ASHEVILLE, NC – May 24, 2023 – The U.S. public health emergency for COVID-19 infection ended on May 11th even though the virus is still here. However, more and more Americans have developed some immunity to this disease from immunizations and previous infection. New variants continue to infect people with the most at-risk groups more susceptible to severe illness.
The end of the public health emergency signifies changes in data reporting by the federal and state government. Both websites will tabulate data for COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, emergency department visits and wastewater evaluation. Wastewater monitoring can be used to provide early warning for COVID outbreaks in a community because the wastewater trends have historically mirrored the case counts.
The national COVID-19 metrics are on the CDC’s COVID Dashboard. Data from the week ending on May 13th indicate:
- Hospital admissions are at a low level in every county in North Carolina and almost 99% of the counties in the U.S. Buncombe County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased from last week.
- The number of weekly deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. has decreased by 11.8% from the previous week.
- Emergency room visits for COVID-19 are minimal in North Carolina
Buncombe County COVID-19 metrics are on the North Carolina COVID Dashboard. The Buncombe County wastewater data for the week ending on May 10th indicate that:
- The number of viral gene copies in each water sample is at a light blue level representing the 2nd out of 5 groups, where the 1st group is the lowest level of virus and the 5th group is the highest level of virus
- The number of viral gene copies in each water sample has decreased by 10-99% over the past 15 days.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants everyone to know that:
- COVID-19 can affect different people differently. Some people have mild symptoms like a cold and others have more severe symptoms like a bad case of the flu. It can harm other parts of the body too. Some effects can be long-lasting.
- Older adults and immunocompromised people are at a higher risk of developing severe illness and being hospitalized. The CDC recommends that people in these groups get an updated COVID-19 bivalent booster because it gives the best protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from the new variants.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
- Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines
- For extra protection, wear an efficient medical grade mask
- People who are positive for COVID-19 or do not feel well should stay home
- People with any COVID symptoms should get tested
- If you test positive, see your doctor because your doctor may recommend medical treatment
Listen to the full report below:
Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com