People are walking around without masks, and family members are hugging each other again – but that doesn’t mean that the state’s regular COVID-19 updates have come to a halt. 

On Thursday, July 8, state health officials, in the form of a coronavirus update, sent a reminder the COVID-19 is still out there.

The good news is that the number of cases is down significantly these days; the bad news is that the number of cases isn’t zero.  In the July 8 daily update, state health officials announced that there had been 630 newly reported cases of the virus in North Carolina that day.  In early January when new cases numbers were peaking, there were days when the state was seeing over 10,000 new cases a day.  In early December 2020, the state was finding about 5,000 new cases a day.

The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus is also much lower than it has been throughout the course of the pandemic.  State and county health officials have had a goal of getting and keeping that number at or below 5 percent.  In the July 8 report, the percent positive rate was 3.4 percent.

Likewise, hospitalizations in the state are down as well.  Many of the state residents over 65 have gotten vaccinated – 82 percent of that age group – and that’s helped bring down coronavirus hospitalizations since the elderly and those with significant health conditions are more likely to be hospitalized.

As of July 8, there were 410 people hospitalized in North Carolina for the virus.  That, of course, is 410 too many for health officials. However, it works out to an average of four people per county, and therefore, the disease isn’t putting the same strain on hospitals in the state that it was before.

State officials are still encouraging residents to get vaccinated in every daily report that comes out.  As of July 8, 56 percent of adults in North Carolina had been vaccinated at least partially, while 53 percent had been fully vaccinated.