More omicron cases found in North Carolina

Public health officials say they found three more cases of the coronavirus omicron variant in North Carolina. The new cases are in Pitt County in eastern N.C. One was already found in Charlotte.


Three more cases of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus have been found in North Carolina, this time in Pitt County in eastern North Carolina, public health officials say.


What You Need To Know

  • Public health officials say three more cases of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus have been found in North Carolina, this time in Pitt County
  • The first omicron case in the state was identified last week in a student at UNC Charlotte, according to Mecklenburg County officials
  • One of the cases was in a 30-year-old who had mild symptoms and isolated at home
  • The new omicron variant will likely become the dominant strain in the United States “very soon,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert

The first omicron case in the state was identified last week in a student at UNC Charlotte, according to officials in Mecklenburg County.

“I am not surprised that the omicron variant has made its appearance in Pitt County. The increase of travel and close gatherings due to the holiday season have made transmission more likely. I anticipate that more cases will be identified over the next few days and weeks to come,” said Pitt County Health Director Dr. John Silvernail.

One of the cases was identified by the Vidant/Brody School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Sequencing Laboratory at East Carolina University. That case was in a 30-year-old who had mild symptoms and isolated at home, according to the county. The person had tested positive earlier in December, the health department said.

“In addition to this Pitt County case, the health department has been made aware that two more omicron variant cases have been recently identified in Pitt County, but details are not available this time,” the department said in a news release.

The new omicron variant will likely become the dominant strain in the United States “very soon,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert.

“It has what we call a doubling time of about three days and if you do the math on that, if you have just a couple of percentage of the isolates being omicron, very soon it’s going to be the dominant variant,” Fauci said this week on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

 

The first omicron case in North Carolina was found in Charlotte last week, said Mecklenburg Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. She said that case was in a student who had traveled out of state over the Thanksgiving holiday.

COVID-19 cases are once again increasing in North Carolina, Department of Health and Human Services Data shows. State officials worry that holiday travel and gatherings could once again lead to a winter spike in cases.

“I know so many families and friends are getting together with so much joy this holiday season after missing out on last year’s traditions,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news conference earlier this week. “But COVID infections rose after the Thanksgiving holidays both this year and last.”

“As we gather again in December, we should get vaccinated to protect ourselves and our loved ones from severe COVID or worse,” Cooper said. “With cases rising, it’s also a good idea to get tested before you gather and wear a mask when you are inside a public place.”



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