Doctors brave record surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported a state record 4,098 COVID-19 hospitalizations Wednesday, a 107-case increase from Tuesday.

The previous record was 3,992 people hospitalized on Jan. 13th, 2021.

Health experts say the new record is due largely to the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“In Pitt County, 93% of new COVID cases were Omicron,” Dr. Andre Frederick, dual-hospitalist for Vidant and CarolinaEast medical centers said.

Frederick says CarolinaEast has seen similar trends as Vidant since the Omicron’s surge after the holiday season.

“We were down probably less than single digits less than a month ago. We’re above 30,” Frederick said.

Positive COVID-19 cases began to trend downward on Jan. 10th, getting down to 17,705 cases reported across the state on Jan. 11th before spiking back up to over 25,000 cases reported on Jan. 12th.

“The numbers that we’re seeing right now I don’t believe truly indicate how pervasive it is,” Frederick said.

More than 115 hospitals in the state have seen a rise in hospitalizations. And more than 50 North Carolina health system and hospital chief executive officers and chief medical officers are issuing open letters today encouraging people to get vaccinated and adhere to the CDC’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

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