RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — New COVID-19 cases in North Carolina haven’t been this low since the first weeks of the pandemic.

Hospital admissions and virus counts in wastewater also fell while vaccination rates ticked up in the weekly update released Wednesday by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Those weekly counts of new cases have fallen every week of 2023 and there were a total of 2,344 of them reported during the week of April 15-22.

That’s the smallest weekly total since April 18, 2020, when 1,994 of them were reported — and that 3-year-old number is likely an undercount because testing wasn’t nearly as prevalent at that stage of the pandemic.

It’s the second straight week with a lowest-since-2020 case count: There were 2,528 cases reported the week before.

The state also reported another drop in the number of new hospital admissions, with 233 last week marking four fewer than there were the week before.

The death total went up by 11, and now is at 28,973.

NCDHHS says 23% now have received the new booster dose, with the next-to-last vaccination numbers showed increases in three age groups.

The agency says 23% of people 18 and older have received it, along with 13% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 and 9% of those younger than 5. 

Each of those is up one percentage point from the previous update March 29, when NCDHHS said it would shift from weekly to monthly updates.

The agency’s final vaccine update is May 31, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still keeping track of them.

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.