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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Health Secretary: NC Could See More Virus Spread If Individual Counties Reopen

North Carolina’s top health official says there would be an increase in community spread of the coronavirus if only certain counties begin to lift their stay-at-home orders.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says counties risk increased viral spread across county borders if they begin to reopen. Cohen cited Mecklenburg County as an example during a Wednesday press briefing.

"The folks that work in Mecklenburg County live in 32 surrounding counties," Cohen said. "So trying to think about a county-by-county approach is really challenging. But I do think a regional approach could be possible, but it has to be driven by that data-informed policy. Those are the kind of things we’re trying to look at now."

Some counties, including Gaston County, have urged Gov. Roy Cooper to let them to reopen once his current stay-at-home order expires on April 29. Cohen said North Carolina does not meet current federal guidelines to lift stay-at-home orders, which includes 14 days of decreasing new coronavirus cases. 

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Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.