RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Public health officials are reporting big drops in four key COVID-19 indicators in North Carolina.

Cases fell by more than 20 percent over the past week while there was a more than 30 percent drop in the amount of COVID particles found in wastewater, according to the weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency also says hospital admissions were down 4 percent and the rate that COVID symptoms accounted for emergency-room visits fell by nearly a full percentage point.

And more than 102,000 people received the new bivalent booster shot over the past week, the largest weekly increase since those shots became available earlier this month.

The improvement is the latest sign that the BA.5 surge during the summer is continuing to fade. That variant still makes up nearly 80 percent of the samples sequenced in labs from Sept. 4-17.

The 14,938 new cases reported during the week of Sept. 18-24 were the fewest since the last week of April, when there were 13,102, though those case numbers are widely considered undercounts because so many tests are being performed at home and do not factor in those official totals.

NCDHHS also reported 972 people being admitted to hospitals, the first week since July with fewer than 1,000 new admissions.

The biggest drop came in the wastewater numbers: The state says an average of 11.4 million viral particles per person were counted at wastewater treatment plants, a massive decline from the 16.7 million a week earlier and the fewest since late April.

Additionally, the state says 4.5 percent of ER visits last week were due to COVID-like symptoms — down nearly a full point from last week’s rate of 5.4 percent.

The state added another 67 deaths over the past week, pushing the total to 26,525.


(Since Sept. 21)

4,481 first doses

3,342 second doses

88 single-shot J&J doses

1,827 old booster doses

102,517 new booster doses

112,255 total doses