The state will provide 900,000 facial coverings for farmworkers, the governor said in a COVID-19 briefing this afternoon (Tuesday).
“We must protect our farmers, farmworkers and their families,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in an update broadcast on social media.
The masks will be distributed through Cooperative Extension offices across the state, he said, with the majority of early shipments going to those counties with large populations of seasonal workers. The mask distribution is a combined effort of the Division of Health and Human Services, Cooperative Extension, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Agriculture Medical Group.
Free testing is also being expanded statewide, Cooper said, in areas that are historical underserved.
Cooper also called out those who refuse to wear masks.
Wearing a mask is “the decent, common sense, neighborly thing to do,” Cooper said.
“To those who rebel against wearing a mask, I have one thing to say to you — weare the mask, or don’t go in a store,” Cooper said. He praised major retailers who began requiring masks of all customers Monday.
State Health Director Mandy Cohen said that while the state has seen its highest number of confirmed cases in one day, North Carolina is “at a simmer, not a boil” with the pandemic.
“We must not become the next Florida or Arizona,” she said.
The newest guidelines form the centers for Disease Control call for symptom-based decision making as opposed to relying completely on tests. If a person has been without a fever for 24 hours without using medication, and is 10 days past the start of symptoms, and showing significant improvement, a test may not be necessary, Cohen said.
Columbus County provides COVID-19 data on Monday and Thursday of each week.