RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — New COVID-19 cases in North Carolina are down to their lowest level since Thanksgiving.
New cases dropped by 22 percent and hospital admissions fell by 7 percent as those key pandemic metrics continued their sustained trend of improvement Wednesday in the latest weekly update from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
There were 20 percent fewer viral particles in wastewater during the week of Feb. 19-25 than there were the previous week, and people showed up at emergency rooms with COVID symptoms at an even lower rate than they did previously.
And the state’s booster rate went up by a percentage point: 22 percent of vaccinated people have received the new bivalent booster. The addition of 8,669 doses over the past week was enough to bump it slightly.
Those boosters are designed to target the omicron subvariants — one of which, the XBB.1.5 variant nicknamed the “kraken” because of how omnipresent and infectious it can be, made up 70 percent of samples sequenced from Feb. 5-18.
The state reported 7,285 new cases — the fewest since just 6,904 came in during the week of Thanksgiving, and nearly 2,000 fewer than there were last week. The number of new cases has fallen every week of the calendar year.
Hospital admissions also dipped to pre-Christmas levels, with the 707 patients marking the fewest since 658 of them checked in during the first week of December.
The state counted an average of 14.7 million viral particles per person in wastewater last week, down significantly from the 18.3 million that were observed during the previous week. And NCDHHS says just 3.3 percent of ER visits were for COVID symptoms, down from 3.8 percent a week earlier.
Another 43 deaths were reported, bringing the total for the pandemic in the state to 28,389.
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.