North Carolina extends Phase 2 of reopening until at least Sept. 11


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper listens as Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry speaks during a press conference on North Carolina’s preparations for Tropical Storm Isaias at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (News Nation/WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of reopening until at least Sept. 11. The executive order extending Phase Two was set to expire Friday evening.

“Hospital administrators and health care providers continue to express concerns that unless the spread of COVID-19 is limited, existing health care facilities and resources may be insufficient to care for those who become sick,” the latest executive order said.

Cooper’s decision means bars, taverns, and gyms must remain closed. Cooper did point to other reopenings that will take place during August — namely schools and colleges. However, many school districts in central North Carolina are beginning the semester with online-only instruction.

“We know this stability is fragile and these trends can change quickly if we let down our guards,” Cooper said, also pointing to surges in other states that reopened “too soon.”

“We will not make that mistake in North Carolina,” he said.

North Carolina has had 2,050 deaths attributed to COVID-19, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. It took 75 days from the first death to the 1,000th. It took 58 days from the 1,000th death to the 2,000th – and it took just one day to get to 2,050 from 2,010.

In addition to a jump in deaths, hospitalizations rose again for the second day in a row. There are now at least 1,167 people hospitalized in North Carolina due to COVID-19, an increase of 13 from Tuesday. Hospitalizations had dropped for five days in a row before rising again on Tuesday. The all-time high for hospitalizations came on July 28 when 1,236 people were hospitalized. That number dropped to 1,057 on Aug. 2.

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