Health officials urge caution ahead of Easter weekend as COVID-19 case counts rise

Health officials are urging people to remain vigilant during the holiday weekend as new COVID-19 cases nationally are rising.

Video Transcript

MICHAEL PERCHICK: Sunday marks the 18th straight day that more than 1 million passengers traveled through TSA checkpoints, a sign of growing momentum. While vaccinations are increasing, health officials are warning now is not the time to drop your guard. The seven-day new case average in the US hitting a three-week high over the weekend, as health officials warn of an impending uptick in cases.

- And I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared.

MICHAEL PERCHICK: 22% of adults in North Carolina are fully vaccinated, and 13.5% on top of that are partially vaccinated, with the state set to expand its eligibility tomorrow. But cases here are slowly rising. And while there are still an ample number of hospital and ICU beds as well as ventilators available, doctors are hoping they won't be needed.

- The increase that we had seen over the last couple of months have leveled out and then started to rise again. So that signal is real, and it's been predicted by epidemiologists.

MICHAEL PERCHICK: Those concerns prompting First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh to go fully virtual for Easter services.

DUMAS HARSHAW: We're certainly looking forward to make sure that there's a process that ensures the safety of our congregants and not just rushing back simply because we can.

MICHAEL PERCHICK: Pastor Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr. says the church is connecting with people in other ways.

DUMAS HARSHAW: We will be able to have a drive-by for our youth and our children on Saturday. And so there are supplies and the Easter baskets that have been made available.

MICHAEL PERCHICK: He adds they're also reaching out via phone and social media. A far cry from packed pews, but a necessary step at this time. I'm Michael Perchick, ABC 11, Eyewitness News.