With holidays behind us, NC reports fewer new COVID-19 cases, deaths
Posted January 17, 2021 12:17 p.m. EST
Updated January 18, 2021 5:06 a.m. EST
While the numbers are still high and concerning, North Carolina has reported fewer new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, which could indicate that our post-holiday spike is subsiding.
According to the state, over 8,000,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed in North Carolina. The state's percentage of positive cases is at 10%, which is still higher than experts want it to be but the lowest percentage reported since Dec. 23.
On Saturday, 6,811 new cases were reported, a number that is lower than the past three days. In the last 24 hours, 67 new deaths were reported, and 3,862 North Carolinians are in hospital with COVID-19, a number lower than in the past five days.
North Carolina's average number of daily cases is at 7,350, the lowest it's been since Jan. 5, now that two weeks have passed since holiday travel and celebrations.
While the numbers dropping could mean we're past a post-holiday spike, health experts say there's a lot to consider.
"Is it just because we're seeing the consequences of being together in the holiday timeframe now being reflected and we're coming down," said Dr. Abhi Mehrotra, the vice-chair of UNC Health's Department of Emergency Management. "But what's going to happen in the future, it's really hard to predict -- there's a lot of variables to consider there."
Mehrotra added that to get a better understanding of Sunday's numbers, wait another week and see what happens over the next seven days.
"I reflect back to what we thought was our peak in July of this past year," he said. "We're more than double those numbers so this is a significant number of patients in the hospital with COVID."
While getting a COVID-19 test is becoming easier and faster, vaccine rollout has been slow in North Carolina. Most counties have started vaccinating seniors 65 and older in addition to health care workers, while in other counties, some people are struggling just to get on a wait list.