By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on March 25, 2020
Opening his 2 p.m. March 25 briefing with the news that North Carolina had recorded its first two COVID-19 deaths, a somber Governor Roy Cooper indicted that the state will soon be implementing new guidelines and restrictions to counter the spread of the virus.
Cooper described one person who succumbed to the virus as someone in their late 70’s with underlying medical conditions, and the other as a Virginia resident in their 60’s who took ill while traveling through North Carolina.
March 25 also marked the day that Dare County reported its first COVID-19 case, a person described as doing well in self-isolation who contracted the disease either through travel or direct contact, but not through community spread.
State officials now say there are 504 reported cases in the state, with 29 people hospitalized as a result of the virus.
Addressing the idea of implementing further restrictions in order to slow the spread of the disease, Cooper said, “We are in the process of working on additional guidelines and restrictions” that will be announced soon. And in response to a question about why he hadn’t yet issued a “shelter in place” order to state residents, Cooper added: “We’re telling people now that we want them to stay home.”
That sentiment was echoed by Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, who urged the public to “Please hear our request today to maximize your social distancing.”
When asked by a reporter if the state could now project when the virus and hospitalizations would peak in North Carolina, Cohen said that modeling work is still ongoing, with no answer currently available. She did note, however, that generally speaking, North Carolina was later than a number of states in recording its first case and later in recording its 100th case. That she said, suggested “a trajectory that is lower than what we’ve seen in other states.”