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COVID-19 in NC: Big drop in new cases; new booster total reaches 1 million

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RALEIGH, N.C. Local Charlotte — Most of North Carolina’s key COVID-19 numbers kept dropping, with one important exception — the count of people getting a new booster shot, which passed 1 million.

New cases fell by 23 percent to their lowest level since April while the volatile count of viral particles in wastewater plunged by more than 25 percent according to the weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Hospital admissions dropped by 3 percent during the week of Nov. 6-12 and the rate that people showed up at emergency rooms with symptoms of COVID ticked down to its lowest rate since mid-May, with 3.9 percent of those ER visits caused by COVID symptoms.

NCDHHS says the BA.5 omicron variant — which for months has been the dominant strain in the state and in the U.S. — only made up slightly over half of the samples sequenced between Oct. 23 and Nov. 5.

Other strains that infectious disease experts call “grandchildren” of omicron are making up growing shares. Notably, the BF.7 variant accounted for 10 percent of those samples. Its share was in single digits last week.

It’s the second straight week most of those numbers headed down, after November began with a slight uptick.

And it helps that the running tally of people getting the new, bivalent booster kept climbing: A total of 1,001,880 people have received that new dose, with that total increasing by nearly 78,000 in the past week.

NCDHHS reported 6,325 new cases — a big drop from the more than 8,100 that came in last week, and the fewest since the week that ended April 9, when there were just 4,930 of them.

North Carolina is now averaging fewer than 1,000 new cases each day for the first time since April 13.

The state also reported 563 new hospital admissions, down from 583 a week ago and the smallest weekly total since the week ending May 14.

And the number of particles of the virus found per person — which has shown wild swings in both directions in recent weeks — dropped by nearly 26 percent to 8.1 million.

Another 47 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 27,305.



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