Wednesday, June 24, 2020
North Carolina could transition to the next phase of its coronavirus reopening on Friday, but the state's top health official said "key metrics ... are moving in the wrong direction," and the spread of COVID-19 was still "significant."
The current Phase 2 of easing restrictions on businesses and gatherings was slated to end Friday, when those limits could be further loosened.
But on Monday, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen painted a discouraging picture of North Carolina's coronavirus trends.
"The percent of emergency room visits for COVID-like illness is trending upward for the second week," Cohen said. "Our cases continue to climb, and the percent of tests that are positive continues to be high." In addition, the state last week had a five-day streak of record hospitalizations for COVID.
A decision on whether to mandate face masks also looms. Mecklenburg County commissioners last week asked staff to look at the county's options for requiring the wearing of masks. And on Tuesday, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles tweeted that she asked Gov. Roy Cooper to mandate face masks in the state.
Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director
Dr. Cameron Wolfe, Duke University, associate professor of medicine, infectious disease specialist