An order to stay at home goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday but Gov. Roy Cooper urges residents to start as soon as possible.
Cooper announced during a news conference Friday afternoon the “Stay At Home Order,” which is intended “to continue our aggressive battle to slow the spread of COVID-19.” The order directs staying at home for 30 days until April 29.
He said that the state has confirmed 763 cases in 60 counties throughout the state. “As expected, our numbers continue to increase rapidly. This is a highly contagious virus that’s deadly for some,”‘ he said.
Unless noted, previous closures and orders stand as written as do government orders in cities and counties. Frequently asked questions about the order can be found on the website.
“The order directs you to stay home unless you need to leave for essentials such as your job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help someone. It bans gatherings of more than 10 people, and directs everyone to stay at least 6 feet away from each other,” he said. “The order allows the central services to continue and directs those businesses that need to remain open, use a strong social distancing policy. These are tough directives but I need you to take them seriously.”
North Carolina is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have widespread transmission, “meaning that some people who have tested positive, don’t know how they got it. They didn’t travel anywhere. They weren’t in contact with a known positive person but now they find themselves sick with the virus.”
Cooper said that no one is immune and because there is no vaccination, the best scientifically proven way to slow the spread is keeping our physical distance and staying at home.
Cooper recognized that the order will cause hardships, including those that may have lost jobs for doing the right thing. “I’ll do everything in my power to try and cushion the economic blow. Because I’ve made benefits easier to get with my executive order, we’ve had more than 200,000 unemployment claims filed with most of them citing this pandemic. The first COVID-19 unemployment benefits will be paid next week,” he said.
“Losing your job or closing your business has to be difficult. But we have to act now in the safest, smartest way while we have the chance to save lives. It is truly a matter of life and death,” he said.
The state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen explained during the news conference that the state is aggressively working to learn as much as possible about the virus across the country and in the state.
“At the same time, we do not have the luxury of time, we must act quickly based on what we do know to slow the spread of the virus. If we do not act preemptively to slow the virus right now, many people will get sick at the same time, which could overwhelm our medical system, and compromise their ability to provide care,” she said.
There have been three COVID-19-related deaths as of Friday morning in North Carolina. Cases on the coast include one in Dare County; two in Hertford County; three confirmed cases each for Bertie, Beaufort and Craven counties; four in Onslow County; five in Carteret County; 11 in Brunswick County; and 15 in New Hanover County.
During the Dare County Control Group meeting Friday morning, added to the state of emergency in effect for Dare County the “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” declaration that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Saturday to further minimize opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19.
The declaration directs residents to limit nonessential movements outside of home and limits gatherings to no more than 10 people. This is not a Shelter in Place declaration. Shelter in Place only permits emergency travel and emergency services, which the county is not currently planning to enact.
Gates County is encouraging citizens to make appointments with county staff instead of showing up to discuss issues and use the website to find information, the county announced Friday.
Emerald Isle has suspended short-term rentals between March 22 and April 6, the town announced Thursday.