North Carolina reports continued uptick in COVID-19 cases in wake of holidays

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Wednesday, January 4, 2023
NC reports continued uptick in COVID-19 cases
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The COVID-19 pandemic started three years ago, but cases are still circulating and people are still getting sick.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The COVID-19 pandemic started three years ago, but cases are still circulating and people are still getting sick.

North Carolina reports nearly 22,000 new cases and 30 deaths for the last week of 2022. That's up from 20,500 cases and 24 deaths the week before.

Health experts said the uptick is expected following holidays, due to families and friends gathering together. That's why Wake County worked to bring back some drive-thru testing options.

Weeks ago, RSV and flu cases were combining with COVID-19 to make for what some were describing as a tripledemic. However, health officials now say those RSV and flu cases seem to be taking a back seat to COVID.

"COVID is definitely the most prevalent of our viral illnesses that we're seeing right now. Unfortunately, it's also the one that people are the most tired of thinking about and talking about and responding to. So I think it's the most difficult to get people to take seriously sometimes, but we are still seeing hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID," WakeMed Infection Prevention Specialist Jessica Dixon said.

Mary Bawa's first week of 2023 included a trip to the drive-thru testing site in Raleigh. She tested positive for COVID-19 recently, but now she worries she may have caught the flu too.

"It got worse because obviously people congregated during the holidays," Bawa said. "My whole family unfortunately got something from somewhere, we don't know where."

This latest increase in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina actually marks the sixth straight week of increases. Hospitals in the Triangle also report seeing an increase in COVID hospitalizations.

"Unfortunately, we have seen COVID continue to increase over the last couple of weeks and that's in terms of positive tests and as well as the patients who are hospitalized here at Duke," Duke Health spokesperson Lisa Pickett said.

"We always see bumps about a week to three weeks after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's related to more travel, people getting together with families, or religious ceremonies. But with COVID in addition to that, which we expected a bump, we have this new sub variant, the XBB sub variants, proliferating and dramatically increasing," Dr. David Weber with UNC Health said.