RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We may be past the peak of the latest COVID-19 surge in North Carolina.

Public health leaders Wednesday reported the first weekly drop in hospital admissions in two months, according to the weekly update from the Department of Health and Human Services.

That, coupled with the fourth consecutive decrease in the weekly total of new cases, suggests measurable improvement after several weeks in which the number of North Carolina counties with the highest community levels of COVID on a key federal map mushroomed from one county to more than 20.

NCDHHS counted 839 patients admitted into hospitals from June 12-18 — a 5 percent drop from the 887 that were admitted the week before. 

It’s the first week-over-week decline in that measure since the week ending April 23. Just a week ago, admissions were up 11 percent.

The running patient count is starting to reflect that decline: After topping out at 830 patients on June 13, the total number of patients in hospitals has dropped by 7 percent and ended up at 771 on June 18.

The agency said 21,803 new cases were reported last week, a drop of 8 percent from the previous week. Those counts have fallen by at least 7 percent every week since late May.

The state is averaging about 3,100 new cases a day — a figure that dropped for 16 days in a row.

The case counts are almost certainly undercounts, though, because at-home tests — which are not included in those totals — make up a larger share of tests.

The death total grew to 25,151 after another 11 deaths were reported by NCDHHS.

It’s still way too soon for the youngest children to show up in the vaccine numbers, which dipped to their lowest level in months.

The agency counted just over 32,000 total doses, fewer than 24,000 of which were booster shots. Both figures are lows since April 13, the first week when the vaccine dose count was reported weekly, not daily.

VACCINE DOSE COUNT

(Since June 15)

4,647 first doses

3,840 second doses

188 single-shot J&J doses

23,490 booster doses

32,165 total doses