CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new strain the COVID-19 variant is spreading across the country. New data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed cases are on the rise in North Carolina.
According to NCDHHS, over the last two months, wastewater collection has shown an uptick in COVID-19 particles. Elizabeth Tilson, state health director for NCDHHS, said while there has been an uptick in cases, it's to a lesser degree from a few years back.
"We are seeing an uptick in our emergency department and hospital use as well," Tilson said. “The good news is we are in a very good place with COVID with where we are now from a few years ago.”
Tilson said there are a few reasons why we are seeing more cases.
"If you go back and look, in the summer we have a surge," Tilson said. "Second we have an introduction of new variants.”
She said the biggest reason for the increase in cases comes down to waning immunity.
“People are further away from their last vaccine or prior infections," Tilson said.
NCDHHS said a new booster will be rolled out at the end of September, which will help protect people from the newest variant. WCNC Charlotte has learned some insurance companies have dropped COVID-19 vaccines and boosters from its coverage policies. This drop could make it more difficult for people to get the shot.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to CVS Pharmacy regarding this drop in coverage. The company sent WCNC Charlotte's Austin Walker a statement.
"COVID-19 vaccines are covered under most health insurance plans. The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost to patients with most insurance plans and is currently available at no cost for the uninsured."
Tilson echoed this sentiment.
“There is still some supply coming through DHHS from the federal government," Tilson said.