Coronavirus omicron updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Jan. 27

Julia Wall/jwall@newsobserver.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 100 deaths added

At least 2,323,482 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 20,440 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, Jan. 26, reported 20,286 new COVID-19 cases, up from 13,017 the day before.

At least 5,090 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 26, including 806 adults in intensive care units. The total patient count was up from 5,055 the day before, according to state health officials.

Another 105 coronavirus-related deaths were added.

As of Jan. 24, the latest date with available information, 32.4% 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. 26, 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.

Could new coronavirus variant spread faster than Omicron?

Scientists have observed a new mutation of the coronavirus, dubbed BA.2 or “stealth omicron” because of a genetic trait that makes it harder to detect through testing.

BA.2 was first detected in the U.S. in December but scientists don’t know where it originated. While doctors have said it appears to be more transmissible than omicron, there is no evidence that BA.2 causes more severe illness than BA.1, otherwise known as omicron, The Charlotte Observer reported.

1 in 3 detainees at Durham jail has COVID

Nearly 1 in 3 people at the Durham County Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the jail’s biggest outbreak and spurring officials to start offering booster shots to detainees.

Sheriff Clarence Birkhead said 116 out of 368 people incarcerated at the jail have tested positive, which he attributed in-part to the number of people entering the jail who are unvaccinated, The News & Observer reported.

“Every time someone is arrested and goes through our intake process, we certainly do the COVID screening,” he told the commissioners. “And most of those individuals often have not had their first shot.”

The sheriff’s department is working with Wellpath to provide first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will submit an emergency funding request for more testing and cleaning supplies.

Durham County’s General Services department will also clean the jail for “the first time ever to sanitize as much as possible,” Birkhead said.

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