While the state’s numbers are improving, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that the modified stay at home order should remain in effect until Feb. 28.
“Our numbers are stabilizing, but are still too high,” Cooper said in a video briefing with the state’s COVID-19 task force. “The virus is still raging through North Carolina.”
Cooper pointed out that the state’s positive test rate has moved into the double digits, and 3,300 people were hospitalized as of this morning.
“With the appearance of a new and more contagious variant, extending the stay at home order is the right thing to do,” Cooper said.
The modified stay at home order requires all North Carolinians to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for a few notable exceptions. The state’s take-out alcohol rule will also stay in place through March, too allow some relief to businesses that rely on mixed drink and on-premise alcohol sales.
Cooper also extended the moratorium on evictions for persons affected by COVID-19.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen said the state has seen some vital data such as hospitalizations begin to drop after the Jan. 10 peak, but the numbers are still significantly higher.
“We have seen the surge that we expected from the holidays,” she said, and the numbers are beginning to drop and stabilize. But we are nowhere near out of the woods.”
Cooper and Cohen also addressed the delays in vaccinations that have led to cancelled appointments and long lines at vaccination sites.
The state’s weekly allotment of COVID-19 vaccinations was cut by half, to 120,000, this week, Cohen explained. Of those vaccinations, 80 percent are spread equitably across the state based on population, with the remainder held in reserve. Much of the state’s allotment being sent to large scale vaccination events in metropolitan areas.
The remaining vaccinations will be distributed to areas without large scale evet, Cohen explained.
“We have thousands of people who have received their vaccinations,” cooper said, “but we have millions who want a vaccination. That will eventually even out, but right now we have to stay the course and be safe.”