CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- In these dog days of summer, many are seeking relief from the heat by going indoors. It's one reason why COVID-19 numbers are creeping up again.
"When it gets really hot, people go indoors. When it gets really cold, people go indoors. And when you're inside, the ventilation is different; people are closer together. So I think that's part of it," said UNC infectious disease doctor David Wohl about the summertime surge of COVID infection and hospitalizations.
Nationwide, there's been a 10% increase in people hospitalized with COVID. It's just more than 7,100 weekly hospitalizations. Still, well below what it was during the peak of the omicron strain: More than 150,000.
The number of North Carolinians hospitalized with COVID-19 stands at 210 patients, a 27% increase from the first week of summer.
"We are seeing that increase in numbers, and we can see this across the system," Wohl said.
The rise is also confirmed by the latest wastewater testing samples. COVID-shed particles continue to be tracked by the state -- with parts of Raleigh, south Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro now testing in the top percentile for infection.
"You see increases in infection and eventually you see increases in hospitalization just because of the people who are vulnerable, either because they're not vaccinated or they're under-vaccinated or didn't respond as well as we'd like to vaccine. Those people end up getting sicker," said Wohl. "The good news is we have much less COVID-19 being circulated. It looks like and we certainly see much less consequential COVID-19."
Wohl said we're seeing less serious cases of COVID now because we have more immunity from it than ever before. To hold on to that progress, he's telling his patients to get ready for a new and better round of COVID shots coming out this fall.