The region is currently experiencing another wave of COVID-19 cases. Novant Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. David Priest said at a press briefing Tuesday that this was not unexpected.

"As we know, people have been traveling and getting together in groups indoors as we do during this time of year. People are taking fewer precautions against the virus, and there's waning immunity from natural infection and vaccination.”

Priest says the health care system is currently treating 260 COVID patients in its hospitals. Last year at this time as omicron spread, that number was 760.

He says that proportionally there are fewer patients in intensive care and on ventilators than earlier in the pandemic. That suggests that recent variants, although highly transmissible, are not more dangerous when it comes to severity.

The average age of patients in the Novant Health system due to COVID is 70. In terms of flu and RSV cases, Priest says lately the numbers are coming down which is encouraging but that there could still be another flu peak this season.       

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