COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Again On The Rise
North Carolina health officials reported three straight days of nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 last week, about twice as many as the most cases reported on a single day in June.
Public health officials continue to emphasize that the new cases are almost completely among unvaccinated people, and that these cases, hospitalizations and deaths could be stopped with available vaccines.
At least 25 deaths have been caused by the virus since the Fourth of July. That's well down from the height of the pandemic - there were 128 reported deaths on January 4 alone. But the difference now is that vaccines are widely available.
Vaccine uptake has slowed dramatically. From February 22 through April 12, there were an average of 333,000 first doses administered in the state per week. Since May 24, however, that weekly average has dropped to below 46,000 per week. There are still about 4 million people aged 12 and up who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. It would take more than a year and a half at the current rate to get everyone vaccinated.
Hospitalizations, seen as a leading indicator of deaths, have also begun to increase. Daily hospitalization totals had dropped to 373 on July 3 , it was the lowest total since the very first week that DHHS began reporting hospitalizations due to COVID-19. However, at the end of last week, hospitalizations had increased to 536, including 161 adult ICU COVID-19 patients.