66% increase in Covid-19 cases due to unvaccinated people, NCDHHS says

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 1:09 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says after months of decline, the state is experiencing a rapid increase in Covid-19 spread among those who are unvaccinated.

On Thursday, NCDHHS recorded 1,998 new cases with 817 hospitalizations -- 132 were admitted in the past 24 hours. There have been 9,053 cases reported in the past seven days compared to 5,441 in the preceding seven days, a 66 percent increase. Hospitalizations have doubled since July 9 and are at the highest rate they have been since May 11.

“Unvaccinated North Carolinians are unnecessarily getting sick, being hospitalized and dying,” said Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, the secretary of the NCDHHS. “Don’t wait to vaccinate. And if you haven’t gotten your shot, you need to wear a mask indoors at all times when you are in public spaces.”

The state’s other key metrics are also increasing, including the number of people going to the emergency department with Covid-like symptoms and the percent of tests that are positive — which has been over 6 percent for the past week.

More than 94 percent of recent North Carolina cases are in people who were not fully vaccinated. Health officials say people who are unvaccinated are at risk for infection by the more contagious and potentially more dangerous Delta variant.

The NCDHHS is urging all unvaccinated North Carolinians age 12 and older to get a Covid-19 vaccine to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

“Rigorous clinical trials among thousands of people ages 12 and older, have proven vaccines are safe and effective. More than 160 million Americans have now been safely vaccinated. Vaccines are the best protection from Covid-19 related hospitalizations and deaths, as well as complications from the virus. Research has shown even people who had a mild case of Covid-19 may struggle with long-term effects like shortness of breath, chest pain and brain fog,” the NCDHHS stated in a news release.

To date, 60 percent of North Carolina adults have received at least one dose and 57 percent are fully vaccinated. To find a vaccine in your area, use the Find a Vaccine Location tool at or call 888-675-4567. You can also text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near you.

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