North Carolina’s statewide mask mandate starts Friday due to spike in cases

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will delay moving forward to phase 3 of reopening and said face coverings/masks are mandatory in public places due to the state’s significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

North Carolina reported its second-highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 1,721, a spike in cases after two days of cases below 1,000.

“It’s clear that our numbers will keep us from moving ahead into the next phase of easing restrictions. So today, I’m announcing that North Carolina will pause and continue our Safer At Home Phase 2 for another three weeks,” Cooper said.

“The other important decision is requiring face coverings when people are out in public. People must wear face coverings when in public places, indoors or outdoors, where physical distancing of 6 feet from other people who aren’t in the same household or residence isn’t possible,” he continued.

The executive order mandating the masks goes into effect on Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m.

Exceptions include people with medical conditions, kids under 11, and anyone exercising or walking outside. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen said that the increase in numbers is “concerning” and not just from an increase in testing. The cases throughout the state overall are increasing and not leveling out.

 “It indicates that the virus is still very prevalent in our state,” Cohen said.

As for the daily numbers:

  • Cases: (+1,721, 54,453 total), still trending up
  • Deaths: (+20 1,271 total), trending down overall
  • Hospitalizations: (-9, 906 total) — down slightly after record high on Tuesday
  • Tests (+17,457, 791,285 total, 8% of Tuesday’s tests positive) — positive tests down in 2 of last 3 days

Current hospitalizations (906) dipped slightly after hitting another record (915) on Tuesday. North Carolina was also one of 7 states to report record hospitalizations on Tuesday, which also saw more than 800 COVID-19 deaths across the U.S. — the first time fatalities topped the previous day’s since June 7, the Washington Post reported.

Cooper stressed the mask mandate is necessary to keep the state from going backward. Medical professionals are urging the public to heed that warning.

“A major spike in cases would be catastrophic to our health care system,” said Dennis Taylor, president of the North Carolina Nurses Association. “Please trust this advice. It’s not political. It’s not an exaggeration.”

The percent of positive tests on June 23 was 8% for the second time in three days. The trend appears to be dipping slightly.

20 new deaths were reported after 28 were reported Tuesday. Deaths by date of death have been down since a peak in late May.

Here’s the latest count for WAVY’s viewing area:


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