It’s a threshold state health officials were likely dreading.
More than one thousand North Carolinians are now hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.
Thursday also brought 2,039 new cases of the virus, with eight to ten percent of tests this week coming back positive.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said while other states are seeing a dangerous shortage of hospital beds and room in their ICUs, North Carolina still has capacity.
“We need to remain vigilant is slowing the spread of the virus,” Dr. Cohen advised. “Flattening the curve is not a one time thing. It takes constant effort and attention to keep it flat.”
Mecklenburg County remains one area where state health officials have the greatest concern.
That county has registered 13,757 positive cases of the coronavirus and 158 deaths since March. That is more than double the number recorded in Wake County.
Governor Cooper said he’d also like to see more business executives, elected officials and even sports figures wearing face coverings in public and talking about the benefits.
“We just need leaders across the state of all stripes to step up and help us with this,” said Cooper. “This is the best way to get our economy going full speed again.”
The governor offered few specifics Thursday on how schools would safely reopen in August, saving that announcement for next week.
His top health official acknowledged there would likely be logistical challenges as students and teachers re-enter the classroom.
“In terms of folks who come in close contact with someone who is a confirmed positive, whether it’s in a school or another setting, we want close contacts to stay home and stay quarantined for 14 days,” Cohen advised.
Face coverings, social distancing and good hand hygiene go a long way to protecting people from the virus.
Cooper said that additional protocols would be offered to schools in the next few days, as well as an announcement on whether the state can enter the next phase of opening. That reopening process was paused two weeks ago.
“I think it’s really important that we separate all of the politics here, and talk about what’s best for our children. We know they need to get back in school and do it in a safe way.”