"The totals this week are beginning to reflect the results of the mass testing event that was held this past Saturday", a statement from the Sampson County Health Department read. He considers the testing and case data worse than it was last week. Sampson's lone death attributed to COVID-19 was a patient who was between 50 and 55 years of age with underlying medical conditions.
"We'll ease restrictions and move to Phase 2 only if we're headed in the right direction with our data", said Governor Roy Cooper Monday. The current statewide order - which Buncombe County is following - mandates restaurants can only offer take out and delivery service during "Phase 1" of the reopening of the state.
Phase 2 plans are also expected to address indoor church services, personal care services and public playgrounds.
The North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild thinks the state's breweries are able to open under Gov. Roy Cooper's plan for Phase Two, but it is seeking a clear answer.
(5/19 2:15 p.m.) - As of 2:00 p.m. on May 19th, North Carolina has reported 19,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 677 cases from the day before. We are going to continue to keep that at the top of the list. "And that's especially important for vulnerable people who are at risk for more severe illness".
Teleworking is still highly recommended under Phase Two. People with symptoms and those in close contact with COVID-19 patients also should continue to have testing access, the protocol says. This applies to event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches. Cooper could modify the order to open more businesses or sign another order that would override it.
Under the interim guidelines, indoor restaurant areas will be limited to 50 percent capacity and tables must be arranged to allow for six feet of social distancing.
Salons and barbershops will also be able to open at that 50% threshold with specific distancing and cleaning requirements.
Overnight camps and day camps are set to reopen.
"While I am lifting the Stay at Home order, we are shifting it to a Safer at Home recommendation", Cooper announced.
Local governments can enact stricter rules if need be, according to Governor Cooper.
The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26. How long will this second phase of reopening last?
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 19,700 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in North Carolina, and 691 deaths, according to data provided by North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services.
Health care workers have completed 265,008 tests. Each labeled gridline is multiplied by ten such that the United States' daily cases do not dwarf North Carolina's or flatten North Carolina's cases towards the bottom of the graph. "We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more", said NCDHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext.