Cooper urges North Carolinians to stay vigilant, says state may move into Phase I next week

Published 5:48 pm Thursday, April 30, 2020

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At a media conference Thursday, April 30, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper said “we remain hopeful that the trends will be stable enough to move into Phase 1 next week.”

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, provided updated information on the metrics that will determine whether the state moves to the governor’s Phase 1:

– Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days. Currently, North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is level over past 14 days, but has been on an uptick over the past seven days, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

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– Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days cases is still increasing. On Thursday, the total new cases were 561, North Carolina’s highest single day report of the pandemic.

– Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over the last 14 days is decreasing.

– Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days: Currently, North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations over the last 14 days is largely level. The number hospitalized in the state is 546 persons on April 30. The number fell by five people between Wednesday and Thursday.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

– Increase in Laboratory Testing: North Carolina has surpassed 4,000 tests for the last 6 of 9 days with 6,000 tests reported April 29.

– Increase in Tracing Capability: NC DHHS announced the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, a new partnership with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) to double the state’s current contact tracing capabilities. The collaborative has started recruiting for these positions.

– Availability of Personal Protective Equipment: The state has a 30-day supply of most personal protective equipment, except for gowns and N95 masks.

The governor’s decision will be based on a combination of the trends.

“We need everyone to continue following the Stay At Home order right now so that we can move to the next phases of easing restrictions. Complacency could risk lives and undo these plans,” added Cooper.

The governor’s stay at home order expires Friday, May 8. What follows is how Phase 1 was initially described:

– Modify the Stay At Home order to allow travel not currently defined as essential allowing people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware stores and other retailers.

– Ensure that any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation.

– Continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

– Reopen parks that have been closed subject to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.

– Continue to recommend face coverings in public spaces when 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible

– Encourage employers to continue teleworking policies.

– Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings.

– Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures may remain in place.

To view the graphs and slides presented at the briefing, CLICK HERE.



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