Coronavirus omicron updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Jan. 26

Jeff Siner/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
·3 min read

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

More than 5,000 hospitalizations reported

At least 2,303,196 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 20,335 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, Jan. 25, reported 13,017 new COVID-19 cases, down from 18,452 the day before.

At least 5,055 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 25, up from 4,896 day before, according to state health officials. Another 46 coronavirus-related deaths were added.

As of Jan. 23, the latest date with available information, 36.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 74% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 70% have been fully vaccinated. Of the state’s total population, about 60% are fully vaccinated and about 64% have received at least one dose. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

About 2.8 million ”additional/booster” doses have been administered in North Carolina as of Jan. 25, the health department said. Health officials have urged those who are eligible to get boosted, as data suggests it offers increased protection against the omicron coronavirus variant.

About 99% of all new COVID-19 cases in the Southeast were attributed to the omicron variant as of Jan. 15, the latest date for which data is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mandy Cohen moves to private sector

The former secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has taken a job at the health care company Aledade.

Mandy Cohen will become the chief executive officer of a new health services unit, Aledade Care Solutions, as well as executive vice president of Aledade, The News & Observer reported. Cohen led North Carolina through almost two years of the coronavirus pandemic before departing from the state health department in December.

Aledade is a health IT company based in Maryland with operations in North Carolina.

“After nearly 15 years in public service at both the federal and state level, I am excited to keep growing and learning as a leader and health care executive, now in the private sector,” Cohen said in a post on the company website. “When I looked for the next opportunity where I could continue to work on the mission to build a more equitable, health-focused, proactive, and trusted system, Aledade quickly rose to the top of the list.”

Wake, Charlotte add more face mask distribution sites

Wake County is adding two more places where people can get N95 face masks at no cost as the coronavirus continues to spread.

The county is expanding the mask distribution effort to locations on James Jackson Avenue in Cary and Departure Drive in Raleigh, while the Kidd Road site is being eliminated, The News & Observer reported.

Each person in a household will get one of the masks, which experts say offer more protection than surgical and cloth face coverings.

Officials said the masks are available at multiple locations and will also be distributed to “high risk and underserved populations.”

In Charlotte, N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile will be sent to pharmacies at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, The Charlotte Observer reported.

If you can’t make it to the mask distribution sites, it’s best to seek out approved N95 masks. Other types, such as M95i, may not have regulations or standards, experts told the N&O.

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