By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on November 23, 2020
Using some of his most ominous language to date to describe the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the state, Governor Roy Cooper today issued a new Executive Order toughening the mask wearing requirements and raised the specter of re-imposing some restrictions if necessary. Mincing no words, Cooper opened the Nov. 23 COVID briefing by declaring that, “I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today. We are in danger.”
He described the state as being in “pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus…This is deadly serious.”Echoing those sentiments, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen asserted that, “Our state-wide metrics and County Alert maps show we are on very shaky ground.”
According to a release from Cooper’s office, the new Executive Order, which runs through Dec. 11, “tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.”
“The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.”
Cooper also addressed the question of what might happen if the increasing spread of the virus could not be halted. “We don’t want to go backwards” in terms of re-imposing of old restrictions, he said. “But we will if we have to.”
The next 7-14 days will be critical, he added: “We want to give this a little more time to see if we can stem the tide of these numbers.”
Update: Dare County reported 5 new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 23, continuing its three-day streak of relatively few cases. After a dramatic increase in cases in the past few weeks, the county has now reported a total of only 14 cases in the last three days.
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
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