Covid-19 cases rise again, new variant in Mecklenbrug

Covid numbers have begun to rise again and a new variant is in Mecklenburg County, according to Novant Health.

The variant, dubbed as XXB 1.5, is more contagious, but is less severe, David Priest, Novant’s Chief Safety, Quality and Epidemiology Officer, said Monday.

Local numbers aren’t readily available, but could be hard to pinpoint because symptoms are similar to the common cold. 

“If you have cold symptoms or you have fever or respiratory things, just stay home from work or school,” Priest said. “That’s the best thing to do.” 

In December, Centers for Disease Control data showed XBB 1.5 accounted for around 1% of infections nationwide. That number has grown to 28% in the second week of January, becoming a dominant strain in North Carolina, according to Priest.

Peaking numbers

Novant Health currently has about 260 people hospitalized with Covid, an uptick that Priest credits to the holiday season.  

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