‘Modest’ phase 2 still scheduled for Friday in NC; face coverings in public still strongly encouraged


Updates from Thursday’s press conference:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen emphasized there were 738 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, another high number per day, and that “underscores a need to move cautiously as we ease restrictions.”

(More on Thursday’s numbers below)

Preparing for phase 2, “modest” step leaves out gyms and fitness centers

Most of North Carolina is preparing to enter phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan on Friday, May 22, which will lift the state’s stay-at-home order, but shift to a “safer-at-home” guidance. Phase 2 is expected to last through at least June 26.

The move includes opening restaurants for in-person dining, and salons and pools up to 50% capacity.

Courtesy: NCDHHS

“Phase 2 is another careful step forward, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday about the shift. “Since we announced Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable. However, the increases in COVID-19 cases signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.”

Courtesy: NCDHHS

The “modest” step meant meaning leaving out gym and other fitness centers, because Cohen says heavy breathing and lack of mask wearing during exercise can leading to higher spread.

When asked why bars and brewers weren’t open, but restaurants were for in-person dining, Cohen said the metric the state is tracking again showed that modest increase was needed, and limiting the number of places reopened at once could help limit spread of the virus.

Most of the trends are moving in the right direction, officials say, but the recent increases in cases meant things needed to reopen slower.

Masks strongly encouraged

Cohen says North Carolinians are not required to wear face coverings during phase 2, but they are strongly encouraged to do so to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. People with COVID-19 can not have symptoms and still spread the virus.

Mask use must still be combined with hand washing and standing six feet apart, Cohen says.

Masks however are required for personal care and grooming employees.

Meanwhile at-risk people, those 65 and older and with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are encouraged to still stay home as much as possible during phase 2. About half of North Carolina’s adults fall into one of those categories.

First case of inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 in a child

Cohen said a child in North Carolina has been diagnosed with a rare inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19.

NCDHHS reported the case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome on Thursday. Cohen said the child is at home and doing well.

Virginia reported its first case of the syndrome this week.

Health Officials said most children with MIS-C have a fever of 100.4 degrees that lasts several days. Other symptoms include:

  • Irritability or decreased activity
  • Abdominal pain without another explanation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes)
  • Poor feeding
  • Red, cracked lips or red, bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry
  • Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red

MIS-C is not contagious, but children with these symptoms could have COVID-19 or another infection that is contagious, health officials said.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY/WNCN) — North Carolina reported 738 new cases on Thursday, its second-highest daily increase to date, ahead of its phase 2 reopening scheduled to start Friday, May 22.

14 new deaths and 13,042 new tests were reported, with an increase of hospitalizations by 24.

Here are the latest numbers statewide for Thursday, May 21.

Cases shot up on Thursday, daily reported cases had been trending down in recent days.

Meanwhile the overall number of daily testing continues to trend up. With that, the overall number of positive cases has remained around 7% as of late.

There are currently 578 people hospitalized, marking the second-largest day of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations have been trending up, but have remained mostly steady.

Here’s the latest in WAVY’s viewing area:

Gates: 14

Dare: 18 — 1 death

Currituck: 11

Pasquotank: 93  — 7 deaths

Perquimans: 23  — 2 deaths

Hertford: 60 — 1 death

Bertie: 99 — 3 deaths

Chowan: 14

Camden: 3

Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina will enter Phase Two on Friday at 5 p.m. It will last until at least June 26.

Correction: The North Carolina Department of Health originally reported 20,910 coronavirus cases Thursday morning, but later updated its website to reflect a total of 20,860 cases. This article has been updated to reflect the change.

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