RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a press conference on Wednesday that he is extending his stay-at-home order for three more weeks due to the rising COVID-19 cases around the state.
“Deciding to stay home or say no to an invitation to get together indoors can be hard, especially with people we know and trust, but it is necessary to save lives,” Cooper said.
Cooper also said Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, will issue a new directive to caution “against leaving home for any reason other than work, school, exercise, health care needs or groceries,” Cooper said. “Simply put, don’t go places indoors where people aren’t wearing masks.”
“As we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are also helping local hospitals and health departments to support their vaccine efforts,” Cooper said. “Getting the vaccine out quickly is the most urgent priority right now, and we will use everything and everyone needed to get the job done.”
The directive comes as 84 counties are in the red, meaning there is critical community spread, meaning most of the state is at critical levels of viral spread.
“There is an alarming amount of virus everywhere in our state. We are in a very dangerous position,” Cohen said. “Every single North Carolinian needs to take immediate action to save lives and protect themselves and each other.”
Cohen also said vaccinations are being administered as quickly as possible. In the meantime, she encouraged people to continue to practice the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands and wait at least 6 feet apart.
Cooper on Tuesday mobilized the National Guard to help coordinate the vaccinations.
“For now, this mobilization includes approximately 50 Guards men and women, and we will add more as needed,” Cooper said. “Some National Guard members can administer the vaccine, others will support logistics, planning and other key functions like helping local health departments and other providers make timely data entry into the state’s tracking system.”