(GDN) — The COVID-19 variant known as “omicron” is likely heading for a town near you.
At Tuesday’s media briefing, Gov. Roy Cooper says it’s a stark reminder that North Carolina hasn’t defeated the pandemic.
Cooper says getting more people vaccinated remains the way out of the pandemic.
The governor says 13% of the state’s eligible children have already received their initial dose of the COVID vaccine.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says the state has seen a slight increase in COVID cases in recent weeks.
Dr. Cohen says experts agree the omicron variant is likely already in North Carolina.
Cohen says there are still questions about the omicron variant, but she says there is no need for alarm yet.
Also on Tuesday, it was announced Dr. Cohen would be stepping down from her role leading the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Gov. Cooper says the state has benefited greatly from Dr. Cohen’s leadership, especially during the pandemic.
To date, North Carolina has recorded 18,740 coronavirus-related deaths.
There have been over 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed in North Carolina since the pandemic began.