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Meck Limits Gatherings To 50 People As Coronavirus Cases Increase


Mecklenburg County has three new likely cases of coronavirus, county Health Director Gibbie Harris said Monday.

That brings the total number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to seven in the county.

The state was reporting 33 other cases, not including the new ones in Mecklenburg, as of Monday afternoon.

Additionally, Harris said she’s signing an order restricting gatherings of 50 or more people in the county. There are some exceptions for health care settings, the airport and other situations where more than 50 people could easily be congregated.

That applies mostly to special events, like weddings, funerals and meetings. There are also exemptions for places like the airport, transit and shopping centers. Restaurants and bars are also exempt.

Harris said that there can’t be more than 50 people inside an individual movie theater, although there can be more than 50 people inside an entire multi-screen complex.

“This could change at any point in time,” Harris said. “This is an incredibly fluid situation and we are hoping the community will work with us cooperatively to prevent the spread of this infection in our community.”

CMPD says they’re seeking voluntary compliance on the order.

Additionally, CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston says the school system will be distributing “grab and go” food at sites throughout the county.

“These meals are open and available for free to all students 18 and under. More information can be found on the CMS website.

Harris said she is waiting on information about how the three new people might have been infected, and whether the new cases were related to travel or if Mecklenburg has its first case of community spread.

“We have just gotten the information and are starting our investigation to understand where their potential exposure came from, where they are, and how we’re moving forward with those,” Harris said.

Harris said the county’s third and fourth cases of COVID-19 were related to travel. One person had been to Europe, and the other person had traveled domestically.

Harris said that the number of tests is increasing each day. She said that, as far as she knows, no one should have been tested in Mecklenburg has been turned away.
The county has tested a total of 259 people, and everyone is being monitored until their test results are known.

Those tests have been done by the private physicians, the two hospital systems and the health departments themselves.
Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease and Control recommended that, nationwide, people should not be in groups of more than 50 people for eight weeks.

President Trump on Monday said that people should not be in groups with more than 10 people for the next two weeks.
“We’re paying attention to the guidance about what is being said at the state and federal level,” Harris said about the new restrictions. “Our rational from going to 100 to 50 is the increase in cases, and the very real possibility we have community spread.”