One-third of North Carolina's new COVID-19 cases are among children, the largest portion since the pandemic began.

At a press conference Thursday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said case rates are now highest among North Carolinians age 17 and younger. 

Cohen said more children are also being admitted to hospitals, though they still make up a small percentage of overall hospitalizations across the state.

“As always, COVID, luckily, has not been as severe for our kids as it has been for our adults," Cohen said. "But when we just see the amount of viral spread where there is we're going to see more kids get sick, more kids, unfortunately, get severely sick. And so what we all need to do is work together to make sure we can get less virus circulating around, and the best way to do that is for us all to get vaccinated.”

Vaccination rates among eligible minors are still on the low side. Just 35% of those 12-17 are fully vaccinated. That number is 62% for people over age 18. 

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