Gov. Cooper Extends Stay-At-Home Order As COVID-19 Surge Persists

Kimberly Johnson

CHARLOTTE, NC — As COVID-19 spread continues to peak in North Carolina, the state's governor extended the existing modified stay-at-home order for an additional three weeks Wednesday.

"With hospitals feeling the strain and more people sick, there has never been a more important time to take this seriously," Cooper said during a news conference.

The news comes as the state reported nearly 7,000 new confirmed cases in the span of a day and that about 18 percent of tests conducted in the state were positive, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data.

Extension of the existing executive order directs residents to stay in their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The order, which had initially been set to expire Jan. 8, will now be in effect until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29.

“There is an alarming amount of virus everywhere in our state. We are in a very dangerous position,” DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said. “Every single North Carolinian needs to take immediate action to save lives and protect themselves and each other.”

Cohen issued a Secretarial Directive Wednesday, urging residents to

  • Only leave home for essential activities such as going to work or school, for health care purposes, to care for family members or to buy food.

  • Avoid leaving home if you are over 65 or at high risk for developing serious illness. Use delivery services or alternative pick-up methods for food and retail.

  • Avoid gathering with people who do not live with you.

  • Wear a mask and keep distance from people when you leave home.

  • Avoid any indoor public spaces where people are not wearing masks.

  • Stay away from crowds. Avoid places where people may gather in large numbers.

As of Jan. 6, coronavirus had claimed at least 7,076 lives since March. At least 347 North Carolinians have died from COVID-19 in the span of the past seven days, according to DHHS data. Statewide hospitalizations also rose to a new high Wednesday. According to DHHS data, at least 3,893 patients sought medical treatment for coronavirus illness, an increase of 112 patients reported since Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on the Charlotte Patch