RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) –As the world is figuring out more about the new COVID omicron variant, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says he does not expect to implement any new coronavirus related restrictions in the state.
Though scientists haven’t determined yet if the omicron variant can lead to more serious infections or get around current vaccines, it’s believed to be more contagious than prior versions of the virus.
On Monday, President Joe Biden called the variant a cause for concern, but not for panic, and encouraged more people to get vaccinated or get a booster vaccination. Cooper echoed that sentiment.
“Thanks to remarkable covid-19 vaccines and the millions of North Carolinians who got them, families and friends were able to gather more safely this year, sharing hugs and good food,” said Cooper. “Getting more people vaccinated is the way out of this pandemic. If you haven’t been vaccinated and you’re worried about the omicron variant, get your shot today. If you want to make your Christmas gathering safer, get your shot today.”
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told WNCN that they’re still learning more about the variant. They said vaccination remains the best protection in the meantime.
On Monday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also announced her departure from her role with the department.
In the announcement, Cohen said that her time with the department has been “an honor of a lifetime” serving the state of North Carolina at such an important time in history.
“It’s been an amazing five years but these have been challenging,” said Cohen. “So a bit of rest and recovery is what’s in store for me next as I think about my next opportunity. There wasn’t one moment, but it felt like the team is very strong right now at DHHS. I feel like they can take the baton and run with it for the next leg of the race.”
“I am grateful for Governor Cooper’s leadership, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished to improve the health and well-being of the state over the last five years. There is much work still to do, and I am so pleased the Governor selected Kody Kinsley to take the baton to run the next leg of this race.”
Cohen was appointed as the NCDHHS secretary by Gov. Cooper in January 2017 and has led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kody Kinsley, chief deputy secretary for Health at DHHS, will take over Cohen’s position on Jan. 1, 2022.
The NCDHHS released its latest coronavirus statistics on Tuesday.
Daily COVID-19 cases in the state are down with 1,755 new cases being reported in the last 24 hours.
Current hospitalizations are slightly up compared to the previous week with 1,132 patients currently hospitalized in North Carolina due to the virus. So far, COVID-19 has taken 18,740 lives in North Carolina.
Overall, the state has reported 1,534,005 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The state’s daily positivity rate is at 9.4%.
Local Counties Metrics:
Gates 1,137 – 18 deaths
Bertie 2,547 – 53 deaths
Camden 1,226 – 8 deaths
Chowan 2,370 – 43 deaths
Currituck 3,017 – 27 deaths
Dare 4,125 – 15 deaths
Hertford 2,900 – 72 deaths
Pasquotank 5,523 – 108 deaths
Perquimans 1,689 – 15 deaths
Percent of Adult Population Partially Vaccinated: 72%
Percent of Adult Population Fully Vaccinated: 68%