HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Two more counties in North Carolina announced on Tuesday face covering requirements in indoor spaces, citing the recent stark increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Guilford County and Orange County governments announced a countywide indoor face mask mandate for everyone, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Orange County’s restriction begins late Wednesday afternoon, while Guilford’s mandate begins Friday afternoon. There are exemptions for small children, people with certain medical conditions and others working in private offices.
Asheville also initiated a face mask requirement in its government buildings only starting Wednesday. It’s following a similar action that took effect Monday for Buncombe County government offices.
The orders come as state health officials said North Carolina reported the largest single-day jump in intensive care unit admissions at hospitals since the pandemic began. There were 557 ICU admissions related to COVID on Monday, compared to 502 on the day before, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release.
Nearly 2,180 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Monday, or more than double the number compared to two weeks according to DHHS.
Durham County and the city of Durham reinstituted a face mask requirement in all indoor buildings as of Monday.