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The Charlotte Observer: The governor gives North Carolina a final warning on COVID-19

Last Monday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the state’s mandate involving face masks. As local hospitals and healthcare workers are strained, the new order requires people to wear a mask while they’re exercising, whether that’s inside or not, at a restaurant table unless they are actively eating or drinking, along with other requirements.

The executive order went into effect on Nov. 25, and runs through 5 p.m. Friday, December 11. This comes as hospitalizations across the state has hit a new high — emphasizing the need for stronger steps to prevent the spread of the virus. 

From The Charlotte Observer:

“We are in danger,” he said.

He’s right. North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics are rising at alarming rates, including hospitalizations and percentage of positive tests, which moved back above the important 5% threshold. It’s why this board said last week that Cooper should be more aggressive with protective measures, as governors near and far have in the face of COVID surges.

Make no mistake: behavior matters. Several of North Carolina’s red and rural counties, where resistance to COVID-19 measures has been strongest, are experiencing a different kind of red — “critical community spread” on North Carolina’s new county alert COVID-19 map.

Urban counties like Mecklenburg and Wake, which bowed to restrictions earlier, are largely in lesser stages of COVID urgency. Vigilance will be critical for all in the days ahead as colder weather pushes people inside. “The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

In November, state health officials found rural counties were reporting nearly twice as many new cases as urban and suburban ones. And rural deaths tied to COVID-19 also have been climbing significantly, according to WUNC.

As of today, almost 367,395 people in the state have tested positive for the virus and 2,003 hospitalizations, according to the state.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper has filled the void left by Trump’s lack of leadership and mismanagement of the country’s coronavirus response. As Republican leaders continue to ignore health and science experts, we cannot let the health of vulnerable populations, Black and Brown communities, and our neighbors be compromised — we must continue to practice safe distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask. 

Bottom Line: As Cameron Wolfe, MD, an infectious diseases specialist with Duke Health said, “When all of us wear masks, we protect each other. Wearing a mask is not just about keeping ourselves safe, it’s about keeping everyone safe — at work, in the community, and at home”.

Find a nearby COVID-19 testing site location here.

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Alanna Joyner