The holidays have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean COVID-19 left with them

The holidays have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean COVID-19 left with them
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 7:27 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Cold weather means more time inside, and unfortunately that can be a recipe for spreading sickness. In fact, numbers from the state show COVID cases have been ramping up since early December.

In the first week of January, more than 1,600 people were hospitalized with COVID in North Carolina according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and more than 20,000 cases of COVID were reported.

“There’s some variants that we were monitoring but the numbers seem to be kinda flat lining,” said Dr. T. Ryan Gallaher, ECU Health Medical Director of Infectious Diseases.

The number of deaths due to COVID started trending up in the week after Christmas, but not nearly as high as last year. NC DHHS reported a total of 58 deaths last week in North Carolina compared to 404 during the same time frame last year.

“Our hospitals are not any more overloaded than the last couple of months from dealing with stuff. It’s not overloaded from COVID, it’s just that we’re dealing with lots of stuff like we have been so it’s nothing new,” said Gallaher.

Dr. Gallaher says, while they’re able to handle it, their cases are rising. “Yes, we’ve seen an increase in cases but not to certainly what we’ve seen in the past,” said Gallaher.

Dental Hygienist Liz Sawyer says, her office has been affected by the rise.

“We’ve had a lot more patients cancel because of being sick and so they’ve been calling in with just different symptoms and we’ve now gone into canceling certain appointments with any symptoms at all,” said Sawyer.

Gallaher says we are at the top of the peak right now, and he doesn’t expect numbers to get much higher. He recommends that everyone stay protected, saying that something as simple as getting your vaccine or booster helps protect you from getting seriously sick.

According to ECU Health’s website, they currently have 107 COVID 19 inpatients across their entire system.