MARTIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 92 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have a high rate of community transmission of COVID-19.
In November, the map was trending positively, with much of the East shaded orange, signifying a substantial transmission rate, the level beneath “high.”
Now, all counties in the state except for Polk, Halifax, Northampton, Hertford, Chowan, Hyde, Jones, and Carteret have high transmission.
To be classified as an area with high COVID-19 transmission, the county has to have at least 100 new cases of the virus for every 100,000 people, or 10% or more positive tests within a seven-day period.
The new shading is drawn from data from Dec. 7th to Dec. 13th for case rate and Dec. 4th to Dec. 10th for positive test percentage.
While health officials are learning that the Omicron variant may be more contagious than Delta, state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore says those Omicron surges have not yet arrived in North Carolina. “We’re still seeing a surge with infections caused by the Delta variant of COVID. That’s not just any particular county or even in the state. We’re really seeing that across the country, particularly in the northern states, but also here now.”
North Carolina is at more than a 9% daily positivity rate with 63% of the population 12 years old and up fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.
Although Delta is the dominant variant in North Carolina right now, state health officials do not anticipate that to remain.
“It is my expectation that Omicron will start to take over,” Moore said. “I do expect that we are going to see more COVID over this winter.”
However, Moore says there is a way to celebrate the holiday season while still staying safe from infection.
“Life goes on. We’ve had just a really rough time and everyone needs to make those connections and be with the people that they love over the holidays. But there are ways to do that to keep you safe and keep them [safe].”
With the holidays just over one week away, Moore urges vaccination as the best protection against infection. He also recommends getting a booster shot if you are eligible.
“Make sure that you are using the masks, using the tests, that you’re doing what you can to limit the spread,” Moore said.
The NCDHHS has released new guidance for gathering safely for the holidays this year.