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Governor Cooper expected to announce reopening plan Thursday afternoon

Posted April 22, 2020 5:02 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to lay out a three-part plan Thursday that would allow data to determine when to lift the restrictions of his stay-at-home order, in place since March 30.

A source familiar with the governor's plans shared them Wednesday with WRAL News.

Cooper and his coronavirus advisors are planning for a phased return similar to what Pres. Donald J. Trump laid out last week.

They will be looking for downward trends in coronavirus deaths, use of intensive care unit beds, hospitalizations, overall COVID-19 cases and the percentage of cases related to testing. The source said deaths and ICU data will weigh the most in the calculation for how the state can reopen.

Phase 1 would allow for more freedom for people to leave their homes.

Phase 2 would likely be the reopening of certain businesses with strict social distancing requirements. Those where employees and clients come into close contact, like barbershops and salons, would probably have to wait longer.

The final phase would be mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events, and that could be well down the road, the source said.

At the current rate of cases, deaths and hospitalizations, the governor's executive order, scheduled to expire next week, is likely to be extended.

That also makes it unlikely that students will return to school this academic year. The governor has said he would have more to say about the rest of the school year by the end of the week.

New reported COVID-19 cases, deaths in NC

New laboratory confirmed cases and deaths are based on daily reporting from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services via the agency's COVID-19 dashboard. The dashboard started publishing case counts on March 13 and death counts on March 26. Because these case and death numbers can lag slightly based on the time it takes labs to process tests and health officials to confirm cases, we're also calculating a seven-day rolling average to show the curve of cases. NOTE: This chart now includes cases and deaths identified through antigen testing, which DHHS began reporting on its dashboard on Sept. 25. Read more about the corrections and compare the changes here.

Source: N.C. DHHS
Graphic: Tyler Dukes, WRAL

The source said there are discussions going on at the county and state level to consider small groups for remedial learning.

Cooper wants a phased-in approach based on trends so the state does not open up and then have to close again.

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