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For inauguration, Cooper to follow his own COVID-19 advice

Posted November 13, 2020 4:55 p.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2020 7:29 p.m. EST

— The start of Gov. Roy Cooper’s second term may feel a lot like the start of his first.

He’ll lead a state that split its ticket, leaving him a Republican-controlled General Assembly with which to work. And his inauguration party is likely to be small.

Four years after winter weather hindered Cooper’s first inauguration, concerns for the coronavirus will again leave Cooper with a smaller swearing-in party than his predecessors.

“I doubt there will be public events of any measure. It will likely be an intimate family swearing-in,” Cooper spokesman Morgan Jackson said.

Snow blanketed the Triangle in the days before Cooper took office in January 2017, prompting Cooper to postpone the inaugural ball and cancel most other events.

This year, Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, are encouraging North Carolinians to wear face coverings and avoid crowds to help curb the spread of the virus. Infections are spiking, with North Carolina’s rolling seven-day average at 2,300 new cases per day.

Reported COVID-19 hospitalizations in NC

The count of patients currently hospitalized is reported daily by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and reflects of a daily survey of hospitals. Because the response rate of that survey varies day to day, we're showing a rolling 7-day average of hospitalizations calculated since the state began reporting numbers consistently on March 24.

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

When Cooper is inaugurated in the first week of January, his team plans to practice what they preach.

“COVID makes (party planning) so much more challenging. The governor's primary responsibility is keeping North Carolinians safe,” Jackson said.

The details of the ceremony are still being worked out. However, a parade and other traditions appear unlikely. Jackson said Cooper looks forward to a time when they can celebrate medical breakthroughs as well.

“Supporters, we're going to have a party at some point. We're going to have a vaccine party,” he said jokingly.

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