Cooper signs order limiting evictions through end of year
Gov. Roy Cooper and state health and safety officials provide an Oct. 28, 2020, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
As of today, we have 266,136 cases, 2253 new cases reported since yesterday, 1193 people in the hospital, and, sadly, 4245 North Carolinians who have lost their lives. We remember all of those we've lost, and we keep them and their families in our prayers. North Carolina is seeing high case counts and hospitalizations from Cove in 19 as this virus continues spreading throughout our state. We know large gatherings can spread this virus virus rapidly, particularly when mass hard Nord. But importantly, contact tracers are finding that many cases come from smaller gatherings of its extended family and friends. Youth group outings, family meals, church. We too often let our guard down when we're with people we know and trust. But knowing and trusting doesn't stop the virus. Today we need people to hear us loud and clear. If you're gathered with anyone who does not live in your household, you are at risk and they are too. Wear a mask and practice social distancing. Many people can have the virus and don't know it It doesn't mean you don't trust each other. It means you care about each other. As the pandemic continues to affect our way of living and working, many families air facing difficult economic times. Two weeks ago, we started our NC Hope Initiative. This provides renters who are at 80% or less of the median income of a county with up to six months back rent and utility payments. The money is paid directly to their landlords and utility providers. It ensures renters constrained in their homes with the lights on. As I looked at the MAWR than 23,000 applications that we received in less than two weeks, I thought about how each one of those applications represents a family on the edge. Having to make hard choices also thought about how many families still face eviction. Some are able to seek protection under the current Center for Disease Control, the CDC moratorium preventing evictions for certain people. But there's a lot of confusions with landlords and tenants and the courts. Therefore, today I've signed a new executive order to prevent evictions in North Carolina. For people who can't afford the rent, the Council of State has concurred. Roughly 3 to 400,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent without today's actions. Almost a quarter of a million eviction filings could be submitted by January of 2021. Many families they're trying to do the right thing. They're having to make tough choices, but this virus has made it difficult. Today's order also builds on the CDCs federal eviction moratorium. It requires landlords to ensure tenants are aware of the 500 protections and how to claim them. This order makes it clear that the C. D C moratorium applies to all eligible North Carolinians, not just those who live in federally subsidized housing. And that ensures that the recipients of North Carolina's Hope program are still able to qualify for these protections. The result during this global pandemic will be Mawr, North Carolinian staying in their homes, Mawr landlords, getting paid rent and for your utility companies shutting off the power. That's a good thing. RNC Hope Initiative remains available to assist families with rent or utility payments. You can access it by calling to 11 or visiting NC 211 dot or back slash hope as we grapple with this pandemic. Let's remember that our economy will Onley be as strong as our efforts to stamp out this virus. A recovery depends on elected officials and everybody else taking this virus seriously and doing our part to prevent the spread. As we work toward a vaccine and more effective treatments, I believe a safe and effective vaccine will come and that treatments for those who get sick will get better. In the meantime, let's save lives and make our economy stronger by wearing a mass, washing your hands and waiting 6 ft apart. These actions are simple but effective. And if we all do them even with extended family and friends, we can get through this. Let's see, Let's keep taking care of each other and let our resilience take center stage. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Now, I'd like to ask Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, to share her update. Dr. Cohen. Yeah. Thank you, Governor. As we approach the end of October, we and many states and countries around the world are losing ground on the progress we had made here. in North Carolina are cases and hospitalizations continue to trend up, and the percent of tests that are positive is creeping higher. It's not all bad news, though. We are seeing what is possible when we work together. We've seen a significant decrease in clusters reported in October in places like food processing plants and construction settings. This has taken continued partnership, commitment and hard work across government agencies, community organizations, businesses and employees. What is worrisome is the increase in cases associate ID with clusters in religious and social gatherings. Let's work together to protect our family and neighbors. In these settings, meeting virtually is always best, but I understand people want and need to be together. So if you do meet in person, please take steps to keep. Everyone is safe as possible. Keep any gathering small. Hold them outside if you can, or open a window to increase ventilation. Arrange the space to maintain social distancing, especially when you're eating or drinking. Wash your hands a lot and importantly, where a mask and it's not about how well you know someone. We need to wear a mask any time. We are with people who don't live with us. And as we look forward to Halloween this weekend, we know holidays have been an opportunity for this virus to spread. We can celebrate Halloween this weekend. We just need to do some of the lower risk activities. I am planning to do a trick or treat scavenger hunt with my girls at a nearby park, and I'll also lay Halloween candy out on a large table outside our front door. That way, no one has to dig their hands into a candy bowl or even ring our doorbell. We have guidance on our website Cove in 19 dot N c DHHS dot gov with ideas on how to have fun this Halloween while minimizing risk. Remember key to our efforts to slow the spread of this virus and protect our friends and neighbors is wearing a mask. Beginning next week, we'll be airing a new ad that reminds everyone that the decision to wear a mask is not about who you know or how well you know them. It's going to be airing in English and in Spanish across the state. So let's take a look at that new ad right now, deciding when to wear a mask isn't about who you know or how well you know them. Yeah, just ask yourself, Will I be with anyone I don't live with? If the answer is yes. Get behind the mask. Help slow the spread of covert 19. Get behind the mask. Learn Maura. Covert 19 dot N c D H h s dot gov We can learn how to live with this virus, but living with it doesn't mean ignoring it. Living with it means practicing those three W's wearing a face mask, waiting 6 ft apart and washing your hand. So whatever your reason, get behind the mass. Thanks, Governor. Thank you, Dr Code. And we continue to appreciate your good work that P s a shares. A strong message for how we can take care of each other right now we've got a storm may be heading our way. So next I'll ask dot there. Director of Emergency Management Mike Spray berry to share an update about the weather. Mike. Thank you, Governor. And thank you for your leadership. Good afternoon. Today is day 233 of the State Emergency Operation Centers Cove in 19 response. The state emergency response team continues to push PPE out and made deliveries to 50 counties yesterday. The unified command continues to meet daily to discuss tactics, develop and execute strategies for co vid response. As the governor said, We do have bad weather coming our way. Hurricane Zeta will make landfall in southeastern Louisiana later today. The system will then quickly move northeastward, bringing periods of moderate to heavy rainfall, gusty winds and the chance of severe storms to portions of North Carolina. Our concerns are primarily for western North Carolina as they will experience heavy downpours leading to localize flash flooding. There is a tropical storm warning as well as a flash flood in high wind watches already in effect for much of western North Carolina. Impacts from gusty winds will be felt. Statewide. We're likely to have sustained winds of 20 to 30 MPH with gusts up to 30 to 45 MPH. The strongest wind gusts will begin in the mountains during the early morning hours and spread towards the northeast by late morning and early afternoon. Down trees and power lines are possible, especially across western North Carolina, where saturated soils will weaken trees. The mountains of North Carolina could see 1 to 4 inches of rain through tomorrow with isolated higher totals in excess of 4 to 5 inches. While the greatest impacts from the remnants of Zeta will likely be across western portions of our state, central and eastern, North Carolina will still see gusty winds and could see isolated severe storms tomorrow afternoon and through the evening hours. The severe threat may increase after sunset, so it's always important to have multiple ways of receiving severe weather alerts when storms are possible. Overnight gusting winds could also lead to sound side flooding along the outer banks. Our county partners air tracking this system closely and they're prepared to respond is needed were also staying in close contact with them. To ensure the state could provide resource is upon their request. As the remnants of Zeta impact our state, please visit drive in c dot gov for the latest on any road closures, enclosing just like the governor said. And just like Secretary Cohen said, we want to remember that whatever your reason, now is the time to get behind the mask where weight and wash This is how we slow the spread of the virus it works is always. Don't forget to look out for your family, friends and neighbors, and to call your loved ones daily guaranteed they'll appreciate it. What kindness and cooperation we'll all get through this together is one team, one mission and one family. Thank you, Governor Mike. I continue to be grateful to the men and women of Emergency Operation Center who are working here together every single day on Cove in 19 also with other disasters that might hit our state and our county partners across the state. It's a great working relationship, and we appreciate your leadership might. Also with me today is Monica McGee and Brian Tipton, who are our sign language interpreters and behind the scenes Jackie and Jasmine Motive here, our Spanish language interpreter's will now take questions from the media. And if you can give your name, your organization will take the first one. Our first question is from cold El Charco with W unc Hi, Governor. Thank you for taking my question. This is cold El Charco with W U N. C Just wondering as Copa 19 cases air spreading, you know, even more throughout North Carolina. How are we doing on getting more testing supplies out to local health department. We're continuing our efforts to provide MAWR widespread testing, Uh, some of the tests that we just received from the federal government we have shipped to schools and nursing homes, and we know that testing is a key to making sure we slow the spread of the virus. One of our challenges right now we've got a lot of testing supplies and a lot of places to g o. More and more people are hesitant about being tested, and we're encouraging people that if you think that you may have been in a situation where you may have been exposed, we want you to go and to get tested. It's so important. I like dot co and address that as well. Heikal Thanks for the question around testing. We're actually testing at some of our highest rates that we have throughout this pandemic. Um, and we continue thio, make sure that there are free testing events across the state. We have about 200 events coming up in just the next two weeks. We encourage folks to go to our website where you can see over 600 sites as well as 200 of those being free events across the state. In addition, as the governor mentioned, the federal government has shipped to us some of the new rapid by next now antigen tests these air slightly new and different kinds of tests that we've used in the past. We have used a mechanism to make sure to get those out to our local health departments. Eso they already do have those and are using those in in various settings where we see outbreaks, um, and others. So we're doing a fair amount of testing. But again, as the governor said, I wanna make sure anyone who has symptoms or thinks they may have been exposed to Cove in 19 to go get a test. Thank you. Next question. Please. Come on. Our next question is from Kate Martin with Carolina Public Press. Yeah, how the Governor and Dr Cohen. This is Kate Martin with Carolina Public Press on before short weeks, we're going to come upon the holiday season where lots of people travel and gather together to observe their traditions. I'm wondering I have two questions. If you could please share with us your families, Thanksgiving traditions and how that might look differently this year. Also, how do you think people can maintain their Thanksgiving tradition while living with this virus? Thank you. Well, thanks for that, Kate. Thes air hard questions. I heard Dr Francis Collins the other day. The head of the N i h who talked about his family tradition was having a large family gathering every Thanksgiving, and apparently they had done it for decades. And they've made the decision because they loved and cared about each other that they were not going to do it this year. And everybody was going to stay home with immediate family and they were gonna try to zoom and get together. And in that way, we're gonna We've had traditions of getting together with broader extended family throughout Thanksgiving this year, my family is just going tohave our, uh, our Children in, uh, Kristen and me and the animals. And we were doing that in order. Thio make sure as much as possible that everyone is safest possible. And, you know, I would recommend that people look at this. Look at the people who are vulnerable in your family realized that hopefully next holiday season will be out on the other end of this. And, you know, this is this is not going to be, uh, forever. We're not gonna be forever in this valley. We're working very hard. People are doing amazing research on vaccines and therapeutics here, and I believe that we're all gonna pull together Mawr and do what we need to do to slow the spread of this virus. And, you know, you really have to analyze this and think about what's best for your family in particular. So I'll let Dr Cohen go in tow that as well. Hi, Kate. Thanks really important topic. Um, obviously, I'm looking for just two this weekend and the holiday. Um, I want to bring folks attention to our guidance related to Halloween. Since it's it's this Saturday. Um, and there are ways for us to celebrate Halloween with lower risk activities, and I think you're going to see that we will put out additional guidance for Thanksgiving specifically. But we already have guidance related to social gatherings on our website. And it's some of the things I mentioned in my remarks, right. We know people want and need to be together and again, we would love for you to do that virtually. But if you're going to come together, keep it small, keep it outside. Make sure that you're being physically social distance. If you are together, um, make sure you're washing your hands often. We even have guidance on how to serve food. Um, and such toe lower risk eso We hope that folks will will take, uh, take that guidance and use it well and do look out for some additional guidance on from specific to Thanksgiving. But as you look forward thio Halloween this weekend know that we have guidance as well for the holiday coming up very soon, Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Derek Dillinger with Fox 46. Yes, this is Derek Ehlinger with Fox 46. I have two questions for Dr Mandy Cohen, and it actually revolves around one case specifically here. Mecklenburg County, actually, cluster 150 cases, uh, with the United House of Prayer. Are there any indications that this extends outside of Mecklenburg County? Because we know that there were a lot of attendees at that event specifically that, uh, we've been totally that we're not in Mecklenburg County. That come from other parts of the state. Also, other parts of the country as well. And how common are these? Uh, these events, these religious associated clusters starting to show the second question I have specifically has to do with re opening of schools. How are these rising cases kind of affecting the decision making in regards Thio at least. What? What's being done on the D. H s front of this faras The guy is concerned. Great. Thanks for those questions. Let me start with the United House of Prayer and the, um, the cluster The quite large cluster that we saw, Um and that is in the Mecklenburg area. I think you're exactly right in saying that it wasn't just Mecklenburg, that there were folks from other counties and from other parts of the country. I know the Mecklenburg local Health department has been working on doing that contact tracing on making sure that there are other congregations in different parts of our state. And so we have have alerted our other local health departments to make sure that they're proactively reaching out to make sure that we we are containing any further spread of this virus. We are seeing further spread of the virus in religious settings. We did post some new information about clusters, um, in in various types of settings on our website starting last week so you can see that there and you can see the number of clusters and religious settings has been going up. Um, and as I mentioned in my remarks, there are ways for us to gather more safely. Keep it small, keep it outside, wash your hands, be socially distant. So those are the things that can keep us all safe and keep this virus spread low. Um, as faras schools again, this is something that we continue to look at our our metrics and and our data. Um, I know a number of schools are going back in person. My kids will be back in school here in Wake County starting next week. Um, and again, this is about making sure that we're doing the safety protocols that air included in the guidance. No matter how the school is deciding to go back in person, everyone needs to wear a mask all the time. You need to social distance. You need to do the screening protocols. So again, I think if we can focus on that, um, you will also see on our dashboard that we report out clusters are in school settings, um, as well. So I think if we're focusing on the things that keep this virus level low, that we will continue to be ableto have kids be in our school buildings. Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Thomas Way break with W I T M. Hi, Governor, Thanks to your time, this is Thomas Labrecque at WTN. Stay three has more or less coincided with both campaigns, picking up seeing and making more visits to North Carolina. So it's hard to determine whether it's the bars or these rallies that have contributed to a rise in case counts. Has the state definitively linked any case are breaks to the definitive thes political events? And if there were any changes being made to keep those events from spreading in the next few days, we're concerned when there are any large gatherings, particularly when people stand together, not socially, distance from long for long periods of time and when they're not wearing mask and people usually coming from all over the place. I do know that there is a lot of work that goes into contact tracing, but that, uh, particularly people feel sometimes uncomfortable talking to contact tracers that are trying to find where things came from. And I know that there has been some real hesitancy by a number of people to talk, talk to contract tracers about where they may have have gotten the virus. So what? What we're gonna do is to continue to push. I'm I'm really concerned about campaigns that flying all over the place and come into North Carolina hold these large events, gathering a lot of people together, also bringing people in from out of state and then leaving. And we know 2 to 3 weeks later. Oftentimes you see spread that occurs, infections that occur. And we are particularly concerned about our rural areas, where hospitals are a little bit thinner and more difficult for them to be able to accept a lot of patients. I know Dr Cohen and her team have been on the ball checking with all of the hospitals, but we're at that point right now where we potentially could see some spikes like we've seen in other states. So we want to continue to push the the rules that we have and to encourage people to do better. And, you know, it is very frustrating when they're holding these events and then leaving. And, uh, North Carolina residents are gonna have to deal with this aftermath. Dr. Code. Hi, Thomas. Just a few other things Thio. Add what we're seeing on our cases now. It's not one setting one demographic, um, one location. As the governor said, we are seeing higher cases in our rural areas. Um, we're seeing mawr cases amongst those who are white. Eso those are some of some of the trends we're seeing not. I would not say it's any one thing related back to phase three. I think as we have seen temperatures go down, humidity go down. This virus is just able to spread mawr. Um, we're seeing social gatherings, religious settings, be places where this virus is spreading. It just reminds us that we have to be vigilant in all places that we are, whether we're with extended family, anyone who is outside our home. Um, we want to be doing those three W's and, of course, avoiding large events where folks would be gathered together without a masks and and close together. Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Dawn Bond with the News and Observer. Hi, John. Song with the Internet. Thanks for taking my question, E Want to follow up on the previous question? Um, so have there been of contact tracers Not identified Any of these gatherings, um, that have been related to cases. And then also, um, Governor Cooper, I understand you've got the White House Coronavirus Task Force report yesterday. Was there anything in there that new or different? That that we don't already know or that will change things going for us? We've continued to review the White House coronavirus task force every report every week, and we make responses to it. I just wish that the leader, the leaders of the task force and the elected officials would abide by it. It would help a lot, but I'll let Dr Cohen address those other issues. Hi, don. As we've talked about related to contact tracing, um, we we've been doing a ton of contacts to folks as we've had some of our highest days of cases. We've had historic high day of cases over the last number of weeks, which means a lot of folks to be contacted. Um, and what we're seeing is about the same trends that we have been About 50% of folks. Yes, it's a fly. Um, yes. 50% of folks. Um uh, we can't actually determine whether or not, uh we know exactly where they, um, where they contract contacted the virus from. So, um, about half of folks either don't respond to us at all, or when we talk with them. We can't isolate exactly where they have picked up this virus. What? We know it's in our communities. It is. It is. It is, as I'm saying it is in all of our communities, in all spaces. Which is why we have to be vigilant across the board. Next question, please follow up. Dons on news and observer. Just a follow up again on the task force report. So is there any new information that that we should know that that hasn't become public yet? And will there be state enforcement of the new executive order about evictions? Um, Faras landlord. Okay. Hi, Don. I'll do the first part on the White House Task Force report. I was just reviewing it before this and again, it's very consistent with what we've seen in the past. It continues to reinforce that we need to be vigilant on all of the things we've been talking about. It continues to point out that our cases are higher in our rural areas. It'll it points to a number of counties that we can see on our dashboard as well. You can see it going to our our dashboard right now about some of these counties of concern that have higher levels of viral spread. They are in, um, more of our rural counties, so that is where we're going to focus again. They also point out social gatherings, religious gatherings as places where we really need, um to focus our attention. But again, I think it's in line with what we've been getting in terms of recommendations from them all along. We all just need to work hard at that and I'll turn it back over the governor, and it's for the order on evictions. We certainly hope that landlords will obey this order. Many of them have obeyed the C. D. C order that's in effect but there's a lot of confusion about it, so this order puts it in place. And then if any landlord would file an eviction claim in violation of the order, we hope the court would recognize that and delay the action until the order has expired. The good thing about all of this, though, is that we do have this hope initiative, North Carolina Hope that is providing money right now for on behalf of people, toe landlords and utilities, and this is going to reduce the number of evictions itself. This order will help to stop things right now, and we can enter into these agreements and can get thes back payments made and try to get people back on their feet. Also, if we can get people pulling together to wear masks and social distance and slow the spread of this virus, that'll help us pick up our economy and do the things that we need to do to move us forward. But we we look forward to continuing to try to help there. A couple of other efforts going on to there's some, uh, cdbg money that Department of Commerce is working with local governments to help with rent and utilities were helping out small businesses over in commerce. With the murders program, a number of historically underutilized businesses have begun perceiving some additional help, and we continue to hope and to push that at some point soon, Congress and the president will come together and provide one MAWR relief package for the state. Cities are schools, uh, people who need help right now. Thanks. Next question. Our next question is from Reuben Jones Was spectrum news. Hi. Good afternoon. This is Reuben Jones from Spectrum News in Charlotte. I wonder, as you face these historic high days that you talked about what specific metrics are are you looking at? Because different things over the past six months have been more concerning over another, whether it's hospitalizations or is it the increasing positive activity rate to figure out whether new restrictions need to be put in place? Well, thanks. And we look at a certain number of metrics. We look at the number of positive cases that we have. We've been more successful in testing, so we know that we're gonna have more positive cases. But we also look at the percent positive, and we know we know, we want that to be around five or lower, but we've seen it creep up to six and even seven during this period of time. That's concerning not into double digits or twenties, like you're seeing in some states. But that number is concerning. We also monitor our hospitalizations. They have continued to creep up. Uh, we have plenty of hospital capacity. Plenty of I C u capacity, plenty of veteran, later capacity capacity. But you are concerned when you see a creep up. And Dr Cohen continues to be concerned about some of the smaller hospitals that are already feeling a little bit of the pinch here. And you know, we'll look at where our testing is. Our tracing is in the middle of all of this to make determination on what steps that we take next. We're already have made determinations to stay in phase three right now, but also the work mawr on enforcement work more with local governments on making sure that we're spreading the word about how important it is to slow the spread of this virus. You don't have anything that Dr Cohen. Okay, next question. Please follow up. Reuben Jones Spectrum news Secretary Cohen. I just wanted to follow up on the number you mentioned before. About half of the cases. You're having trouble pinpointing where that person got the virus through through contact tracing. That's been a problem with with so many counties with contact tracing, I wonder how often people that you're tracers air talking to they refused to give the information or are just ignoring the request from the tracer. Thank you, Ruben. Thanks for that. So when we're doing contact tracing, as I said, I think we had more than 70,000 contacts just last week alone with with folks. So folks are picking up the phone and thank you for that. Um, but we definitely know we're still missing a chunk of folks. And even when they do pick up the phone, folks, as the governor has mentioned, are hesitant to give that information. So I want to remind folks that it is confidential information. We never share that with another contact. Folks make it feel like, Oh, I'm telling on a friend that I might have been been near, but it's really important for us to track this down so we can get ahead of this virus. Make sure folks know to get tested. No, to stay isolated. There are also new programs that we have, in addition to the help related Thio, um, evictions and rent payments. We have some programs, particularly in some of our hardest hit counties, where we offer wrap around services to make sure that folks can stay home. We know that it is hard to get tested and then stay home if you are positive, because if you're missing work, um, that that's really challenging. So we're trying to do everything we can to make it possible for folks to get tested toe work with our contact tracers so we can get ahead of this. This virus Keep that virus level low again so we can continue to make progress here in North Carolina. Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. Hello, Governor. This is Richard Craver with Salem Journal. I've got one question, I guess for you and one question for Secretary Colin, Um, at this point, there's been about a week since y'all put out a recommendation to local communities local authorities to consider tighter restrictions than the state is doing in terms of social gatherings and bars and things like that. I want to see what kind of response have you all seen so far and how much of that response is falling along political lines. And then the second question is, How much of a factor do you feel like that? People still having a disbelief that there's either a covert virus out there or is still some sort of belief that it's a hoax that leads people not to adhere to the three W's and efforts to try to limit the spread? Heard of saying a few days ago when somebody had a mask? A mask is not political. It's patriotic overwhelmingly. Scientists say that the way to slow the spread of this virus one of the best ways is to wear a mask and social distance and make sure that you're washing your hands frequently. So we believe that maybe hopefully and I've said this a number of time from this podium. Once we get past this election, I think that that can help us in our battle to slow the spread of the virus because I think we'll find more people not using the political excuse, but more and more people who would be willing to follow science and do the things that we need to do to slow the spread. We know that our local communities, many of them, are working hard. Dr. Cohen is working closely with them as our our staff. Some people are analyzing what they can do. Others have stepped up mawr with enforcement, both informally and formally. But I'll let uh, Secretary Cohen talked to you a little bit about what's been happening since that letter. She and Secretary hooks. Thank you, Governor. Thanks, Richard assed part of that letter and are asked to about a third of the counties where we were seeing our highest levels of viral spread. We ask him to do two things. One was certainly on the enforcement side, but the other was to work with us and on a positive way to make sure to promote the three W's Onda work with their local businesses, work with faith leaders to make sure that we're raising the profile of of concern in their communities, but and also to remind folks that there's things we can do right now to make sure we're keeping virus level low. And on that side, I have definitely seen a lot of increased work at the local level where they're using social media. They're working with their business communities, working with faith leaders, Um, to make sure that we are doing all the things we can right now to slow the spread of the virus. I've also seen our local public health departments and others continue to step up their efforts around enforcement, and we work closely with them in that, um And again, I think if we can all focus on the things that work, that science tells us that slow the spread of this virus, that is a way that we can hold down this spread of this virus. Um, and we can all live with this virus. Thank you. Next question, please come. Our next question is from Jonah Kaplan with ABC 11. Good afternoon, Governor Cooper. Dr Cohen, Director Spray Berry, Jonah Kaplan here with ABC 11. So, in the past, I've asked you about what we can aim for in terms of metrics. Something we can work towards, like if we reach 5% cases or below, you will ease restrictions on bars or something. So now I'm gonna ask the inverse what's the threshold for moving backwards? Is it 8%? 10%. 12%. Will you give North Carolina and something tangible to understand your decision making? And what will moving backwards look like? Well, first, all of these metrics are interactive, Jonah, and we wanna make sure that we're looking at all of them before making decisions on what we need to do next. We're looking forward and hoping that we don't have to go backward because when we look at efforts that we can do positively together when we look at enforcement efforts both at the local and state level, uh, we hope to be able to see a slowing of the spread. And we have not seen a spike of this of this virus here like we have in other states. So I'm I'm feeling positive that we can attack this thing with the tools that we have. We are also having more of a focus locally, understanding that there are certain areas that air seeing mawr spread, and this is why we're working with them on we we may look Atmore objective where we're looking at all of it objectively, letme or specifics in some of these local areas. But I know Dr Cohen has been talking to some of them about that, and I'll let her say a word or two about it. Hi, Jonah. I think the governor is exactly right. We're continued to look at all of our metrics. They interact with each other differently. And so there haven't been exact cut points that we have put out in order to make those decisions. I think it has allowed us as a state to avoid both of the major surges that we've seen across the country. We avoided the surgeon Northeast saw we avoided the surge the South saw, and I'm hoping we again can avoid the surge that the Midwest and, frankly, some of our Southern state partners air seeing again, eh? So we're gonna focus on our efforts, and that's why I think it's really important that we continue to get out. The message is around three w. Specifically helping folks understand that social gatherings, religious settings are places where where this virus is spreading, making sure to wear the mask when you're around. Anyone who is outside your your home so those are the things will focus on and again hard to give exact cut points because, as the governor said, these metrics interact with each other. Um, and we don't wanna have to move backwards. That's always been a possibility. We've always said that we'll continue to watch our metrics before we would make any decision. Thanks. Next question. Please follow up. Jonah Kaplan, ABC 11. Thanks very much for taking a second question here. I know you've talked about your concern. There's potential when you have these political rallies. But I want to ask, Is there evidence of spread? It's been a month since a rally in Winston Salem. It's been several weeks since a rally in Greenville in Fayetteville, and now a week since Gastonia. Is there evidence of spread? And if not, what does that say about other big outdoor events, which could also include college football games? Thank you. Well, there's evidence of spread over our state, and we're seeing it concentrated mawr in rural areas, and we're seeing it concentrated mawr in the white population. So we are seeing spread, and there is no way that large gatherings over long periods of time with people standing together. There's no way that that helps things. And so I'll let Dr Cohen say a word or two e think she's got I mean, there's there's just there's that. It's not a good thing. And what we need right now is the opposite. We need people taking responsibility because we're continuing to see this spread. Most of the things that cause community spread aren't tied to any specific one event, because that's the very definition of community spread. I mean, they're just thes contact. Tracers can ask a lot of questions, and people can give them a lot of answers, and they just simply may not be able to determine exactly where the person got it. Even if they cooperate a lot, don't cooperate. A lot won't answer the phone. Ah, lot of them when they do won't answer the questions, but even when they do is often difficult to find where they got it, because we're in the midst of community spread, and that's why we've got to come together to fight this thing every step of the way. Next question, please. Our next question is from Katie Peralta, the Charlotte agenda I got. I had this is Katie Pearl with the Charlotte agenda. This is a similar question to the previous one, but, um, is there any possibility based on the direction of the data, that there will be tighter restrictions in North Carolina moving forward? And what could that look like in terms of business restrictions? Capacity limits? Potentially reversal of, um, you know, the opening of some business, etcetera. We've made the decision to stay where we are in the current phase, and we will look to see what the problem is, where the problems are before making decisions about going forward. Our idea is that we want to go forward here and we want to make positive progress, and we believe we have the tools in place. Thio try to make sure that we do slow the spread of this virus so we don't have plans to go back. And when we when this virus continues, if it continues to go upward and we start seeing spikes, then we have to see where the problems are, what the problems are, and then make a decision based on the science and the data, as we have from day one. You got anything to add to that. Okay. Next question, please. Our final question today will be from Joedy. McCreary with CBS 17. Yes. Thank you for taking my question. I wanted to revisit the first mentioned the increase in cases in the rural areas in the state. And I was just wondering if you had an explanation or in the insight into why that might be Dr Cohen. Address that. Hi, Judy. Thanks for that question we are seeing spread in our rural areas. And it actually mirrors a lot of the spread we're seeing across the Midwest. I think it is the We've been talking about the informal social gatherings as well as some of the religious settings. Um, that we're seeing some of the spread, but I I think it is making sure that we know that this virus is not just something that's happening in our urban, uh, areas of the state. It is happening in our rural communities. Um, you can visit our dashboard. It gives you a very good picture to understand. Where is this virus spreading by population. So not only just the total number of cases, but you can actually go right now, and you can cut that data by population at the county level. So you can see for yourself about, um, where that that virus is spreading. But this virus spreads when people don't do the three W's. It's that simple. If you're gathering together, particularly in larger groups, for a longer period of time without a mask, this virus spreads, particularly as we get into the winter months. This virus is it's even more hospitable for this virus to spread. So what we wanna make sure is that in all settings, folks are doing those three W's. We know this virus spreads when you're not doing the www. So let's all do this this step together where we can protect each other. Um, and we'll be able to, as the governor said, continue to make progress. No one wants to go backwards. Eso Let's all work together. Thanks. Thank all of you for being with us. Continue to practice the three W's and have a safe Halloween everybody this weekend. Thank you. Yeah,