The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is stepping up efforts to curb the rising numbers of COVID-19 patients in the state. Health officials are now urging unvaccinated North Carolinians to get their shot.
While the state's COVID-19 numbers are well below peak levels, cases and hospitalizations jumped roughly 10 percent over the past several days. Meanwhile, early warning systems indicate that more and more people are entering emergency departments. These troubling trends coincide with the rise of the new Delta variant of the disease which spreads faster than current variants and is potentially more dangerous.
At a recent press conference, infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl said now's the time.
"So, the number one reason is to protect yourself," says Ohl. "Be selfish. Number two is to protect the loved ones around you who may be more vulnerable because if you get it, you're going to give it to them. Household transmission with the Delta variant is 50 percent. Fifty percent of the people in the household are going to get it if you get it."
Nationwide, more than half of new cases are now caused by the Delta variant. Ohl says since May, unvaccinated individuals have made up more than 99 percent of new cases in North Carolina.