Doctors report “summer surge” of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina

Most people think COVID-19 is a serious concern of the past, but state health officials say more residents in the east are currently being diagnosed with the di
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 7:46 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 7:55 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Most people think COVID-19 is a concern of the past, but state health officials say more residents in the east are being diagnosed with the disease.

Doctors are calling the increase a “summer surge” and have noticed the trend since the pandemic.

Health officials at ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville say, over the past few weeks, more patients coming to the hospital for emergencies are also testing positive for COVID-19.

Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Jacob Pierce says there has been an increase in levels of respiratory viruses.

“We have seen both increases in COVID-19 and influenza, which is somewhat unusual for the summer. But COVID-19 has disrupted some of our usual seasonal patterns. We have seen, since the pandemic began, that COVID-19 goes up, comes down and then tends to go back up again,” said Pierce.

Numbers from the State Department of Health and Human Services show there were 239 hospital admissions in the state for COVID-19 since last week. It’s a far cry from the more-than 16 hundred in January, but the numbers have ticked higher the last few weeks.

56-year-old Scott Thatcher says he made sure to get his vaccines and booster shot after seeing what a friend experienced who chose not to.

“One guy I did know got it. He was very sick, I mean very sick. He didn’t go to the hospital or anything, but he was barely moving, and he was like that for about five or six days,” explained Thatcher.

Factors that raise a person’s risk of getting the virus include being older, immunocompromised, having certain disabilities or have underlying health conditions.

Doctors at ECU Health say a person is considered up-to-date on vaccines after receiving a single dose of the most recent booster shot.

65-year-old Donald Foreman says it was easy to make the decision for him and his loved ones to get all of their COVID-19 immunizations.

“I had the first two, so I may as well get all of them. My wife and I decided to get them, so we decided to get them as a family,” Foreman explained.

Dr. Pierce says patients who test positive are being required to wear a mask during their stay in the hospital until they no longer have symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release a new COVID-19 booster shot in the next few months.