COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hitting All-Time Highs; Health Officials Urge Vaccination

RALEIGH – North Carolina experienced the largest single day jump in hospital ICU admissions since the beginning of the pandemic. Weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations among people ages 20-49 are at an all-time high.

ICU admissions related to COVID-19 jumped to 557 Monday from 502 the day prior. From Aug. 3 through Aug. 9, there were 547 people ages 20-49 admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19. Overall, 2,179 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 272 people admitted in the past 24 hours, according to data reported to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

“These high-levels of COVID-related admissions jeopardize the ability of our hospitals to provide needed care in our communities,” said Kody H. Kinsley, Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS. “The vast majority of our COVID-19 hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people. This underscores the need for everyone to be vaccinated against the virus and use preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Eric Eskioglu, Novant Health’s chief medical and scientific officer, said the health system is on track to match or exceed the surge of COVID-19 cases they saw in their hospitals in January.

“Unfortunately, we have more than a 1,000% increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions today compared to just three weeks ago,” he said. “The average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is also 44, down from 61 in January. More than 90% of patients hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated and they are sicker than the patients we saw during earlier surges. Entire families are presenting in our emergency rooms for COVID testing. This surge is still preventable. I urge and plead with everyone to get vaccinated now.”

Due to the highly contagious Delta variant, North Carolina’s other key COVID-19 metrics are also increasing, including the percent of tests that are positive — which has been over 10% for the past week. There have been 31,036 cases reported over the past seven days compared to 19,911 cases in the preceding seven days — a 56% increase — and hospitalizations have more than doubled since July 27 and are at the highest they have been since Feb. 11, 2021.In addition, the CDC’s Community Transmission Map shows nearly all North Carolina counties are experiencing substantial to high community transmission.

In addition to getting vaccinated, NCDHHS recommends everyone wear a mask in indoor public spaces if you live in area of high or substantial levels of transmission as defined by the CDC until more people are vaccinated and viral transmission decreases. In North Carolina that is now 98 of 100 counties.

To find a vaccine in your area, use the Find a Vaccine Location tool at MySpot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567. You can also text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near you.