COVID-19 in NC: Unvaccinated? You’re now 15X more likely to die of COVID

FILE - In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. Religious objections, once used only sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The percentage of vaccinated people in North Carolina who reported breakthrough cases of COVID-19 continue to tick up slightly, even as the unvaccinated grew even more likely to catch the virus and die from it.

The state added nearly 7,700 new breakthrough cases during the week that ended Sept. 11 — bringing the total to nearly 56,000 since Jan. 1 — according to the weekly respiratory surveillance report published Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The report finds unvaccinated people were 4 1/2 times more likely than the fully vaccinated to catch the virus and nearly 15 1/2 times more likely to die from it.

Another 67 deaths among fully vaccinated people were reported to NCDHHS during the past week, bringing the total to 365.

Cases were reported by 1.1 percent of the 4.8 million fully vaccinated people in the state as of that date.

The rate was slightly more than one percent for the week ending Sept. 4, after it was 0.8 percent in the Sept. 2 report, with 0.7 percent in the report issued Aug. 26.

NCDHHS also said the percentage of emergency department visits for COVID-like symptoms, one of the agency’s earliest indicators, dropped to its lowest level in a month. 

Those visits accounted for 12 percent of visits for the week ending Sept. 18, two weeks after that figure was a pandemic-high 17 percent. Each of the state’s six regions showed a similar drop.

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.