Coronavirus updates for March 30: Here’s what to know in North Carolina this week

·3 min read
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We’re tracking information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back every Thursday for updates.

Over 3,000 new COVID cases

At least 3,922 new coronavirus cases were reported in North Carolina last week, down from 4,047 the week before, according to preliminary data from state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also reported 397 new weekly COVID-19 hospital patient admissions, up from 394 the previous week, according to figures through March 25, the most recent metrics available. The daily average of adult coronavirus patients in intensive care was 40, compared with 69 the week before.

The figures were released Wednesday, March 29, as the state health department announced it was updating its online coronavirus dashboard to include data about the flu and other respiratory illnesses.

“While we continue to see illness and deaths from COVID-19, it is no longer the threat it once was thanks to testing, vaccines and treatment,” Dr. Susan Kansagra, of the state agency’s Division of Public Health, wrote in a news release. “As we evolve our response to the more routine nature of COVID-19 going forward, these indicators will help us monitor our health care capacity from respiratory illness including COVID-19 and adjust our response if needed.”

Data shows roughly 78% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 74% have finished an initial round of vaccine doses. Of the state’s total population, about 63% finished their initial round and about 68% have received at least one dose. State officials round vaccination metrics to the nearest whole number.

“Out of all people who have finished their initial vaccines in North Carolina, 59% have been vaccinated with at least one booster, and 22% with an updated omicron booster,” the health department wrote on its website. Officials have urged those who are eligible to get boosted, as data shows it offers increased protection against the omicron coronavirus variant.

Charlotte hospitals lift mask requirements

Several major medical providers in the Charlotte area announced that they no longer will mandate face masks.

The decision impacts multiple hospitals, including “Atrium Health, Novant Health, CaroMont Health, Cone Health and Randolph Health” facilities, The Charlotte Observer reported March 27.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have followed what the science tells us, and now it shows that, for many people, it is safe for a mask to be optional,” Dr. Katie Passaretti of Atrium Health said in a statement. “We recognize some people may choose to mask because of personal preference or individual health matters and we encourage anyone who feels this way to continue wearing their mask.”

Atrium Health and Novant Health both said people may still be required to wear face coverings in certain facilities or situations.

The change comes as the number of weekly coronavirus cases has been dropping in Mecklenburg County, which is home to Charlotte. As of March 27, the region had a low community level for COVID-19, meaning people living there are urged to get the latest COVID-19 vaccines and seek testing if they feel sick, the Observer reported.

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