Full interview: Cooper discusses pandemic restrictions
Gov. Roy Cooper addresses the possibility of imposing new restrictions in North Carolina to limit the spread of coronavirus.
governor. We hit fourth over 4000 Cove in cases for the first time, the highest single day record. You know, especially over the past few days, we've seen cases going up hospitalizations. What can you say about potential restrictions that are going to be put into place? We hit this peak back in July, and now we're seeing cases even worse with so much more open. Uh, what can you tell North Carolinians who want to know about what you're doing? Keep those numbers down low? We are deeply concerned about the number of cases that North Carolina is experiencing. We still have not seen the spike that a lot of others states have seen. But we know that the potential is there. We're particularly concerned about the percentage positive of cases that's creeping up, although it has not gotten into double digits yet. We will do what we need to do in order to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians. I do know that with the current safeguards that were in place with mask mandate, uh, social distancing recommendations, occupancy restrictions and, uh, the mass gathering limits that all of those if we could get people to comply that we could push down these numbers, and that's been our effort over the last several weeks to try toe work, to try to get people to comply. But we're gonna analyze all of the potential additional steps that we could take. And we know the order expires December the fourth. But it's possible that we might do something before that time. Do you? I'm just looking short term because I know Thanksgiving is next week. When you look at the next week until Thanksgiving, do you envision you having to come out and tighten restrictions? We will do what we need to do if the science and data tells us that we need to do that. And we are. I'm gonna say again because we said it time and again, please make sure your Thanksgiving plans are safer and smaller because we're finding that this is a place where communities spread is occurring in a significant way with informal social family gatherings, and we all want to see each other during the holiday. But we really are in a position where we can turn the corner on this pandemic. A soon as thes vaccines are beginning to be distributed and let's don't give up now when we do have people who are getting sick and dying, we can slow the spread to get across the bridge until the vaccine is here. And I know North Carolinians can do this on election that you spoke of kind of the utilization of virus and you need to get Have you seen that happen at all? If not, why not when it's happening? Well, first, we aren't having all of the political rallies where thousands of people are gathering together. You know, I fear we may be seeing some of the remnants of that with numbers that we're seeing here and across the country. But I believe is we're beginning this process of change of administration. I believe that things are going to get better. I think things have gotten better in that A number of states have seen such a bad situation that they've had to reimpose restrictions and a lot of people. Although there's controversy, a lot of people are accepting that because they're seeing hospital strained and people dying. So I think it's going to continue to get better, and particularly when we change administrations and there is, um, or coherent federal strategy. I think that it would be positive not only for North Carolina, but the country. When you talk about the possible need to step descriptions, how important is it? Hasn't help from the federal government. If in what you need to yeah, economic stent. Well, the Mawr voices that we can have that are encouraging people to wear mask and socially distance and abide by these safeguards, the better off that will be. And if we have a strong federal voice telling us that, then it's important. I am concerned because we don't have another package. Federal package. We need the funding desperately right now. I mean, we have been helping small businesses through our murder program. We opened it up to restaurants that are really struggling way. See that the demand is there. We see that the demand is there for, uh, are people who are on the edge and can't pay rent and can't pay for utilities. And our hope program is helping them. But all of that money is going to run out very soon. In a matter of fact, under federal law, it has to be spent by the deep December 30th. So if there's nothing to replenish it, then we have a significant problem on our hands. And so we're continuing to encourage the congressional delegation and the president to come together to put partisanship aside. And so let's pass a package to help us get through this bridge time until we can get this vaccine distributed and implemented in the population. To put this question up to the business owners who have had a really tough er, I'm thinking gyms and theaters and salons as you weigh decisions that you might have to make some tough decisions. What is your message to some of these businesses that might be impacted yet again? Gyms that are gonna have to close? Maybe well, first, we haven't made decisions about going backward in our safeguards, but we know that this pandemic has affected disproportionately businesses that gather people indoors. And that's just simply because that is where the virus thrives and where people become most infected. And so health officials and scientists have had to tailor our our safeguards in those areas to try to slow the spread of the virus. We want to continue to provide as much help as we possibly can to them. We want them to help us carry the message that our economy will be stronger and people will be healthier if they wear a mask and socially distant. And we can get our economy back going again. But we're going to continue to fight for federal funding. Ah, lot of them got some help with P P. P. We were able to provide additional funding, but a lot of these businesses are at the end of their rope. Some of them have already gone under, and we need to provide as much temporary help for them as we possibly can until we can get around the bend on this pandemic. I know you just mentioned before we're talking about the percent positive rate, which is yesterday. I think it came in at 9.2%. You said we're not quite a 10% yet. If we did hit 10% does that signal a different phase or an elevated level of concern? Well, today it's 7.9 and we try to look at a week to two weeks averages of percent positive, just like we do with cases we want it to be 5% or below. There's some states that way up in the high teams and we don't wanna be there. We know that we need to do a lot more testing, but the percent positive is really the number that tells us a lot about where we are. And that's why we use that as one of the critical numbers in our county alert system. It's still gonna be a combination of metrics that we're gonna look at in order to make decisions. And I think we need to call last question. Does anyone have a question about a visit today? You have any more question? I wanted to ask. I just have one more African. That's fine so far. I just wanted to ask you We today at 12 o'clock broke news of this company at Project I don't know if you can speak about this, but there was there was a development that's going up in our teepee where they're gonna be manufacturing, you know, Kobe, 19 vaccines. This is a huge 107 $195 million facility. Uh, what do you know about a project? And also, you know, is this going to help in getting a code of 19 vaccine to North Carolinians. We've been in contact with this company. We're very excited and are hopeful that not only will it create a lot of good paying jobs for North Carolinians, but it will help with protecting people from Cove in 19 here in North Carolina and across the world. Uh, to be ableto have everything that you need right there with to be able to inject the vaccine into a person. Obviously, they've already gotten federal funding for this. Very promising. I'm not sure they've gotten full federal approval yet. They may may or not have, but we're very excited about it and very hopeful. And I think I issued a statement about that today story that you could get to them on that. And why do you think they chose our teepee a couple of miles down the road? Well, well, first, we've become, ah, hub for biotech health sciences, and we are a place that the world looks to, uh, to help to manufacturer life saving medicines, run clinical trials, do research. It's a combination of our great universities, community colleges, our biotechnology center, and people know that they can get a good workforce here. So we're continuing to work to get this opportunity in crisis and to create better paying jobs. And we've got, uh, we've got a long road ahead where we can position ourselves to get people retrained and educated to make sure they get some of these better paying jobs to tackle our post pandemic economy. Economic recovery. We talk about the research, we're trying that topic. If and when you pass the take, how hard is it? Kind of put the genie back in even I'd like. So I think people are tired and frustrated. But we're going to continue to urge people to do what they need to do to get us across this bridge to the vaccine and save lives and to keep the economy going during that time. I think it's harder because a people have been through it for almost nine months now. But at the same time, we know a lot mawr about this virus, and we might be able to beam or effective in the steps that we take, and pulling everybody together to encourage compliance, I think is one of the most important things we've done. For example, When we started this thing in March, we didn't close down businesses like Bright View and others that were manufacturing. And we're doing things that we needed to do to keep people employed. And we knew that they could install the safety measures to protect employees. There's some businesses that rely on entertainment and people gathered together indoors. That makes that a lot harder. So we're gonna work with our business community. We're gonna work with local leaders and try to determine the best the best way forward. We Oh, we Oh, sure. Well, we'll do what we need to do to protect the health and safety of North Carolina's. We've done that in the past. We'll do that in the future. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. Alright, guys. Thank you.