CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After months of declining COVID-19 cases, North Carolina is starting to see a resurgence in the virus.
With the highly contagious delta variant circulating across the country and growing its presence, including in the Carolinas, and the Fourth of July holiday bringing more people together, health officials had said it would be likely the state would see a bump in the metrics.
Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant Health, said the rise in coronavirus spread was "inevitable" with delta out there and more people gathering.
"As people get together who are unvaccinated, there's going to be some risk of cases," Priest said. "If we want to avoid these situations, the more people vaccinated, the better, and we hope people don't wait on a personal tragedy before they decide to do it."
The latest data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) shows six straight days of above-average cases, with the trendline up about 50% from its most recent low at the beginning of the month.
The state's positive test rate is rising again too. While it is at 3.1% over the last two weeks, which is under state health officials' goal of 5%, the rate has risen from around 2% in a matter of three weeks.
However, the most recent change in the trends can be seen in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The average patient count started to rise around the end of last week.
While the change is subtle now, Priest noted it would be important to watch for any increases in hospitalizations following the Fourth of July holiday. At last check, close to 450 people are getting hospital treatment, statewide, for the virus.
NCDHHS wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 shows particular growth in the virus's presence in the areas of Raleigh, New Hanover County, South Durham, and Wilmington City.
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, the delta variant makes up about 12% of the state's most recent cases. However, that estimate was from mid-June, and based on the variant's continual growth, it is likely that it makes up a larger share by now. The CDC has confirmed, nationwide, delta is already the most prevalent strain of the virus.
The rise in the metrics and the growing presence of delta is heightening the call for vaccinations.
In Mecklenburg County, health officials began a door-to-door vaccination campaign Monday called "Doses to Doors." The goal is to boost vaccination rates in the county by providing accurate information about the vaccine and making it easier to get.
NCDHHS reports 43% of the state population is fully vaccinated.