RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Fewer people were admitted to North Carolina hospitals with COVID-19 last week, the first weekly drop in nearly two months.

In yet another mixed bag of a weekly statistical update, the state Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday reported a 14 percent drop in the number of new cases reported and a significant decline in the number of emergency room visits for COVID were countered by most particles of the virus found in wastewater since February.

The BA.5 omicron variant continues to be the dominant strain, accounting for nearly 73 percent of the samples sequenced by labs across the state.

And the state hit an important milestone in the booster push, with 60 percent of everyone who’s fully vaccinated now having received at least one extra dose.

But that came as there were just 17,929 booster doses given — the smallest weekly count since NCDHHS shifted to a weekly reporting schedule in April.

NCDHHS says 1,317 people checked into hospitals with COVID from Aug. 7-13, a total of 37 fewer than were admitted during the previous week. It’s the first week-over-week decline since late June.

The running count of patients in hospitals is also trending slightly down, with 1,275 people hospitalized as of Aug. 13.

The state reported 26,094 new cases a week after there were more than 30,000 of them — which itself was a 10 percent drop from the previous week.

But that’s still widely considered an undercount because so many rapid antigen tests being done at home are not included in those official counts.

NCDHHS says 6.3 percent of visits to emergency rooms last week were because of symptoms of COVID — down a full percentage point from the week before and nearly two full points from the last week of July.

But the agency also says 28.2 million virus particles per person were found in wastewater — an eight percent increase from the week before.

A total of 25,760 North Carolinians have died of COVID-19 after the state recorded another 36 deaths.


(Since Aug. 10)

8,658 first doses

7,482 second doses

242 single-shot J&J doses

17,929 booster doses

34,311 total doses