Governor Cooper extends phase 2 by 5 weeks for North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY/WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will remain in phase 2 of reopening until at least September 11. The executive order extending phase 2 was originally set to expire Friday evening.

The news comes after NCDHHS reported 1,127 new COVID-19 cases and 40 more deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 2,050 deaths across the state since the pandemic began.

The total number of cases in the state sits at 129,288 and the additional 1,127 comes from 19,642 tests. Hospitalizations remain steady at 1,167 — which is an increase of one since Tuesday.

“Hospital administrators and health care providers continue to express concerns that unless the spread of COVID-19 is limited, existing health care facilities and resources may be insufficient to care for those who become sick,” the latest executive order said.

Cooper’s decision means bars, taverns, and gyms must remain closed. Cooper did point to other reopenings that will take place during August — namely schools and colleges. However, many school districts in central North Carolina are beginning the semester with online-only instruction. Enrollment for Wake County’s Virtual Academy has surged, as well.

“We know this stability is fragile and these trends can change quickly if we let down our guards,” Cooper said, also pointing to surges in other states that reopened “too soon.”

“We will not make that mistake in North Carolina,” he said.

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