RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — State public health officials reported double-digit increases over the past week in new cases of COVID-19 and hospital admissions.

Admissions were up 17 percent. There were also 11 percent more new cases reported, according to the weekly update Wednesday from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

And people were visiting emergency rooms for COVID symptoms at a higher rate than any point since mid-February, with those symptoms accounting for 6.8 percent of those visits.

That’s even as NCDHHS reported a drop in another of the earliest key measures: A 20 percent dip in the amount of COVID particles showing up in wastewater.

Those increases reflect the current surge being driven by the fast-spreading BA.5 omicron variant, which made up nearly 60 percent of the samples checked by the state’s sequencing labs over the past two weeks.

NCDHHS says 1,290 people with COVID were admitted to state hospitals during the week of July 17-23, after 1,102 were admitted during the previous week.

The single-day total number of hospitalized people reached its highest peak in nearly five months. There were 1,151 people in hospitals on July 23, the most since there were 1,177 on March 7.

The 32,156 cases reported last week were the most since mid-February, and up from the 28,950 that came in last week. And those case counts are almost certainly an undercount because of the rise in at-home tests that are not included in those official counts.

Still, the state averaged just under 4,600 new cases per day over the past week, the most since Feb. 13 — when that average exceeded 5,200 per day.

And more and more North Carolinians are catching COVID for a second time: 15 percent of those cases reported were reinfections, up from 14 percent the week before and 13 percent in early July.

The state’s death total climbed to 25,483 with another 48 deaths being reported during the past week.


(Since July 20)

9,090 first doses

5,900 second doses

221 single-shot J&J doses

25,708 booster doses

40,919 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.