While many states are reopening or planning to do so soon, North Carolina has chosen to follow their data and continue to flatten the curve. On April 23, Governor Cooper announced North Carolina will extend its stay-at-home order to May 8.
"It's clear that we're flattening the curve, but our state is not ready to lift our restrictions yet. We need time to slow the spread of the virus before we can start easing those restrictions," Governor Cooper asserted in a press conference.
There are currently 7,608 confirmed novel coronavirus cases as of Thursday, April 23 and 253 deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health.
On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency. On Monday, March 23, he issued an executive order limiting mass gatherings, venue restrictions, and extended school closures.
On Friday, March 27, he issued a stay-at-home order for all residents and visitors, restricting residents to only leave their homes for essential reasons including food shopping, visiting close family members and medical supplies.
The governor said residents can't keep staying home for the long run, but as of now, the state isn't ready to open.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), explained the steps that will be taken to continue the progress NC has seen, including increasing testing and having more tracing and trends.
"North Carolina has been a leader in testing capacity," she explained.
It's currently completing 2,500 to 3,000 tests daily. Governor Cooper and Dr. Cohen are looking to increase that to 5,000 to 7,000. That would help the state have a better understanding of where it stands and to actively track the incline or decline of confirmed cases.
"We've discovered 300 new cases since yesterday," she explained. While the number of cases is increasing, Dr. Cohen showed charts displaying a flattening of the curve.
"There's not a decline, which is what we want, but there's also not a large incline."
This decision is based on the data that we see in our critical categories. I know people want our lives and our liv… https://t.co/BDvrBoEIN2— Governor Roy Cooper (@Governor Roy Cooper)1587668772.0
Governor Cooper attributes this positive trajectory to residents actively social distancing and staying home, as well as the efforts of local law enforcement diligently breaking up gatherings of more than 10 people.
"We hope North Carolinians continue to take this seriously as we work towards finding a vaccine."