NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina daily coronavirus cases rose above 2,000 again on Wednesday. However, hospitalizations fell.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,253 new positive coronavirus cases.
According to the NCDHHS, as of Wednesday, 1,193 people remain hospitalized in North Carolina due to COVID-19, and the death toll increased to 4,245. The number of hospitalizations fell by 21 from Tuesday.
Cooper Suspends Evictions with Executive Order
On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order suspending evictions for people who can't afford rent in N.C.
Two weeks ago, the NC HOPE initiative launched. It provides renters who are at 80% or less of the median income of a county with up to six months back rent and utility payments. The payments go directly to landlords and utility companies.
In a tweet, Cooper said, "This order makes it clear that the CDC moratorium applies to all eligible North Carolinians, not just those who live in federally subsidized housing."
North Carolina Moves Into Phase 3 of Reopening
North Carolina officially moved into Phase 3 of reopening on Friday, Oct. 2.
Face masks are still be required; however, large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 will be able to operate with 7 percent occupancy for spectators with other safety protocols. Small outdoor venues may operate at 30 percent capacity.
Theaters can open to 30 percent capacity (or 100 seated guests) and bars may operate outdoors only at 30 percent capacity (or 100 guests, whichever is less). Amusement parks will also be able to open at 30 percent occupancy as well.
Antigen Tests Now Recorded
According to the NCDHHS, both molecular and antigen tests are diagnostic, meaning they look to see if someone is infected with COVID-19.
Each test looks for different things:
- A molecular (PCR) test looks for the virus’s genetic material.
- An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
Where the test is processed may also differ. Molecular tests are processed in a laboratory, and antigen tests are often processed at the point of care, such as in a health care provider’s office.
According to the NCDHHS, improved reporting processes have made it possible to add information on antigen testing.
Cooper: Elementary Schools May Go to Plan A
Gov. Roy Cooper announced in September that North Carolina elementary schools may go to in-person classes if local public school districts choose to reopen them.
The school districts may choose Plan A. Middle and high schools will remain in Plan B, which features a combination of in-person and remote learning, or Plan C, which involves remote learning only. Face coverings will be mandatory for all students, teachers, and staff.
NCDHHS Updates Guidance for Colleges and Universities
As colleges and universities across the state continue to report new COVID-19 clusters being identified each day, the NCDHHS has updated its guidance, "further emphasizing that colleges and universities must work to reduce risk of viral spread of COVID-19 both on and off campus."
Rules on Facemasks
A statewide mask requirement is also in effect, which requires masks to be worn when people are out in public in the state of North Carolina whenever social and physical distancing is not possible.
Face coverings are not required in these situations:
- For those who cannot wear a covering due to a medical or behavioral condition
- For children under 12 years old
- For restaurant patrons, while they are dining
- In private, individual offices
- When complying with directions of law enforcement officers
- In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming
- While with members of a family or the same household
- For people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering
- For those exercising outdoors or exercising with other people from the same household, as long as social distance is maintained
Read the full executive order here.
Additionally, more than 3,912,000 tests have been completed in the state, according to the NCDHHS.
The state’s first case was reported on March 3 in Wake County.
You can view each county’s total in the interactive map above.
Health officials say they continue to actively investigate each case that is reported to produce a timeline of the patients’ travels while symptomatic. Using contact tracing, they are also working to identify any people who may have been put at risk during that time due to close contact.
According to the CDC, "close contact" is defined as being within six feet of the patient for 10 or more minutes.
Hospitals Adjust to Help Prevent and Fight COVID-19 Spread
Medical facilities across the state have implemented protocols to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among patients, visitors, and staff.
For links to some of North Carolina's main healthcare providers, and to view policy and procedure changes, click here.
Airports Taking Steps to Combat the Spread of the Coronavirus
Airports across the state say they are taking extra steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses.
There is a larger effort to wipe down all "touchpoints," which are places where people could easily pick up viruses, like handrails on escalators, door handles, baggage claim areas, and seats in the gate areas, and conduct "deep cleanings" of public terminal areas and shuttle buses.
Officials say they are continuing to monitor COVID-19 cases throughout the country and are working with local, state, and federal health agencies to ensure the necessary protocols are in place.
Passengers are also being asked to take extra precautions when traveling, including:
- Avoid close contact with people showing symptoms
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you’re sick
- Cover your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
What are the Symptoms?
How to Protect Yourself and Others
According to the CDC, there are several simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and others during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Clean your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- If you are sick, wear a facemask
- Clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces daily
If you or someone you know becomes ill, the CDC recommends taking the following steps:
- Stay home, except to get medical treatment
- Separate yourself from others, including animals, in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid sharing any personal household items
- Clean any "high-touch" surfaces on a daily basis
- Monitor your symptoms
- Remain on home isolation until instructed to leave
N.C. DHHS has also released the following recommendations to keep yourself protected:
If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.
HIGH RISK PERSONS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS
NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
People at high risk include people:
- Over 65 years of age, or
- with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or
- with weakened immune systems.
CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES
NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent
situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.
NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible. Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.
Any North Carolinian seeking additional information on COVID-19 can call NC 2-1-1, which is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community, or text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19.