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Governor moves N.C. into Phase 3 until Oct. 23
Friday, 16 October 2020 22:21

From Staff Reports

RALEIGH — North Carolina will ease — “cautiously” — some restrictions as it moves into Phase 3 of reopening during the pandemic while continuing safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s metrics remained stable in September, Governor Roy Cooper announced Sept. 30.

“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning,” Cooper said. “This month (October)  marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic.

“The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly,” he asserted.

To that end, the governor said he would ease some restrictions to sheft the state into Phasse 3, starting at 5 p.m. Oct. 2, when his Executive Order 169 became effective. Phase 3 will continue for three weeks through Oct. 23. 

Its new provisions include: 

• Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7 percent occupancy for spectators. 

• Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30 percent of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 

• Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30 percent of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.

• Bars may operate outdoors at 30 percent of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 

• Amusement parks may open at 30 percent occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 

• The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 

• The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to Oct. 23.  

State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires Oct. 23, the governor said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, added, “We must continue our hard work to slow the spread of this virus. By practicing the 3Ws — wear, wait and wash, — getting your flu shot, and downloading the SlowCOVIDNC app, each of us can protect the progress we have made.” 

At that point, Cohen reviewed the state’s key metrics:

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

North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness has a slight increase, Cohen said.

• Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days:

North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is level, she said.

• Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is level, Cohen noted.

• Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days:

North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level, she said.

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

No-cost testing events are being deployed across the state and testing turnaround times are improving, Cohen said, noting that new contact tracers are bolstering the efforts of local health departments. A new NCDHHS app, SlowCOVIDNC, is notifying users of exposure to the virus. Personal protective equipment supplies are stable.



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