North Carolina Targeting Friday for Phase 2 of Reopening; Could Include Pools
Sampson County eclipsed 300 positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday, reporting another single-day record for new cases with 35, due in large part to a drive-thru testing event in which health officials administered almost 500 COVID-19 tests to the general public.
The state recorded 19,700 positive COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
"The totals this week are beginning to reflect the results of the mass testing event that was held this past Saturday", a statement from the Sampson County Health Department read. For example, if a user selects a race, data will display for the ethnicity, gender and age breakdown for that racial group for cases or deaths.
North Carolina will move into Phase Two of its reopening plan Friday, opening up restaurants at half capacity, but keeping bars closed. The governor said he will announce sometime this week whether the state could enter the next phase.
Gov. Roy Cooper is letting North Carolina restaurants, barber shops and salons welcome patrons inside starting this holiday weekend, reporting on Wednesday that the state's COVID-19 trends remain largely stable. We are going to continue to keep that at the top of the list.
Exact details on Phase Two are lacking.
The governor did not open fitness centers, health clubs, yoga, martial arts, dance studios, trampoline facilities, gyms, bars, nightclubs, playgrounds, bowling alleys, movie theaters, skating rinks, reception facilities, museums and amusement parks.
The statewide COVID-19 death count is up 2 percent in a single day, up 16.4 percent in one week, based on data provided by NCDHHS. Cooper could modify the order to open more businesses or sign another order that would override it.
Restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements.
Face coverings for employees and customers are recommended, but not required according to the five-page document.
Overnight camps and day camps are set to reopen.
Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.
The State of NC will take another step toward reopening on Friday, but several businesses will remain closed.
"We will be announcing what the restrictions are a little bit later on this week", Cooper said.
Local governments can enact stricter rules if need be, according to Governor Cooper. Cohen said Wednesday the state is still meeting the White House guidance offered to move to a second phase of reopening. Buncombe County health officials say they will reschedule the event.
The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.
"You can easily kill someone you love", Cooper said at a news conference this week, adding that the sickening soirees are "completely irresponsible and absolutely unacceptable". "But we can only help our economy when people have confidence in their own safety, which is why it's important to ease restrictions carefully and use data in deciding when to do it".
Still, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen called this weekend's jump in cases, "concerning and a reminder about how quickly this virus can spread". There were 277,603 tests for COVID-19 completed as of Wednesday. ". Likewise, common sense suggests that religious leaders and worshipers (whether inside or outside North Carolina) have every incentive to behave safely and responsibly whether working indoors, shopping indoors, or worshiping indoors".
Cohen did acknowledge that while the state has ramped up testing, it was expected that we would see more cases - and it has.