• 70°

Cooper warns of holiday COVID spread; no new restrictions announced

By Bryan Anderson, Associated Press/Report for America

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper advised residents to avoid traveling over the holidays, saying Tuesday that he would limit his Christmas gathering in Raleigh to immediate family members.

Speaking at a news conference, Cooper warned of increases in coronavirus spread similar to the one that occurred over Thanksgiving if people disregard public health guidelines. He did not add any new restrictions on gatherings or travel, however. Residents are currently limited to indoor parties of 10 or fewer people.

The Democratic governor pointed to rising case numbers, limited staffing capacities at hospitals and a rise in the share of tests coming back positive, though he said Tuesday that numbers have “plateaued” in recent weeks.

“This virus continues to spread quickly,” Cooper said. “Don’t get numb to these numbers. They have plateaued a bit over the last few weeks, but they are too high.”

All but eight of the North Carolina’s 100 counties are presently seeing substantial or critical levels of community spread.

The state reported on Tuesday that more than 3,000 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, the highest mark yet since the start of the pandemic.

According to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, more than 2,000 ICU beds are in use and over 400 are staffed and empty. More than 1,000 additional beds are either unstaffed or unreported.

North Carolina has consistently reported a daily positivity rate above 10% since Thanksgiving. The state saw a single-day increase of more than 5,200 cases on Tuesday. It is approaching 500,000 cases and 6,300 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The state also announced it has vaccinated more than 24,000 people in less than a week. The doses have largely gone to hospital workers in more urban areas that regularly come into contact with the virus as part of their work.

Mandy Cohen, the state’s top public health official, said her office is evaluating guidance from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel on vaccinations. The panel is urging states to prioritize people 75 years and older and essential frontline workers after health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. She said North Carolina plans to adjust its distribution plan to implement the suggestion.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

News

North Carolina House votes to bar abortions based on race, Down syndrome

Crime

Dozens charged, vehicles seized in North Carolina street racing crackdown

News

Elizabeth City curfew lifted two weeks after Andrew Brown shooting

News

House approves doing away with purchase permits to buy handgun

News

Frozen spaghetti with meat sauce recalled

News

Michael C. Silverman named new town manager for Nags Head

News

North Carolina bills seeking to preserve patient visitation advance

Business

Jennette’s Pier expands hours leading up to summer

News

Three serious fires in Kitty Hawk battled within 24-hour period

Lifestyles

Meet the winners of the Mutt Madness photo contest!

News

Household hazardous waste collections set at three locations in Dare

News

North Carolina criminal justice reform package approved by Senate committee

Business

Regulators approve 20-year extension of nuclear plant licenses

News

Cape Hatteras National Seashore night driving rules in place

News

North Carolina House ending COVID-19 proxy voting practice

Hyde

Ocracoke Fig Festival to host chef Vivian Howard

News

NCDMV suspends replacement of older license plates

News

North Carolina lawmakers to debate new abortion restrictions

Crime

Colington man arrested for felony drug and firearm charges

Schools

Tyrrell County Schools moves to in-person instruction on Wednesdays

Lifestyles

Theatre of Dare returns to in-person performances with ‘The Diaries of Adam & Eve’

News

Beaufort County woman scores $1 million prize on $10 scratch-off ticket

News

Dare commissioners have two meetings Monday

News

Kitty Hawk has budget discussion