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Gov. Cooper Gives Additional Information on His Plan For Moving Forward in Right Direction

Governor Roy Cooper today extended the Stay at Home order until May 8 and laid out a three-phase plan to ease restrictions when data shows that key metrics are headed in the right direction. Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared more specifics on those key metrics. The Stay At Home and other orders are extended today because North Carolina has not yet seen a downward trajectory of those metrics needed to begin gradually lifting restrictions.

“It’s important to get our economy moving forward. We are helping with unemployment insurance payments, stimulus money and many businesses that continue to be open. But I will not risk the health of our people or our hospitals, and easing restrictions now would do that,” said Governor Cooper.

“Right now, the decision to stay at home is based on the public health data and White House guidance. North Carolina needs more time to slow the spread of this virus before we can safely begin lifting restrictions,” Governor Cooper added.

To learn more about the phases and the data trends that will define the timing for three-phase plan, read in the press release on the extended Stay at Home Order.

To see the state’s current status on the virus view the presentation from Thursday’s update.

COVID-19 Updates: Staying Informed & Prepared

Information is changing rapidly, this update is current as of April 23, 2020

It’s important to rely on trusted sources of information about COVID-19. Keep up with the latest information on Coronavirus HERE at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

Text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19 and North Carolina’s response.

Dial 2-1-1 provides free, confidential information and is available 24 hours a day to help you find resources within your community. They can connect you with people and groups that can help with questions about access to food, shelter, health care, employment and child care.

Families who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to find free meal sites in their communities.

Make sure to prioritize your overall wellness and don’t hesitate to seek additional help.

Optum has a toll-free 24-hour Emotional Support Help Line at 866-342-6892 for people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress due to Coronavirus. 

You can track the disease in real time through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 NC Dashboard. It includes detailed information about the state’s COVID-19 confirmed cases, hospital capacity and more.

“We must rely on facts instead of fear as we all approach the coronavirus in our own communities. Contact your local health department or your local medical provider if you have concerns about the virus,” said Cooper.

Governor Cooper signs Order to Help More People with Unemployment Benefits

Governor Cooper signed a new Executive Order to further expand Unemployment Insurance benefits to help employees furloughed due to the epidemic. This includes workers offered furlough payments by their employers.

“We know that this virus is taking a serious toll on our economy and our workforce, and we can’t lose sight of how this virus is impacting families.” Governor Cooper said.

Read Executive Order 134.

Governor Cooper, Legislature Agree on More Help for Small Businesses

Governor Cooper and General Assembly leaders have agreed to provide more funding to help support small business owners through the Rapid Recovery Program through the Golden LEAF Foundation and NC Rural Center. 

North Carolina Acts to Offer More Food Benefits and Protect the Food Supply

North Carolina is one of the first four states to receive federal approval from the United States Department of Agriculture for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, to help families purchase food for children impacted by school closings due to COVID-19.

North Carolina families will receive $250 in P-EBT benefits per child, provided in two installments, on an EBT card for children who are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school. P-EBT eligible families already receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will receive an additional benefit on their existing EBT card.

More details are in this NCDHHS press release.

“A critical part of staying healthy during this pandemic is having enough to eat,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We need to make sure the food supply chain remains strong and safe for everyone.”

The Food Supply Chain Working Group was created to address food production and distribution issues across the state to help ensure all North Carolinians are fed.

Food banks are in need of food and funding donations. To find a food bank near you and donate online, visit feedingthecarolinas.org

North Carolina Health Insurance Options

Many North Carolinians have recently lost health insurance benefits due to the economic effects of COVID-19. If you are in need of health insurance, NCDHHS has created a healthcare option list to help you find options that may work for you and your family. If you recently lost your employer-based insurance, you may qualify for special enrollment programs, and should check your status at healthcare.gov.

Calling for Health Professionals to Volunteer

North Carolina is recruiting volunteers and companies to supplement our health care workforce. Hundreds of people have already signed up to help, and we need more. This includes clinical providers such as doctors and nurses, clinical support such as pharmacy and imaging and respiratory care, and facility maintenance and administrative support. If you fit into one of these categories, go to ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus to learn more about how you can help. Health care professionals can also go to terms.ncem.org/TRS/.