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COVID-19 in NC: New cases dip to 11-month low; sewage total drops 34%



RALEIGH, N.C. Local Charlotte — North Carolina’s weekly COVID-19 case count dipped to an 11-month low.

A total of 5,345 new cases were reported last week — a 28 percent drop from the week before — and hospital admissions also continued their steady decline, according to the weekly update Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The state also reported its smallest count of viral particles in wastewater since November following a 34 percent drop and the lowest rate of COVID-related emergency room visits since April 2022.

It marks the continuation of a trend of improvement that began at the start of 2023: The number of new cases has fallen in each week of the calendar year.

State officials say the weekly total from the week of Feb. 26-March 4 was down 28 percent from the previous week — which itself fell 22 percent from the week before that.

The total from last week is about a quarter of what it was during the final week of 2022 — when 24,033 cases were reported.

It’s the smallest weekly total since the week that ended April 9, 2022, when just under 5,000 new cases were reported and those weekly counts were inching back up after the initial omicron surge tapered off.

The overwhelming majority of those cases is the XBB.1.5 “kraken” omicron subvariant, which made up 80 percent of all samples sequenced from Feb. 12-25 and accounted for nearly 90 percent of the ones from last week alone.

The share of vaccinated people who have received the booster dose that targets those omicron variants remained frozen at 22 percent, with just 8,120 additional people receiving it during the past week.

NCDHHS also says hospital admissions fell by 13 percent to their lowest level since Thanksgiving, with 615 people checking into hospitals last week.

The 9.7 million viral particles in wastewater mark the fewest since mid-November, when there were an average of 6 million per person, and were way down from 14.7 million last week.

And for the first time since late April, fewer than 3 percent of ER visits were caused by symptoms of COVID, with those trips accounting for just 2.9 percent of the total.

Another 43 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 28,432.

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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