Governor extends Safer At Home Phase 2, adds statewide requirement for face coverings

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Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced Wednesday afternoon that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks. Cooper also announced that face coverings must be worn when people are in public places as officials seek to stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread. 

Cooper and Cohen were joined by Dennis Taylor, President of the North Carolina Nurses Association and Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health.

“North Carolina is relying on the data and the science to lift restrictions responsibly, and right now our increasing numbers show we need to hit the pause button while we work to stabilize our trends,” said Cooper. “We need to all work together so we can protect our families and neighbors, restore our economy, and get people back to work and our children back to school.” 

“I know North Carolinians are strong, resilient and care deeply about our communities. We pride ourselves on helping our neighbors. The best way we can do that now is by taking the simple action of wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. If we each do our part, we can get back to the people and places we love,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary.

Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Until now, face coverings had been strongly recommended. Under today’s executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible. 

In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the governor’s cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.

In Macon County, as of Tuesday, 262 cases were recorded, with 181 active cases and 80 being found to have recovered. Emily Ritter with Macon County Public Health said 100 people have been retested. 

“We are following CDC guidance to move cases from active to recovered.  Each patient is different, with a variety of symptoms and conditions, and is assessed by our communicable disease staff and our Medical Director to identify the appropriate steps to determine recovered status.  Some cases may not need re-testing after the 14-day period.  Others may warrant two negative tests.  It is handled on a case by case basis,” said Ritter. 

As of Wednesday morning, Mission Hospital in Asheville had 17 lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases with no other regional hospitals recording any cases being treated at their facilities.

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