By Nathan Ham
Governor Roy Cooper held a briefing today at 1:00 pm to update citizens on the latest count of COVID-19 coronavirus cases and issued an executive order that will close gyms, salons, barbershops, massage therapists, sweepstakes parlors and movie theaters by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Gov. Cooper said that 8,438 people in the state have been tested with 297 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 45 counties across the state. Testing will continue at earnest with approximately 10,000 additional tests waiting to be run. There are currently 11 patients hospitalized across the state that have tested positive for COVID-19.
This latest executive order also pushed the date further out for the earliest date for children to return to schools. All K-12 schools will be closed for in-person instruction until May 15 at the earliest.
“This is what we need to do to help slow the spread of the virus,” said Gov. Cooper.
Gov. Cooper added that grocery stores would remain open as well as restaurants that are providing take out, drive-thru and delivery services.
School systems have continued to serve an important purpose inside many communities across the state. According to Gov. Cooper, a total of 1,100 schools have served more than 1.2 million meals to children since schools closed down.
When asked about a possible stay at home order for North Carolina, the governor said that right now the state is not taking that step yet.
“As a state right now we are preparing for every scenario. Right now we are not issuing a stay at home order but the situation is evolving. We’ve taken action to close a number of businesses that provide close contact where it is hard to have social distancing,” Gov. Cooper said.
Gov. Cooper addressed the unemployment situation during Monday’s briefing, acknowledging the hardships that families are experiencing right now.
“Families are taking it on the chin and they are hurting right now. We had 110,000 unemployment insurance claims this past week. We are talking about a system that generally does about 3,000 so the scale of that is astronomical. We know a lot of people have been put out of work by the restrictions and the slow down in business across the country and the world for that matter,” he said.