Omicron variant making up a larger share of statewide COVID samples, NC health officials say

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — State public health leaders say the omicron variant of COVID-19 is becoming even more prevalent in North Carolina.

A weekly report released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services shows omicron making up 14 percent of sequenced viruses during the week that ended Dec. 18.

That’s roughly triple the rate from the previous week, when North Carolina health officials said omicron represented less than 5 percent of those sequenced viruses.

Even though the fast-spreading omicron is gaining ground fast, NCDHHS says the delta variant remains the most commonly circulating variant since late June.

That approximately follows the trend spotted in data from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sequencing lab, which says 22 percent of the viruses it checked for the Dec. 18 week were omicron, compared to 2.8 percent of those a week earlier.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says omicron made up 59 percent of the viruses it sequenced for the week ending Dec. 18.

For the week before, the CDC initially said 73 percent of those viruses were delta before revising it way down to 23 percent.

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