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Governor Roy Cooper today issued Executive Order No. 135, extending North Carolina’s Stay At Home order through May 8. The orders extend closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars, and closure of other close-contact businesses are also extended through May 8.
Governor Cooper shared details about North Carolina’s plan to lift restrictions in three phases, once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction.
“The health and safety of people in North Carolina must be our top priority,” Cooper said. “This plan provides a roadmap for us to begin easing restrictions in stages to push our economy forward.”
Last week, Governor Cooper laid out the path forward centered on three things: testing, tracing and trends. Today, Governor Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared more specifics on those key metrics. The Stay At Home and other orders are extended today because North Carolina has not yet seen a downward trajectory of those metrics needed to begin gradually lifting restrictions.
“North Carolina cannot stay at home indefinitely,” added Governor Cooper. “We have to get more people back to work. Right now, the decision to stay at home is based on the public health data and White House guidance. North Carolina needs more time to slow the spread of this virus before we can safely begin lifting restrictions. I know that this pandemic has made life difficult for many people in our state and I am focused on keeping our communities safe while planning to slowly lift restrictions to help cushion the blow to our economy.”
“Data has driven our decisions, starting with the aggressive measures Governor Cooper took early on to slow the spread of COVID-19. Those actions combined with North Carolinians’ resolve to stay home to protect their loved ones have put our state on the right path. If we stick to these efforts right now we will continue to see a slowing of virus spread and we can slowly begin easing restrictions,” said Secretary Cohen.
A detailed look at where North Carolina stands on testing, tracing and trends. The metrics that North Carolina is considering aligns with the White House guidance for Opening Up American Again.
In order to begin lifting restrictions, North Carolina needs to see progress in these key metrics:
Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
In addition to these metrics, the state will continue building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These include:
Governor Cooper also shared information about how North Carolina can gradually re-open over three phases to prevent hot spots of viral spread while also beginning to bring our economy back. These phases are based on the best information available now, but could be altered as new information emerges.
In Phase 1:
At least 2-3 weeks after Phase 1
At least 4-6 weeks after Phase 2
Governor Cooper and Dr. Cohen both underscored the need for the testing, tracing and trends to move in the right direction for each of these phases to move forward. If there is a spike in infections, tightening of restrictions may be needed temporarily.
Information about K-12 public schools will be released tomorrow (April 24) during the next briefing.