NC Health Chief: Moves To Reopen Could Endanger Vulnerable Residents
Gaston County officials announced they would allow businesses to open up as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. But the state’s top health official says the move could endanger many vulnerable North Carolinians.
State officials reacted to Gaston County’s move by saying it would cause confusion during the public health emergency. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen pointed to state data estimating how many residents in the state have chronic conditions that could lead them to have a more severe case of COVID-19.
"It’s close to half of North Carolinians that have either heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or other chronic conditions," Cohen said.
Cohen says the state’s plan for a slow, three-phase lifting of restrictions on businesses would better protect the state’s more vulnerable residents.
Cohen also cited a study released Tuesday by researchers at RTI International, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Duke University. The study concluded a phased reopening would lead to a less severe increase of viral spread than a quick reopening. It also found North Carolina’s stay-at-home order helped slow the spread of coronavirus better than previous models anticipated.
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