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COVID-19 in NC: Big drops in new cases, hospital admissions



RALEIGH, N.C. Local Charlotte — Public health officials are reporting massive drops in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 numbers.

New cases were down 33 percent, hospital admissions fell by 18 percent and the number of COVID particles found in wastewater plunged by 40 percent in the weekly update for Jan. 8-14 that was published Wednesday by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

People also visited emergency rooms across the state for COVID symptoms at a much lower rate than they did during the week before.

The drops came after consecutive weeks in which hospital admissions hit their highest peak in nearly a year, largely a reflection of spread related to holiday gatherings.

A total of 11 omicron subvariants showed up in labs sequencing samples across the state from Dec. 25-Jan. 7, and four accounted for at least 10 percent of the total — including the BQ.1.1 strain (46 percent) that for weeks has made up the largest share and the XBB.1.5 variant that is expected to eventually take over as the dominant version.

And for the second consecutive week, there was no change to the state’s booster rate: Just 20 percent of vaccinated North Carolinians have received a new bivalent booster dose.

NCDHHS counted 14,290 new cases last week — the first week with fewer than 20,000 of them since mid-December.

The number of people admitted to hospitals with COVID also dropped, with the 1,363 marking the first weekly decline since mid-November.

Officials also counted an average of 34 million viral particles in wastewater across the state, a big drop from the revised average of 56.6 million a week ago. NCDHHS says there was an issue with the count in its update from Jan. 11, with the initial report of 82.4 million particles way too high.

And the agency says 5 percent of people who visited ERs last week did so because of symptoms of COVID — down more than two full percentage points from the 7.1 percent who did it a week earlier.

The state reported 59 more deaths, bringing the total to 27,967.

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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