TRIAD — Although the surge in COVID-19 cases may have peaked in some parts of the country, the numbers in North Carolina continue to go up.
In particular, the number of hospital patients with the virus has grown by nearly 1,000 in less than two weeks to 4,896 on Sunday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported on Monday. The number of hospitalizations has increased almost every day since Christmas, when there were just 1,738.
There were 791 COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms in intensive care units around the state on Sunday, down slightly from Thursday’s peak of 822.
Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist High Point Medical Center had an average of 52.9 COVID-19 patients a day for the week of Jan. 14-20, including an average of 10.4 a day in the ICU, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ HealthData.gov website.
Although the omicron variant, which is fueling this surge, appears to be less likely than previous variants to cause severe illness, it is so much more highly contagious that the sheer number of new infections has resulted in a crush of cases hitting hospitals.
The N.C. DHHS reports that the number of new cases has averaged close to 30,000 a day for a week.
The percentage of new COVID-19 tests that come back positive has been inching close to 40% — as of Saturday it was 38.7%, though county-by-county rates vary: In Guilford, the 14-day positive rate was 30.2%; and in Davidson and Randolph it was 37.8%.
On Friday Gov. Roy Cooper asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help getting additional nurses and other resources for hospitals in the Charlotte area, where Atrium Health said its facilities were already at more than 95% of capacity.