RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — New COVID-19 cases were down 10 percent last week across North Carolina — even though we haven’t had this many virus particles showing up in our wastewater in six months.

The weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services also included a relatively level number of hospital admissions and a big drop in the percentage of emergency room visits for COVID-like symptoms.

That mixed bag of numbers seems to indicate we’re not quite done yet with the surge being driven by the BA.5 omicron subvariant — which accounted for two-thirds of samples sequenced during the past two weeks.

In the most substantive jump of the week, NCDHHS says there were 26.1 million COVID particles per person in our wastewater during the week of July 31-Aug. 6 — the most since early February, when there were 34 million as the original omicron surge was beginning to wind down.

That current total is up 14 percent from the 22.9 million that were in the sewer systems monitored by the state during the previous week.

The 29,670 new cases last week marked a drop from the nearly 33,000 that came in from July 24-30. For the second straight week, more than 15 percent of those weekly cases were reinfections — people catching COVID for a second or third time.

But the new case totals have become a less reliable indicator of a surge because so many tests are being done at home and are not included in those counts.

State officials also reported 1,354 COVID patients were admitted to hospitals last week — up only four from the previous week, but still the most in a week since mid-February.

But the running total — which last week topped out at 1,393 total patients on  Aug. 2, its highest point since March 5 — has dropped steadily since then. The most recent count of 1,126 on Aug. 6 was the smallest since July 20.

The death total climbed to 25,724 with NCDHHS saying another 37 people have died.

And 30 percent of the state’s children and teenagers — those between 6 months and 18 years old — now have received at least one dose.

VACCINE DOSE COUNT

(Since Aug. 3)

8,258 first doses

5,452 second doses

198 single-shot J&J doses

22,264 booster doses

36,172 total doses


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.