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Doctors express concern about Delta variant cases trending upward

Dr. West Paul, Chief Clinical Officer at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, says it’s the emergency room numbers that are most concerning
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 5:21 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Cases of the Delta variant are once again on the rise across North Carolina. The number of new cases is at its highest since early October.

Dr. West Paul, Chief Clinical Officer at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, says it’s the emergency room numbers that are most concerning.

“We’re always looking at what’s coming, and from our numbers and our analytics,” said Dr. Paul. “Novant Health has provided us with a lot of great tools for predicted value, and again those models are showing an uptick probably coming in the next two to four weeks, but we have begun to see that uptick.”

Dr. Paul said that looking at trends in the past that are like numbers now, cases have typically gotten higher. They have already been on the rise since Thanksgiving, and hospitals have already seen a rise in patients as Christmas nears.

“We know every time we cut down on our vigilance around distancing and masking we see some increases. We also know there are variants out there, the omicron variant that is coming. We are watching, but we are expecting to see an increase.” he says.

There is typically a two-to-three week lag period to see the holiday effect in cases, and doctors probably won’t know the full effect until the new year.

Dr. Paul reminds people to enjoy the time around the holidays, but also to remember the virus is still here.

“I’m not going to say, ‘don’t have holiday gatherings,’ — we’re having holiday gatherings. Just be cautious with this, it is a risk issue.” said Dr. Paul.

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