COVID-19 in NC: Percent positive dips to 16%; another big drop in hospitalizations

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — COVID-19 tests across North Carolina are coming back positive at their lowest rate in nearly two months while the count of hospitalized patients has dropped nearly 30 percent in two weeks.

The state Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday said the positivity rate dipped to 16.6 percent — less than half of what it was at the peak — for the most recent tests it processed.

The agency also reported continued drops in its counts of both new cases and patients in hospitals, in further evidence that the omicron surge is fading. But it also added 98 deaths, one day after its highest single-day increase in deaths since September.

The most significant number was the percent positive. At its worst in late January, more than 1 in 3 tests were confirming new cases, making the most current rate, based on tests from Tuesday, a significant improvement.

But there’s still plenty of work left to do: The current rate is still more than three times higher than the target of 5 percent.

The patient count has now dropped every day for two full weeks, with NCDHHS reporting 3,686 of them — a 29-percent decline since the peak exactly two weeks ago. That total has dropped by an average of 109 patients a day during that span.

The state also reported 8,725 new cases, the fourth time in five days with fewer than 10,000.

That pushed the seven-day average — which is down 73 percent from its Jan. 18 peak of more than 32,000 — to its lowest level of 2022. North Carolina averaged 8,620 new cases a day over the past week.

The deaths — which are the last number to level off after a surge — remained high, with the death total climbing to 21,580.

VACCINE DOSE COUNT

1,900 first doses
2,637 second doses
80 single-shot JJ doses
5,157 booster doses
9,774 total doses