Jan 12, 2023 - COVID

COVID is on the rise again in Charlotte

Novant Health

Novant Health in Charlotte

COVID is on the rise again in the Charlotte area. Hospitalizations are up across the region, and there are more variants out there (including the subvariant XBB1.5) that are highly transmissible.

Driving the news: In recent weeks, Mecklenburg County has moved from the CDC’s medium COVID community level to high.

Why it matters: We’re in our third COVID winter. And like other parts of the country, the Charlotte area is facing a “tripledemic” of COVID, the flu and RSV. Combined, they could strain health care resources.

Yes, but: The latest COVID wave is not unexpected following the holiday season, when families traveled and gathered indoors, experts say. What’s more, immunity from infections and immunizations is waning.

  • “As viruses evolve, they often become more infectious and less severe in the disease they cause,” David Priest, Novant Health’s chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer, told reporters this week.

By the numbers: There are currently about 260 COVID patients hospitalized throughout the Novant system, up from around 100 in early December, per Priest. But those numbers pale in comparison to the 760 people hospitalized throughout Novant at this time last year.

  • Atrium Health could not provide current hospitalization numbers, but VP and enterprise chief epidemiologist Katie Passaretti says the number of COVID patients has been increasing.
  • Hospitalized COVID patients tend to be older, not up to date on their vaccinations or have an underlying chronic condition.

The number of severely ill COVID patients — on ventilators and in the ICU — remains manageable at area hospitals, Passaretti said.

Be smart: Stay home if you’re not feeling well. Find your nearest COVID vaccination center here. Retailers like CVS and Walgreens carry at-home tests, and you can order free tests online here.

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