Nearly 50,000 more breakthrough COVID cases reported in final week of December, NCDHHS says

Coronavirus

FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Some political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. But some scientists have challenged their accuracy. (NIAID-RML via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Health officials added nearly 50,000 more breakthrough COVID-19 cases in North Carolina during the final week of 2021.

The weekly report released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services covers the count of post-vaccination cases from Jan. 1, 2021, through Jan. 1, 2022, and begins to account for the surge in cases caused by the fast-spreading omicron variant.

NCDHHS says the running count of breakthrough cases reached 184,707 during that span, an increase of 48,757 from last week’s report. The report released last week showed about 17,000 breakthroughs added from Dec. 12-25.

The state also says 3.1 percent of the state’s 5.8 million fully vaccinated people have reported a breakthrough case — up from 2.3 percent a week ago.

Public health experts say breakthroughs are more prevalent with omicron than with previous waves.

The state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define full vaccination as someone who finished the initial vaccine series — two doses of an mRNA product or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — at least 14 days earlier.

Unvaccinated people continue to make up the vast majority of patients in hospitals and in intensive care, though the vaccinated account for a slightly larger share.

NCDHHS says 77 percent of COVID patients in hospitals are unvaccinated, down from 80 percent a week ago. The unvaccinated also make up 87 percent of those in ICUs, down from 88 percent last week.

A pandemic-record 21 percent of visits to emergency departments during the week of Jan. 2-8 were for COVID-like illnesses. That’s a percentage point higher than the previous record set a week earlier.


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.


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