NC health secretary says priorities may change as COVID indicators fall

NC health secretary says priorities may change as COVID indicators fall

5:14pm Mar 16, 2022
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says the agency will change its approach to COVID as certain indicators decline.

Speaking to a bipartisan legislative subcommittee this week, NC DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley said that at the peak of the omicron surge, about a quarter of the people who showed up at emergency departments had COVID-like illnesses. Now that number is down to about 3%.

Declining figures like that mean we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic. He says equity will continue to be a priority, as some communities still lack access to resources including vaccines.

“We know that only 5% of people in the hospital were boosted, once again suggesting that staying up to date with your vaccines is incredibly important at reducing that risk of severe death or disease and hospitalization,” he says.

Kinsley says the state is also increasing the number of wastewater surveillance sites from 24 to 36 places checking for traces of the virus in municipal water systems.

He says the department is continuing to watch for variants such as the BA.2 sub-variant, which he says is between 2% to 5% of current COVID cases in North Carolina.

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