Boone Town Hall Closes As COVID-19 Cases Surge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Town offices in Boone, North Carolina have closed for one week after an outbreak of COVID-19.  The notice was posted on the Town’s social media pages. Employees are working remotely until offices reopen.

The outbreak comes amid a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 infections.  Doctors with Atrium Health say hospitalizations in the Charlotte area are back on the rise, but not at the level of last year’s post holiday surge.  Doctors attribute the rise in cases to the new XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant.  Doctors say it’s more transmissible but the symptoms are less severe than previous COVID-19 strains, like the Delta variant that had hospital ICUs overflowing.

“Our hospitalization numbers are increased but certainly not increased to the level we saw last year, ” said Dr. Katie Passaretti, Atrium Health. “We are about 35-40 percent of where we were this time last year just for context.”

Doctors say symptoms of the new subvariant include fever, runny nose, congestion, soar throat and sometimes loss of taste or smell.

“These subvariants have different characteristics. So we have seen associated with recent increase in cases, increased numbers of variants that are more transmissible, and more immune evasive i.e. you are not as protected from prior infection or especially a more distant vaccination as you were in the past,” said Dr. Passaretti.

People at high risk of COVID-19 complications are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded public spaces.

“I do think there is a role for masking out in the community to try to protect those at highest risk in those high risk situations,” said Dr. Passaretti.