Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends.
North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.
“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” the governor said. “Wearing a mask shows you care about people. Wearing a mask is an easy way to protect our communities and look out for each other. Confronting the virus head on and doing our part as individuals is good for our health and good for our economy.”
Also today, Cooper provided an update on progress with the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since he announced the HOPE Program last week, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.
“As the number of applications climbs higher every day, it should make us remember that it’s more than a number. Every one of those applications represents a family having to make impossible choices between basic necessities during a global pandemic,” Cooper said.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen and Secretary of Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks on Tuesday sent a letter to local officials in communities with increased viral spread urging their continued action in fighting COVID-19 and suggesting additional measures to mitigate its spread. Read more about that letter HERE.
“We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. This simple fact is we can’t do it on our own. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away – just the opposite,” Cohen said. “As hard as this is, it will end. We will get through this. Let’s do it by looking out for one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is level.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing but is lower than it was during the last time North Carolina’s cases were at their peak in July.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention:
♦ Laboratory Testing: Testing capacity is high.
♦ Tracing Capability: The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments. There have been almost 250,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.
♦ Personal Protective Equipment: North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
Read Executive Order 170.