Coronavirus omicron updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Jan. 20

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/mrodriguez@charlotteobserver.com
·2 min read

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

State passes 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths

At least 2,147,777 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 20,037 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, Jan. 19, reported 17,374 new COVID-19 cases, down from 31,902 the day before. Officials said data on Jan. 18 would be higher due to case metrics that previously hadn’t been tallied.

At least 4,689 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 19, a new record and up from 4,630 the day before. Thirty-seven coronavirus-related deaths were also added.

As of Jan. 17, the latest date with available information, 35.9% 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 59% are fully vaccinated and 64% have received at least one dose. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

More than 2.8 million ”additional/booster” doses have been administered in North Carolina as of Jan. 19, 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.

Wake Democrats delete tweet taking aim at school board critics

The Wake County Democrats deleted a tweet Wednesday, Jan. 19, that appeared to accuse some school board critics of being COVID-19 conspiracy theorists.

The tweet gave a shout out to the board’s Democratic members “for caring about our kids & showing courage, grace, & patience while facing misinformation, lies, threats, and bad behavior from some Wake County parents & citizens.” A cartoon showing school board critics as QAnon followers, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, opponents of Critical Race Theory and Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrectionists accompanied it, The News & Observer reported.

The tweet comes after several speakers at school board meetings have “opposed requiring face masks, questioned the COVID-19 vaccine and accused the district of promoting Critical Race Theory,” The N&O reported.

Kevyn Creech, chair of the Wake County Democratic Party, said the tweet was intended to show support for the school board’s leadership. But school board chairwoman Lindsay Mahaffey said she and others had concerns.

“We didn’t find it productive,” Mahaffey said. “Our focus is students and schools.”

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