RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Fewer than 3,000 COVID-19 patients are in North Carolina hospitals, the first time since early January that it dived below that threshold.
The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday also reported its highest number of new cases a week, moving the state closer to yet another milestone death.
As yet another indication that the rise driven by the omicron variant is slowing, the agency also says tests confirm new cases at the lowest rate since Christmas Eve.
But the most striking figure reflects the continued decline in how crowded state hospitals are with COVID patients.
The 2,872 hospitalized persons were the fewest since January 3, and for the first time that number has been below 3,000 since the following day.
The total number fell for the 20th day in a row with an average of 117 patients a day after a drop of 169 since Tuesday.
The 6,079 new cases were the most since February 12, snapping a series of three days in a row with fewer than 5,000.
But even with the daily rise, the trend lines continued to point down: The seven-day average fell below 6,000 for the first time in 2022. North Carolina averaged just under 5,700 new cases each day over the past week.
And 12.5 percent of tests on Monday confirmed new cases – the lowest rate has been since December 24, when it was 11.8 percent. It was regularly higher than 30 percent in January.
But North Carolina appears to be on track to reach its 22,000. COVID deaths Thursday after the 69 deaths recorded by the NCDHHS pushed the total to 21,968.