JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – With COVID-19 restrictions relaxing, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reminding people the coronavirus is still an issue throughout the state. 

Health officials want to ensure people are being as safe as possible, especially with summer travel almost here. Dr. Susan Kansagra, the deputy state health officer for North Carolina, wants people to remember the tools available to help keep you and your loved ones safe from COVID-19 while traveling this summer.

Kansagra said a majority of the recent COVID-19 cases have been the Omicron BA-2 strain.

“As of one or two weeks ago, we were around 85%,” said Kansagra. “I suspect right now we are almost overwhelmingly all BA-2, that is likely what we’re seeing in North Carolina at this point in time.”

It’s an issue Kansagra said is larger than some may think.

“BA-2 is more transmissible than the last strain, meaning it is more easily spread,” said Kansagra.

However, with resources available, people can help protect themselves from the disease.

“We’re still seeing protective effects, especially against severe disease and hospitalization with the tools that we have right now,” said Kansagra. “Vaccines and boosters, and some of that immunity we’ve built over the last several waves, so you know, that is good news there.”

Victoria Reyes, community relations officer for the Onslow County Health Department, added there are resources to make sure you’re following COVID guidelines as you travel.

“The CDC does have on their COVID data tracker, you can kind of pinpoint county level and see what the county might be experiencing,” said Reyes. “You might be doing some traveling here soon. You can look at county-specific and see what their precautions are or restrictions are and you can kind of tailor your travel.”

The Onslow County Health Department added that people should listen to their bodies if they are feeling sick before going on any vacations.

To find the CDC COVID data tracker, click here.