RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Another week of big drops in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 numbers.

New cases were down 15 percent, hospital admissions fell by 18 percent and there were roughly half as many COVID particles in the state’s wastewater during the week of Jan. 15-21 than there were the week before, according to the weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

And people visited emergency rooms with COVID symptoms that week at a lower rate than they did the week before.

Each of those numbers fell for the second consecutive week after a modest rise that was apparently related to holiday gatherings.

The percentage of vaccinated North Carolinians who have received the updated bivalent booster dose inched up a percentage point to 21 percent, after another 19,373 doses were added to the running total.

State officials reported another 12,862 cases last week, about 2,500 fewer than there were during the previous week, marking the third consecutive weekly decline and the smallest total since the first week in December.

A total of 1,114 people were admitted to hospitals last week with COVID, NCDHHS said — about 250 fewer than the week before.

But the biggest drop was observed in North Carolina’s sewers, where the average of 16.1 million viral particles per person marked a drop of 52 percent from the week before, when that average was 34 million. A spike in that measure often precedes a surge in cases.

The state also added another 73 deaths, bringing the total to 28,040.

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.