North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, faced with increasing numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and resistance on the part of counties and cities to take further action as the pandemic worsens, issued additional COVID-19 safety measures Monday (Nov. 23rd) to tighten mask requirements and enforcement. Cooper issued Executive Order No. 180, which goes into effect on Wednesday (Nov. 25th) and runs through Friday December 11th. It also extends the other measures of Phase 3 through that date.
On Sunday, the NCDHHS reported a record one-day number of new cases--4,514. 2,419 more were reported Monday. The state's death toll from the disease is now 5,039. Hospitalizations related to the virus are at a record--1,601. There was one good thing in Monday's report--the percent of positive cases, which had been above 8% for several days, dropped to 6.6%.
Cooper's new order expands the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space, even when maintaining six feet of distance; gyms, even when exercising; all schools, public and private; and all public or private transportation when traveling with people from outside your own 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.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan spoke at Monday's press conference, telling details of a new ordinance her city had passed on Friday that will impose civil penalties for non-compliance.
The Governor and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the Dept. of Health & Human Services, updated the County Alert System map that was issued last Tuesday. The original map had ten North Carolina counties listed as red zones--with critical community spread of the virus. The new map increases that number to 20. The new map shows 42 North Carolina counties are now listed as orange, having substantial community spread of the disease. Lincoln County, which had been listed as yellow (significant community spread) was updated to orange. Catawba County, which had been shown as orange, joins Gaston County as a red zone. Cleveland County is also shown as orange.
From Nov. 6-19, Catawba County's rate of positive tests for the virus was 10.6%; Gaston County's was 9.5%; Cleveland County's was also 9.5%; and Lincoln County's positive rate was 9.4%. You can see the new map and county-by-county details at https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/dashboard/COVID-19-County-Alert-System-Report.pdf.
The briefing was carried live by many television stations including the University of North Carolina public tv network. If you missed it, you can see it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7ON84k44UA.
You can read the new Executive Order by clicking here.