Nearly half of NC counties have ‘critical’ levels of COVID-19 spread

Health Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of counties with “critical” community spread has more than doubled according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services latest COVID-19 county alert system update.

From Nov. 23 through Dec. 8, 28 more counties have been put in the red “critical community spread” category, bringing the total to 48.

As a result of rising case numbers, Gov. Roy Cooper announced new restrictions Tuesday aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

According to Executive Order 181 , individuals in all counties should stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless an exception applies, and many businesses must close at 10 p.m.

“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. 

State health officials also advise individuals in all counties to avoid holiday travel and follow guidance for celebrating winter holidays safely as well as get the COVID-19 vaccine when available.

There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report.

More than 80 percent of NC counties are now in the red or orange categories.

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