Cooper issues statewide stay-at-home order
Gov. Roy Cooper and state public health and safety officials provide an update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response.
cases in 60 counties throughout North Carolina As expected our numbers continue to increase rapidly This is a highly contagious virus that's deadly for some to continue our aggressive battle to slow the spread of covert 19 Today I have signed a stay at home order for the entire state of North Carolina Enforcement begins at 5 p.m. On Monday but we urge you to start as soon as you possibly can It's what we have to do to save lives It has the force of law This order direct you to stay home unless you need to leave for essential such as your job food medicine outdoor exercise or to help someone It bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other This is known as social distancing We've heard a lot about that but it's really physical distancing the order allows essential service is to continue and directs those businesses that need to remain open Use a strong social distancing policy These are tough directives but I need you to take them seriously Although we're physically apart we must take thes steps together in spirit even if you don't think you have to worry about yourself consider our nurses and Hoste and hospital staff doctors people who will be stretched beyond their capacity If we're unable to slow the spread of this duvet disease consider your families Consider your friends people that you might infect If you're carrying the virus we need to keep them safe North Carolina is now considered by the CDC to have widespread transmission meaning that some people who've tested positive don't know how they got it They didn't travel anywhere They weren't in contact with a known positive person But now they find themselves sick with a virus because no one is immune because there is no vaccination The best scientifically proven to we have to slow the spread is keeping our physical distance and staying at home Now I know this order may lead to even more hardship and heartache Many of you are already doing what you're supposed to do even though it means that you're isolated or that you might have lost your job That's a difficult situation So thank you for doing the right thing and I'll do everything in my power to try and cushion the economic blow because I've made benefits easier to get with my executive order We've had more than 200,000 unemployment claims filed with most of them citing this pandemic The first cove it 19 Unemployment benefits will be paid next week and I am fighting for federal and state help for workers their families and businesses We will not forget those who have lost their livelihoods in this crisis Being apart from family and friends is difficult Working via conference call or Web cam can be frustrating The sounds of our lives the school bell or the half time buzzer they're gone Losing your job are closing your business has to be difficult but we have to act now in the safest smartest way While we have the chance to save lives It is truly a matter of life and death And even with the uncertainty of these times and the new pace of our lifestyles we know that the good part of our lives as North Carolinians will return We fight this disease now so that we're better able to defeat it in the future Thank you for heating these orders and for your patients and is always a special thanks to our health care workers and their dedication to this state We're all grateful for you We're all praying for you today I'm joined by Dr Mandy Cohen our secretary of the Department of Health and Human Service is Mike Spray Berry of our director of our emergency management and Eric Hooks are secretary of the Department of Public Safety San Sign Language is being provided by Nicole Fox and Monica McGee First I would like to ask Dr Cohen to come forth and add a few words and updates Doctor Cohen Thank you Governor I'm grateful for your strength for your fortitude In the face of such uncertainty and your willingness to act decisively to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians One only has to look around the world to see the devastating consequences of the virus The data coming out of Italy and China is sobering In Italy 29% of people who tested positive for covert 19 had severe or critical illness In China It was 19% Early Data from the United States paints a similar concerning picture The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between February 12th and March 16th somewhere between 20 and 30% of people who tested positive for Cove in 19 in the United States were hospitalized with 4 to 11% needing intensive care While these studies don't give us the complete picture of the virus they are certainly extremely worrisome We are aggressively working toe learn as much as possible about the virus across the country and here in North Carolina At the same time we do not have the luxury of time We must act quickly based on what we do know to slow the spread of the virus If we do not act preemptively to slow the virus right now many people will get sick at the same time which could overwhelm our medical system and compromise their ability to provide care I've heard from many hospitals physicians and other clinicians concerned about that surge in demand and how it could overwhelm them and cause suffering and harm both the North Carolina Medical Society the North Carolina Health Care Association which represents doctors and hospitals across the state have warned about potential shortages of supplies and equipment and hospital beds No one wants that to happen and the only way to prevent it is for fewer people to get sick at the same time That's what flattening the curve means Our best weapon is social distancing What we can do today can save lives in the weeks and months to come and the more social distancing actions we can take to take and stick to the more likely our health care system will be there for everyone who needs it Our actions your actions can save lives Staying home save lives If you have to be out stands six feet away from other people Toe Lessen your chances of catching cove it 19 or infecting someone else Remember to wash your hands frequently Cough into your elbow And if you feel sick and have mild symptoms stay home and call your doctor But that's not all There are other things you can do to reduce your risk for serious illness We know that those with underlying lung disease or uncontrolled chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease can increase someone's risk for severe symptoms from the virus So what does that mean for you If you have high blood pressure work with your doctor to make it Sure it's controlled Now we have diabetes Make sure you're managing your blood sugar Now if you were thinking about quitting smoking there's never been a better time Do it now and importantly don't Vape Make sure you're getting exercise and are eating healthy And let's give ourselves and our loved ones the extra care and patients that they need Take a walk outside give yourself a break from the news Check in with neighbors and friends and family by phone or by video and ask for help if you need it Many behavioral health clinicians in North Carolina are ready to take new patients and provide care over the phone or by video More information is available on our Cove it 19 website under managing your overall health There are many things that were not able to control that are not within our limits but it's up to us toe act where we can We can do this We're strong and we're in this together Thank you Thank you Dr Cohen You can text coveted NC 2898211 You'll get several notices a day via text There is a wealth of information there and it will answer a lot of your questions You can also call to 11 and they can route you to the resources that you need I'll now call on our director of emergency management Mike's Bradbury Mike Thank you Governor Good afternoon Today is Day 18 of state Emergency Operations Center activation for the Cove It 19 response We have 51 counties with their local emergency operations centers activated 95 counties in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians have declared local states of emergency with the days new executive order I know there'll be a lot of questions A team of attorneys has worked hard to craft that order and a frequently asked questions document to go with it to explain it as clearly as possible that F A Q document is available on the state's Cove It 19 website at N C d HHS dot gov Backslash Corona virus I want to stress that businesses that are allowed to remain open under the executive order will not need to have any extra credential or permit to continue operations Businesses should review the executive order and the F A Q document carefully to determine whether they may continue operations In cases where a local order and the state may differ the more restrictive requirement will apply We haven't expanded team here at the Stadio See that continues to work aggressively every day to locate and acquire needed personal protective equipment for our health care workers and first responders including masks gloves and gowns National Guardsmen are receiving inventorying and shipping supplies out quickly after they arrive at our warehouses We're also working to prepare for the surge of patients expected Our hospitals were identifying facilities that conservers overflow for our hospitals and the U S Army Corps of Engineers is helping to prepare facilities As the governor said North Carolina to 11 continues to help hundreds of people every day with assistance and information related to the Corona virus By dialing to 11 people can get help with food assistance paying rent and utilities and basic information is like He also said you can receive information from 211 by text just takes covert and see at 8982112 get regular information updates via text People at the federal state and local level are working hard to make our state safe with everyone's cooperation and positive attitudes were all going to get through this together Thank you very much Thank you Governor Thank you Mike And thank you to all who are working here at the Emergency Operations Center 24 7 And thank you for the great work you do for this state We're now gonna open it up for questions for myself for director spray Berry for Secretary Hooks or for Secretary Cohen And we'd like for you to identify yourself and your news agency when you're calling I do have another call that I have to get on fairly soon so I won't be able to stay all that long but will answer as many questions as we can get to So if we can get the 1st 1 that be great Hey this is Randall current BRL TV on the question for the governor for local counties or cities that are already understand her over shelter in place orders What Does your action change for them Yeah shouldn't order That applies everywhere in North Carolina if a local entity a local government a county or city has enacted and ordinance Ah if it is Maur restrictive the more restrictive part applies Many of these orders are very similar however to the order that we have issued But if there is a difference than the more restricted version whether it's the state order or the local order applies Thank you This is Travis Bain de B R E l I feel like we have not seen very much data backing up these moves whether it be modeling or other projections on hospital of expectations When are we gonna see that sort of thing We are examining data from other countries from other states that have experienced this before North Carolina I think it's pretty clear across the board that suppression of people coming into close contact with each other reduces the spread of the virus I think we see that right up front very clearly But I know Dr Cohen has been working with researchers and talking with them about analyzing this data and I let her let her address that Thank you sir And thanks for the question Yes understanding the complete picture of this virus is very important as we go forward Um and we're working aggressively to understand data here in North Carolina and from around the country and the world As we all learn more about this we're able to synthesize that information and it helps us Taylor are our actions as we go forward But as I said earlier we cannot wait for the perfect information to move forward here What we know is that we need less people to get sick at the same time so that we don't overwhelm the capacity of our medical system And that's the aggressive action that we have been taking and the additional step we're taking today So I urge everyone to be staying at home to abide by these orders so that we see less spreading of the virus and that we don't overwhelm our medical capacity And so we're able to address everyone's medical need when they have it Party Heinie Elizabeth's and Brown I'm reported the actual Citizen Times newspaper I understand that violations are considered a Class two misdemeanor blues responsible for enforcing the porter and how all those charges process Will people be detained I'm not quite sure I heard the question but it had to do with the fact that violation this order is a class two misdemeanor We hope and believe that people will voluntarily abide by this order because of the seriousness of it and the fact that this virus is being transferred so easily from one person to the other We're hoping everyone will follow the rules were we provided this order to law enforcement They're looking at it now What we want law enforcement to do is to encourage people to abide by the order and they see people that that aren't then encouraging them to do it If people continually and freight flagrantly violate this order than law enforcement and local district attorneys have the discretion under the law to charge that person and prosecute that person we hope it doesn't come to that But we want people to know that this is a serious order and that we want you to follow it I just is Ah Matt Mercer with the North State Journal Two questions First how was the list of the definition for essential businesses develop And second approximately 90 to 95% of tests have come back negative Well the D h s still be reporting those numbers as more test him and we've heard that they will not Well first we obtained the list of essential businesses by looking at other state orders and looking at the Department of Homeland Security which has a definition of essential businesses We also are reporting the tests that have been completed getting that information from his many private labs as we can and from the state lab and reporting the number of positives I'm gonna let Dr Cohen address what may lay down the road regarding testing Thank you Governor So as we as we go here we are trying to do a CZ much as we can to be transparent about the information that we do have as a governor mentioned We are trying to help folks understand how much testing is going on across the state And it is um extensive not just at our state lab but at all labs And we will continue to post that information We have changed the way in which we're testing because we want to be focusing on those that are are at high risk our and particularly on our health care workers those in long term care facilities and those who are at highest risk of of having bad outcomes from the virus So we're certainly gonna be prioritizing our efforts there As you all know we've been having in a number of supply issues both around testing and around personal protective equipment And we want to make sure that we're protecting our health care workers and slowing the spread And I'll go back to saying that is why we're taking the actions today to slow the spread of the virus Everything we can do and everything that you can do Um Thio heed our advice and stay home the better our state will be Thank you Question please Hi Uh done letter here from Nice Street journal I was just wondering Some states have released demographic data on who's getting the virus I was just wondering if I went through when that's gonna be released No I think it's important that the public know the demographic data on the virus I know that there their concerns about protecting people's privacy and I know that the Department of Health and Human Service is is looking at all of those issues And I let that dot co and tell you where we are in that process Thank you for the question Right now on our website If you go to n c DHHS dot gov backslash corona virus You can find demographic data therefore folks so you can see both um ah age bands as well as gender And of course a map of our our state We'd like to continue the same way in which we've moved towards reporting um our flu data As we mature this process we'd like to get to a place where we're able to say share that data in a timely way So right now you are able to get a fair amount of demographic data and we'll we'll add to that as we go Thank you You know Hi this is Melissa about from NC Policy Watch I just We've learned today that um some of the state prisons are severely understaffed Um and that central prison in the North Carolina Correctional Institute woman doesn't have any ventilators In addition to a number of other shortages Are do you plan on getting involved in any capacity with incarcerating people or offering any guidance other than what's being done currently which is just kind of cut off visitation and um keep an eye on who's going in and out of the jail or prison We take protection of our corrections officers very seriously and have spent ah the last year or so working hard to improve conditions for them and also raising their pay But now we know that this is a very difficult situation for all of them and we don't provide them as much help as we can We also know that when we have a confined space like in a prison or in a nursing home that there's a greater chance to spread the virus And that's why visitation has been restricted and why they've taken steps regarding work release in order to be able to protect people who are in prison right now and to protect the corrections officers But we have the secretary of the Department of Public Safety here with us today Eric Hooks and ah Secretary Hooks I'll let you respond to that Thank you governor and thank you for the question as well We have long since had planning teams in place and have been looking at the entire issue for our correction population and offenders within our facilities They do present some special challenges It's not new Thio many of you that corrections has been short staffed and we have been working diligently on that over the last several years Offenders who become sick not just for flu and other illnesses are afforded adequate medical care and those hospitals that are available to the public that we do utilize those two as well speaking to your question about ventilators and that is correct We do not have ventilators within our correction facilities on but those inmates are taken out for appropriate care Fox eight News Greensboro Um with many communities enacting their stay at home requirements at five o'clock this afternoon why is the state waiting until Monday Well we have spent time trying to make sure that we get this order right We've also taken aggressive action over the last week closing K through 12 public schools closing down bars and restaurants banning mass gatherings closing certain businesses that gather people together in closing businesses that provide personal service is where social distancing isn't possible All of those things have been done to work to suppress the spread of the virus We see cases continuing to to rapidly increase and so now we we want to put this stay at home order even though we've been telling people to stay at home this now orders it and we think that's important We also believe it's important that people need some lead time if they need to close their business if there's other things that they need to do to be able to have some time to plan for when this order goes into effect Monday at 5 p.m. However as I said earlier I'm asking people to voluntarily begin compliance Now we need to take action and we need to make sure that we're staying apart from each other and that we don't increase the chance that we transmit this virus from one person to the next Uh we've done a lot of tests but overall it's limited testing and we know that there are a lot of people carrying these via this virus that have not yet been tested and so we're going to rely on the data and this order in place Now I think it's positive for our state to help slow the spread Just carry Robertson with AP governor I assume you've been told more details about the stimulus package from Washington Is there anything in there that you're particularly happy about Or something that you did not see in there that you wish had been in there or that North Carolina legislators need thio you know to fix First I'm happy about the money that is going to go to small businesses through the S B A business says administration I'm concerned about their ability to get it out as quickly as we need it A lot of these small businesses are undercapitalized and are hanging by a thread right now is truly important for them to get the money I also think it's important that we're getting these checks into the hands of everyday people in North Carolina Most everybody has had this affect their family in one way or another I think the stimulus money the the checks that will go to everyday people is positive I would have liked to see more money appropriated to the states and municipalities There was $150 billion in there and that's good We were hoping that it would be 200 billion One thing we know that by delaying our taxes to July 15th in North Carolina that that puts that money into the next fiscal year and it could cause problems for our state this year so having money to be able to fill that gap is important I do think though that we're in good physical shape that we will be able to analyze this federal bill There's a lot in there and we've got people All of our budget people are looking very carefully at what it does and I've talked to both Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate I think everyone wants to try to get together to put a package that we can pass quick quickly That helps to provide whatever federal matches we need to draw down all the federal money to North Carolina and to try to supplement what holes we may see after we analyze all of it that we would want to reinforce in North Carolina I did work closely with all of ah congressional delegation and pushed them Astarte as I could on it as well as regular calls with the president and the vice president and other people in the administration I was like well with you what is it he's refusing to test people here in North Carolina How well or be in hell Packard are they I think the question was the test that are being used in North Carolina How accurate are they I think that the scientists believe that they are accurate They have been approved by the FDA and ah when these tests were run earlier in the process uh there were confirming tests that were done after the samples in order to make sure that uh the lab was approved and the method was approved I think sometimes with with the wake samples are collected sometimes there can be false positives and negatives And there's still a lot that we don't know about this covet 19 Corona virus But I think pretty accurately these tests are reflecting whether people are positive Hi this is Michael Highland from 17 I wanted to ask what specifically we will be looking at over the next 30 days to determine whether you'll either have to extend this order or be able to list it Is it going to do with hospitalizations the number of positive tests How are we all gonna know that we're approaching the end deficit Some point I think that we're going to be looking at all of those things Well how rapid is our rise of people who are getting infected How overwhelmed is our medical system to coming Are we running out of hospital beds Are we running out of I C U beds Are we running out of critical medical supplies in order to be able to keep people alive Every decision that we're gonna make puts public safety number one That's the number one criteria I think over the next 30 days this orders in effect along with the other orders that I have issued that we will be gathering more data not just from North Carolina but from all over the world To be able to tell us with more specificity what works the best What is the most effective things that we can do to slow the spread In addition hoping all the time that their drugs that are developed in order to treat the symptoms and then at some point in time along the way that there is a vaccination that can help prevent people from contracting this virus But that's a ways off And I think most of the public health officials will tell you that we're gonna be we're gonna be dealing with this for a wild and that it's not gonna be any kind of quick short term cure for this because we know that we've got to try to flatten the curve and try to keep our medical system from being overwhelmed So we'll look at all of that to determine whether we need to extend the order or change it in in some way Yes this is Bright Jensen from DVB T News and Charlotte Um Governor are you saying at a statewide level the problematic issues of getting test results back in a timely matter The health director of Mecklenburg County here said that it's been very challenging trying to get test results back in a timely manner Are you seeing that at a state level We are I will tell you that our state health lab has a pretty good turnaround time The only problem with the state health lab is the limited number of supplies testing supplies that they have and remember going back to the beginning of this crisis we did not get the testing supplies that we needed from the CDC No one in the country did So we had to rely on other methods And I'm proud that Lap Core which is located in headquartered in North Carolina was able to step up and two put together a way that was a test that was approved The problem that Lap core has now though is that they are a national lab and they're receiving Test was collected samples from all over the countries all over the country and they are themselves seeing a backlog We're encouraging other entities to get involved in this But yes there is a wait for turnaround time But regardless of whether you are waiting for the results of a test if you do experience The Simpsons that you read about with covered 19 please get in touch with your doctor or another health care professional And if you don't feel bad enough to go to the hospital isolate yourself and make sure you don't go around anybody else in order to protect people in your family in order to protect people that you may see when you go out whether or not you have the virus And that is what a lot of the doctors are telling their patients Right now we got to keep working on getting as many testing supplies and getting as many tests done as we possibly can But there are also has to be a priority and making sure that the test for adult results are analyzed for our frontline health care workers for people who are in critical condition or who are hospitalized and we think they have covered 19 It's unfortunate that we did not get the supplies that we needed but I'm I'm proud of the people The work that they have done to get as many tests done in North Carolina as we have it was Nick Oxygen WD TV and Charlotte kind of following up on the question Bret just as this is for Secretary Cohen on Monday Secretary you said that North Carolina was gonna be pivoting to a surveillance method similar to how the state tracks the flu Your office on Wednesday told me that I that state epidemiologist would be briefing reporters on what that surveillance looks like by the end of the week This morning Gibby Harris the health director of Mecklenburg County said that the county had received no guidance yet on surveillance methods So where's the process of surveillance putting that into play And in light of that or an absence of that life really testing how ca North Carolinians Be sure that you guys have the data you need to make a decision or thank you for the question Obviously the governor's announcement today took precedent over having our epidemiologist brief further on our surveillance method But I'm sure we'll make time for that as we go forward next week What I would say is that we are working on making sure that we're getting a complete picture of this virus It's important as we move forward But as I said earlier we don't have the luxury of time to wait for the perfect data And so we're needing to make um the decisions now and I I applaud the governor for his decisive and um proactive ah addressing of this crisis to slow the spread of the virus and we'll be sure to get back to folks on the details of how we're going to be tracking the virus as we go forward here Thank you I do have to go and take another call We're grateful for the questions that we've gotten today Police submit additional questions to our public information officer Please Everyone heed this order Make sure that you stay safe and that you look after your friends and family And let's all of us do our part here in North Carolina Thank you very much