‘Ninja variant’ of Omicron blamed for rise in COVID-19 cases across Charlotte, N.C.
Health officials said the best protection against severe illness is vaccines and booster shots.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina is closely tracking COVID-19 cases as they trend upward again.
Health experts are pointing the blame at the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which some call the ninja variant.
A map from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services shows that in the last week, 18 counties are in orange, which is considered “high risk” when it comes to the coronavirus.
Mecklenburg County and most counties in the WBTV viewing area are yellow, the “medium risk” category.
Dr. Katie Passaretti with Atrium Health says the new variant is the primary strain of COVID-19 in the Charlotte area. Those fully vaccinated can get it, as well as those who have had COVID-19 before.
Still, health officials said the best protection against severe illness is vaccines and booster shots.
“The reason we are not seeing as steep of an uptick in hospitalizations as we’ve seen in the past is because our vaccines are doing a better job at protecting us from severe disease,” Passaretti said.
The doctor added that vaccines are being developed to target Omicron variants, with hopes of releasing them in the fall.
The Food and Drug Administration just authorized Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in adults.
Related: US regulators OK new COVID-19 shot option from Novavax
Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off, it’ll be the fourth vaccine on the markets.
Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.