By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on July 28, 2020
On a day when the numbers tracking the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina showed some signs of “stabilizing,” Gov. Roy Cooper announced an Executive Order that mandates an 11 p.m. curfew on the sale of alcohol in restaurants. The Order also applies to breweries, wineries and distilleries, and bars in the state remain closed. The curfew will take effect on Friday, July 31.
“We want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours,” said Cooper at a July 28 media briefing. Noting that bars are venues for COVID-19 transmission, the governor added that, “We’re getting some reports about restaurants that are essentially turning into bars later at night,” with more mingling and less social distancing.
Cooper added that Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) and the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Commission would have the authority to enforce the Order and potentially revoke liquor licenses. Cooper characterized the alcohol curfew as part of an effort to “double down” on efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, efforts that may be starting to show some success.
Stating that “some of our metrics are showing early signs of stabilizing,” North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen talked about some of the key trends monitoring the virus’ trajectory in the state at the briefing. The number of individuals showing up in emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms, an early indicator of possible infections, has starting to level in the past two weeks, she said, adding that the number lab-reported COVID-19 cases is also “leveling in the past fourteen days.” The percentage of positive tests out of all COVID-19 tests administered, while still higher than the desired 5% goal, has also dropped recently from about 10% to about 8%.
The one notable outlier in these somewhat encouraging trends is the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state — and a new record high was reported on July 28 with 1,244 people in the hospital. But Cohen characterized that as a “lagging indicator,” meaning hospitalizations follow infection by days, if not by several weeks. She also indicated that the state still has “capacity” for more patients in its hospitals.
While generally expressing a cautious wait-and-see attitude toward the stabilizing numbers, Cohen asserted that she did “see a direct correlation [between that stabilization] and the start of the statewide mask requirement in June.” Cooper announced that face covering mandate on June 24.
What’s new today: Record number of hospitalizations reported. (See most recent Today’s NC coronavirus numbers for interactive charts)
Note: Every morning, the NC Department of Health and Human Services posts updates o number of reported cases of coronavirus. That number reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all hospital and commercial labs. There may be other reports, from the media and elsewhere, that will include different numbers during a given day, but this is an effective way of tracking numbers from the same source on a day-to-day basis.
SOURCE: NC DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES