RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Public health officials reported slight upticks in most of North Carolina’s key COVID-19 numbers — and another number prone to wild swings nearly doubled.

New cases were up seven percent in the past week while hospital admissions increased by five percent during the week of Thanksgiving, according to the weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency also reported an 83 percent increase in the number of viral particles found in wastewater — but there are reasons to view that number with caution. 

It has shifted by at least 25 percent — in either direction — for three weeks in a row, and the number of particles is often revised a week later, sometimes greatly.

NCDHHS reported another one-point increase in the share of vaccinated people who have received the new bivalent booster shot, with that rate climbing to 17 percent.

That’s significant because the BA.5 omicron variant is losing ground to several other variants. While BA.5 made up 38 percent of the samples sequenced by the state’s labs between Nov. 6-19, four other variants account for at least eight percent of the share — including BQ.1.1, which was at 24 percent.

The state reported 6,431 new cases last week, the third consecutive week the case count has dipped to the 6,000s after there were 6,024 a week earlier.

Any spread that took place during Thanksgiving gatherings likely won’t show up in the numbers for another week or two.

NCDHHS counted 529 patients admitted to hospitals last week, up from 502 the week before.

It also says there was an average of 11 million COVID particles found per person in wastewater last week. 

But there was a massive change in the number of particles found the week before: That number was reported last week as 10.4 million — which would have meant a much smaller change — but was revised down to six million Wednesday, which accounts for the 83 percent rise.

The state also added another 24 deaths to the total, bringing it to 27,371.


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.