level of COVID spread on a federal map is 10 times higher than it was two weeks earlier.

It’s the most outbreaks at nursing homes since March 15, when there were 295, and the fifth consecutive week with an increase.

There was an even bigger weekly jump in the outbreak count at residential care facilities. 

That total climbed 17 percent to 166, also the most since March 15, and has gone up every week since early May.

There were 22 outbreaks at correctional facilities, the most since there were 31 on March 22.

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.