Governor Cooper issues new curfew order as COVID spreads with “rapid viciousness”

Curfew comes as new report suggests hospitals nearing capacity

Calling it a matter of life or death, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order Tuesday requiring North Carolinians to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to reduce the the spread of COVID-19.

The curfew that takes effect on Friday will also prohibit the sale and service of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“The later in the evening you go, the larger some of these gatherings can be at some of the businesses. People become more uninhibited,” Cooper explained.”This stay-at-home order after 10 p.m. tells people they really need to go home. They don’t need to be gathering in other people’s homes or any of these retail establishments.”

The state’s gathering limit remains at ten individuals indoors and fifty
individuals for outdoor settings.

A mask or face covering is required in all public indoor settings.

The updated version of North Carolina’s coronavirus relief alert map shows 80% of the states counties now experiencing substantial or critical spread of COVID-19.

“This modified order is to send a signal how important it is to protect yourself when you are around people you don’t live with,” said Cooper.

Health and Human Service Secretary Mandy Cohen said she is very worried the post-Thanksgiving numbers.

“More and more people are going into the hospital. They are going to the hospital very ill and unfortunately because we are trying to keep the virus level low, they are alone in those hospital beds,” said Sec. Cohen.

Cohen is urging people not to travel over the upcoming holidays, and not to gather with people outside their immediate household.

The sobering news come just 48 hours ahead of when the Food and Drug Administration is expected to greenlight use of the Pfizer vaccine.

Cohen anticipates distribution of that vaccine could begin as early as next week, but the initial allotment will not be enough to cover all of the state’s frontline hospital workers.

It is widely expected to be the second quarter of next year before there is enough vaccine available for everyone who wants the shot to get one.

New report suggests North Carolina hospitals may face capacity issues in weeks

Nine months ago officials stressed the need to ‘flatten the curve’ and protect the state’s health care system.

On Tuesday, we got our first glimpse at what might happen if the COVID curve continues to soar in the wrong direction.

A brief prepared by researchers at the Cecil G. Sheps Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy suggests North Carolina has about a six-week “runway” of available hospital beds.

The state could hit its capacity on ICU beds, which are in shorter supply than acute beds, in about 4.6 weeks.

The report goes on to warn:

There are ways to flex hospital capacity somewhat (e.g., by making more beds and staff available, cancelling or modifying elective procedures, transferring patients from low-capacity institutions to higher-capacity institutions, or adjusting thresholds for admitting or discharging COVID-19 or other patients). Many factors, such as these flex options, influence hospital capacity, but they are not sustainable in the long term and some come with important tradeoffs.

….[And while] this brief focuses on hospital “beds” as the limited resource, we continue to believe a healthy, qualified health care workforce (particularly nurses) supporting those beds to be in shorter supply. Moreover, shifting available personnel from one region to another is an infeasible strategy if all regions face workforce shortages at the same time.

Today North Carolina recorded 4,670 new cases of COVID with 2,373 people hospitalized by virus. The state has seen 45 new COVID deaths in the last 24 hours.

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