Cooper orders COVID curfew through the holidays

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021. 

“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.” 

The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. 

In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%. 

Governor Cooper was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols. 

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.

“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Testing

  • Testing capacity is high, surpassing 50,000 tests per day for much of the past week. 

Tracing Capability

  • The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
  • There have been more than 500,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
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