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NC coronavirus update December 22: Duke University launches spring semester with virtual classes only in light of the COVID 19 climb

RALEIGH, NC – Here’s the latest news and information on COVID-19 and covid-19 vaccines.

Duke University announced that it would move all classes off campus to begin the spring semester.

A message sent on Wednesday to all students, faculties and staff cited “rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19” as the reason why the teaching would be held practically in January.

Currently, all classes from 5.-8. January be virtual. Personal instruction for most classes is expected to resume on January 10, but it is possible that some classes will remain remote.

President Joe Biden plans to announce on Tuesday that his administration will distribute 500 million free home tests to Americans from January to combat the growing omicron variant.

Americans will be able to request the tests through a website that will be launched next month, and they will be delivered by mail.

Rapid home tests are also known as antigen tests. They are looking for antigens, or proteins from the coronavirus.

This is different from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are considered the “gold standard”[ads1]; for COVID-19 testing. They are looking for genetic material from the virus.

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Travel rush is underway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Wednesday is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the week at RDU. During the two-week holiday period, RDU expects to see around 500,000 people travel through the airport – with the busiest day on Thursday.

Passengers are encouraged to use the online parking reservation system at least 24 hours before arrival.

Meanwhile, Wake County’s website is up and running again today after being down for several hours on Tuesday.

Officials said a system update caused the power outage. Thousands of people were still able to use a solution to schedule COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments.

To book appointments you can go to the booking pages for testing here and vaccinations and boosters here.

Experts suggest that everyone gather with large groups this holiday season to be tested for COVID-19 before and after the gathering.

Anyone outside of Wake County can check out this website to find a free COVID-19 test center near you.

Test kits at home are also for sale in pharmacies all over the country. However, these test kits have flown off the shelves. Many pharmacies have even set limits on the number of test kits that can be purchased.

Wake County said that from 5:15 p.m., the website is up and running again.

The county said a software update caused a temporary breach around 9:30 p.m.

“Shortly after the site went down, we were able to share direct links to the popular COVID-19 sites so that the public could immediately continue to plan COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments. Despite the site issues, 6475 test appointments were made or changed from 2.30pm today, “a spokesman said.

She added that 763 people were able to make or change vaccination appointments from 2.30pm despite the temporary shutdown

The appointment planner can be reached 24 hours a day at – the website also shows other free test sites in Wake County, as well as a link to order free test kits at home that can be stayed overnight at your home. Make your test plans in advance if you travel or gather during the holidays. Test appointments can be made seven days in advance.

“Testing and vaccinations could continue today without major interruptions, and the results of testing will continue to be reversed in less than 12 hours,” the spokesman said. “It is still available to schedule both vaccination and test appointments tomorrow before the holiday season.

Wake County Public Health has confirmed the outbreak of COVID-19 at the following facilities:

Wake Assisted Living Memory Care at 2800 Kidd Road in Raleigh. This is the plant’s third outbreak. The previous outbreaks occurred in July 2020 and August 2021.

UNC Rex Rehabilitation Center at 4210 Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh. This is the plant’s fifth outbreak. The previous outbreaks occurred in June 2020, November 2020, May 2021 and September 2021.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two or more people – residents or employees – testing positive for the virus.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports 2,894 new cases of COVID-19.

This brings the total number of cases to 1,602,489

One week ago, 1,932 cases were added. This time last year, however, 4,470 were reported.

The daily percentage positive has climbed to 10.3%. This is the first time at over 10% in three months since 26 September.

There are 1,682 inhabitants hospitalized and 16 new deaths were reported for a total of 19,183.

In total, 73% of the adult population is at least partially vaccinated and 69% of adults are fully vaccinated.

People trying to reach an agreement to run COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in Wake County hit a roadblock when the county’s main site crashed.

To book appointments, you can still access the booking pages for testing here and vaccinations and boosters here.

The outage occurred during routine updates of the site, county officials said.

The problem occurred at a critical time when health authorities are encouraging people to be tested and vaccinated or boosted before traveling and gathering for the Christmas holidays.

At all five of Wake County’s test sites, there were still more than 8,000 appointments available throughout the rest of the week leading up to Christmas.
It seems that people are following the warning to add the extra layer of protection with a booster dose as well.

As of Tuesday, Wake County had 1,180 vaccine appointments planned, 860 – or 73% of those – were for booster shots.

Compare that with a week ago when 655 vaccine appointments were ordered with 285 – or almost 44% of them – being booster appointments.

– Reporting by ABC11’s Andrea Blanford

An ABC News analysis of federal and state data found that since July, there has been an acceleration in the number of groundbreaking coronavirus cases, and thus in individuals who test positive after being fully vaccinated.

CDC data, taken from more than two dozen states, show that between April and November, a total of 1.8 million breakthrough cases and more than 16,700 breakthrough deaths were registered. In comparison, at least 5.8 million unvaccinated Americans in these selected states had tested positive, and just under 64,000 unvaccinated Americans had died in the same time period.

State-level data obtained by ABC News from 41 states – stretching to December – reflect findings from federal data that although the acceleration trend in breakthrough infections has continued over the past two months, the percentage of fully vaccinated Americans who have experienced a breakthrough is still low.

Data show that between January and December, approximately 1.37% of the fully vaccinated have experienced a breakthrough infection, 0.05% of the fully vaccinated have had to be hospitalized, 0.01% of the fully vaccinated have died of COVID-19.

Breakthrough infections, captured by available data, have continued to be mainly associated with the Delta variant. However, as concerns increase about the potential effect of the Omicron variant, preliminary data suggest that the new variant may be more likely to cause infections among vaccinated individuals.

Copyright © 2021 ABC11-WTVD-TV / DT. All rights reserved – Associated Press contributed to this report.

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