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North Carolina to remain in Phase 3

North Carolina remains paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends.

Governor Roy Cooper made the announcement at a press conference Oct. 21.

“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Cooper.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen reviewed the metric combinations used to assess the state’s COVID-19 situation.

The state’s COVID-19 dashboard now has reports on clusters, which seem to be driving new COVID-19 cases upward.

The new cluster page states clusters from social gatherings such as parties, family gatherings, weddings and funerals have increased. This trend is consistent with patterns seen in other parts of the country such as the northeast. The number of cases associated with clusters in religious gatherings increased during September. The number of cases associated with meat and poultry processing clusters plants has decreased since early May. Clusters in college and university settings peaked in late August.

Cooper updated on progress with the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since Cooper announced the program last week, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.

“We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. This simple fact is we can’t do it on our own. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away – just the opposite,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen. “As hard as this is, it will end. We will get through this. Let’s do it by looking out for one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

Metrics report as of Oct. 21, 2020.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days is level, but still too high.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days is increasing. The state had its highest total of new cases recorded Oct. 15 and Oct. 16. The case totals have now surpassed the July peak.

Percentage of positive tests to tests administered on Wednesday, Oct. 21 was 7.4%. The goal is 5%.

Hospitalizations are increasing. The state still has hospital capacity.

Testing capacity is high.

Contact tracers are continuing to be hired to help local health departments. The state’s notification app SlowCOVIDNC has been downloaded 250,000 times.

The state continues to distribute personal protective equipment and has a stable supply.

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