NC coronavirus update December 17: 3 new COVID 19 omicron cases identified in North Carolina – WTVD-TV

RALEIGH, N.C. — Here’s the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.

4:35 p.m.
Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Raleigh Rehabilitation Center, 616 Wade Ave.

This is the facility’s fourth outbreak. The previous outbreaks occurred in June 2020, December 2020 and September 2021. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two or more people – residents or employees – testing positive for the virus. Because of the possibility for rapid spread of COVID-19 in long-term settings, NCDHHS shares guidance on the steps these facilities should take following an outbreak.

2:45 p.m.
Orange County has confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant.

The person is at home in isolation, has mild symptoms and is fully vaccinated but had not yet received a booster, the health department said.

There have been 344 new cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks in Orange County, compared to 190 in the previous two weeks.

Genomic sequencing was conducted at UNC Hospitals to determine that the case was caused by the Omicron variant.

“The first case of Omicron is a reminder of the importance of vaccination, boosters, andgeneral prevention strategiesneeded to protect against COVID-19,” said Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart. “Everyone 5 and older should get vaccinatedand boosters are recommended for everyone 16years and older.”

Three unrelated cases of the omicron variant were discovered in Pitt County, which is about an hour east of Raleigh.

Pitt County Health Department said holiday travel and activities brought the variant to Pitt County.

It’s not a surprise, since experts have said omicron appears to be highly contagious and will likely eventually become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

Pitt County is the second in North Carolina to report finding the omicron variant. Mecklenburg County identified a case earlier this week.

3:16 p.m.
One hundred three Marines have been discharged for refusing to take the COVID vaccine, the Marine Corps said Thursday, as the military services have begun to discharge a pool of possibly as many as 30,000 active duty service members who still refuse to be vaccinated — even after multiple opportunities to do so past vaccination deadlines.

In late August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered that the COVID vaccine become mandatory for all U.S. military personnel; until then it had been voluntary.

2:52 p.m.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said booster shots “may not protect much against infection, but … will go a long way to protect against severe disease.”

Fauci predicted data on COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 5 should be available early next year (first quarter 2022).

He also said the U.S. could be in for a difficult winter with the current Delta surge, and Omicron, but “You can enjoy the holiday season with your family if you’re vaccinated, and your family members are vaccinated”

1:14 p.m.
COVID-19 metrics continue to creep up in North Carolina as the weather gets colder and new variants emerge.

NCDHHS reported 4,165 new cases, about the same as last Thursday (4,153) and the highest since early October.

The daily percent positive stands at 7.5%, down from 9.1% the previous day.

The state reported 43 more people were hospitalized for a total of 1,604. That number is up from the previous two weeks and mirrors mid-October numbers.

NCDHHS also reported 29 new deaths for a total of 19,099 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for vaccinations, 62% of the full NC population is at least partially vaccinated as is 73% of the adult population.

Copyright © 2021 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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