People in the state of North Carolina no longer think morning, day and night about the threat of COVID-19.

But there are state health officials in Raleigh who still do so as part of their job – and, on Tuesday, April 13, that group of health officials in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) put out a new report of some things state residents need to know for the pandemic that’s still lingering around.

Here are some key takeaways from the report released this week:

  • There’s been a slight increase in reported COVID-19 cases in North Carolina; however, there thankfully was a decrease in hospital admissions from the virus last week. Many health experts attribute the fall in hospital admissions to the protections offered by vaccines as well as offered by people having contracted COVID-19 before. They also point out that the medical community now has a better understanding of the disease as well as more effective treatments once someone contracts it.
  • COVID-19-related emergency room visits in the state have remained “steady” from this week to last. This is one of the metrics the state uses to gauge the severity of infections.
  • There are currently “Medium” to “Low” levels of community risk in all North Carolina counties. That’s very good news because, at the height of the pandemic, nearly all counties in the state were “red” – that is, they had a high level of community risk.
  • As can be expected – and as is true across the country – most of the cases that are sequenced are now found to be the new strain: “Omicron BA.2.”

On the vaccination front, things are moving slowly due to low demand from people who believe they don’t need another booster shot – as well as those who never thought they needed a shot in the first place.

Here’s how the current numbers shake out:

  • 52 percent of the population in the state has been vaccinated and has had at least one booster or additional dose.
  • 76 percent of the adult population in North Carolina has been vaccinated with at least one dose.
  • 38 percent of children and teens have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

Also, while mask usage in most parts of the state is no longer required, this week flyers discovered that the rules requiring masks on airplanes and in airports have been extended.