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Increased COVID-19 numbers raise concerns for the summer

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - New information shows there are more COVID-19 cases right now than there were last spring.

Johns Hopkins University reported Friday a seven-day average of 83,868 new COVID-19 cases in the United States, compared to 20,115 this time last year.

The increased number of cases, along with personal connections to people who were lost as a result of the virus, have some wary of summer travel.

“I just don’t want to take my chances because my husband passed away from the virus back when it first started,” Onslow County resident Virginia Venters said.

Health officials in North Carolina say the state is seeing a rise in the percentage of people who test positive for the virus.

“Last year from May 1st to May 31st, our positive rate was 8%. This year, our positive rate is 25%,” Dr. Arin Piramzadian, StarMed Healthcare chief medical officer said.

The increase in cases has led some Eastern Carolina businesses to request that people wear masks indoors again.

“Keeping a policy that helps us out and helps our customers... some of our customers are older, and some, they have some other illnesses and stuff like that,” Jean Wagnac, Ann-G’s Hair Studio co-owner said.

As summer travel increases again, experts encourage travelers to stay up-to-date on their testing.

“We don’t want to be the stick in the mud to keep saying, ‘oh cancel everything.’ Piramzadian said. “But if you’re going to do something, if you’re going to be around others, at least get tested before you go so you don’t spread it if you do test positive.”

StarMed says it is continuing to provide free testing, vaccination, and monoclonal antibody treatments, but the health system says state funding for COVID-19 is projected to run out by the end of July.

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