The combination of Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19 could cause 10,000 new cases a day by January, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference today (Tuesday).
“With holiday gatherings, COVID cases beginning to rise and a new highly contagious variant on the way, it’s important everyone takes steps to protect themselves and their families,” Cooper said. “With every vaccine dose, we get closer to turning the tide of sickness and death brought on by this pandemic.”
Cooper, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and incoming DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley urged vaccinations, boosters, and continued social distancing and masking as the two newest variants of the coronavirus grow in the state.
“Every major hospital system has seen Delta, and every day more are reporting Omicron,” Cohen said. “We are going into the winter with a new and highly contagious variant showing up in record numbers.
“This is a moment to act. We can keep people from becoming really sick and make sure there is hospital care for everyone who needs it. Early evidence shows that boosters provide a significant level of protection against Omicron,” Cohen said. “I urge everyone who has been vaccinated to get your booster soon as you are eligible. Getting a booster is particularly critical for people who are 65 and over or with underlying medical conditions.”
Cohen said that people who have had their first and second shots should get a booster, then get tested before attending holiday gatherings. She also urged that everyone use masks and maintain social distancing during any get-together. Kinsley concurred, and encouraged anyone showing symptoms to immediately see a doctor.
“Testing before you gather can help slow the spread of Omicron,” Kinsley said. “And if you test positive, quickly seeking out treatment can help reduce the risk of severe disease.”
Cooper also urged North Carolinians to log on to myspot.nc to find a testing or vaccination location. While tests are available for purchase in many pharmacies, supplies have been hit or miss in recent days, Kinsley said. Testing is available, for free, through a number of pharmacies and health care agencies.
For more information, go to ncdhhs.gov/gettested. Call the N.C. Vaccine Help Center at 888.675.4567 to make an appointment. It is open 7 a.m.–7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.–4 p.m. on weekends.
You can view the video of the press conference here