Gov. Roy Cooper gives update on coronavirus days after winning re-election
Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the coronavirus task force are giving an update on the virus in North Carolina on the same day the state recorded 2,859 cases, the second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
right. Mhm. Mhm, Right? Mhm. I don't think Good afternoon. This is the two minute warning. Please press one to ask a question. Mhm. Right. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. Good afternoon, everybody. And thank you for joining today's update on Cove in 19 in North Carolina. As of today, we have 285,661 cases, 2859 new cases reported since yesterday, 1193 people in the hospital, and, sadly, 4548 people who have died. We're thinking of everyone who's lost a loved one from this virus and praying for those fighting for their lives. The election on Tuesday, of course, has been a focus for many this week. But our work battling Cove in 19 continues without pause. This virus is still with us, and nothing has diminished our resolve to prevent the spread. Today, Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, will present an update on our state's key data trends. And it she'll explain. Our numbers remain high. And though we aren't seeing a huge spike or hospital over load right now, we need to get these numbers down. We know how the three W's wear a mask, wash your hands, wait 6 ft apart. Thes tools worked over the summer to lower our numbers, and they can work again now if we're vigilant, we'll need that vigilance as we enter the fall in winter months. Right now, I'd like to ask Dr Cohen to present the data for today. Dr. Cohen. Thank you, Governor. As you'll see in our data, it's concerning that we continue to see high Covic cases across North Carolina. We'll need to continue our vigilance with the three W's as we head into the holidays in the colder months. So as a reminder every week we look at a combination of trend metrics. We look at co vid like syndrome a cases we look at new cases, positive tests as a percentage of total tests and hospitalizations. We're also looking at testing and tracing capacity along with our supplies of PPE. Alright, so let's dive into the data. This first graph looks at people who come to the emergency department with co vid like symptoms. This is our earliest detection mechanism. This graph begins back in March of the start of the pandemic and taking a look at the yellow line. You can see that in the last 14 days it's been going down but does remain elevated. In our next graph. We look at new cases. This first graph shows you the trajectory of new cases each day. Since we had our first case back in March, you can see the Yellow Line has gone up considerably in the last month and we are experiencing highest that our highest number of day over day cases since the pandemic began free narrow in on this trajectory of cases going back now to the beginning of September through today, you can see a clear picture of what what's happening. Overall, our cases are trending up. Today we once again surpassed 2800 cases reported in just one day, and last week we had three days where we reported more than 28 cases each day. These are our highest daily numbers so far, and this is concerning particularly as our weather turns colder and people are gathering indoors, which carries a higher risk. Next, we look at the tests that are the percent of tests that are positive. This graph also goes back to the beginning of September. And looking at that Yellow Line R percent of tests that are positive has remained fairly level since mid October. However, it is now closer to 7% rather than the 5% we had been seeing back in September. We want to see this metric at 5% or below. On our next graph. We look a day over day hospitalizations. This graph also starts back in early September. This number has been relatively stable since mid October, but you can also see that are hospitalizations are up since September and overall were too high. As we head into the winter months when hospitals have stretched capacity even in non covert years due to flu and other viruses that are circulating in the winter, it's a good reminder. Don't forget to get your flu shot. Okay, here's where we are. Are surveillance data has been going down but still way above our baseline. It gets a yellow line. North Carolina's trajectory of cases is up. It gets a red X. North Carolina's trajectory in percent of test returning positive is level but running higher than it was in September. So this gets a yellow line and North Carolina's trajectory of hospitalizations is high, but level we still have capacity. This also gets a yellow line now on to some of our capacity indicators. Our testing capacity remains high, and I encourage people to get tested if they have symptoms or think they have been exposed to the virus. On our peak testing days, labs are reporting more than 40,000 tests per day, so this gets an upward arrow on contact tracing. More than 500 people have been notified of possible exposure to co vid 19 through our notification app. Slow Cove it and see you can join the more than 300,000 people who have downloaded slow Covidien see to their phones from the apple or the Google Play store. This metric gets a sideways arrow. RPP supplies remained stable, and we continue to distribute PPE across the state. This indicator also gets a sideways arrow. So as the weather's been getting colder, we are seeing significant increase in cases across the country and across the globe. I'm concerned that our numbers will trend even higher as people gather together for the holidays while the safest thing we can do for our friends and family and loved ones is to avoid getting together in person, especially indoors. I know that runs counter to our holiday traditions. I know folks want and need to be together during the holidays. So if you do decide to host or attend ah, holiday gathering, there are steps you can take to do it as safely as possible. We can't eliminate risk, but we can decrease it. My department will share some formal guidance about Thanksgiving early next week, but I'll touch on some of the highlights. As I know, people are already beginning to plan. First, do not attend or host a gathering. If you feel sick or have been diagnosed or have been exposed to Cove in 19 second, remember, we have. Still, we still have gathering limits in place. Smaller is better, and outdoors is better than indoors. If you have tables, have each group of people who live together at their own table and then keep tables at least 6 ft apart from one another. This is especially important as people will need to remove their mask, winning, eating or drinking. Make sure to clean and disinfect commonly, touch surfaces such a door handles or sink faucets. And finally, remember your three W's wearing a mask over your nose and mouth the whole time you are together, other than when actively eating or drinking. Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer and stay at least 6 ft apart, especially when eating or drinking one final piece of our guidance. That is, new folks can consider getting a screening co vid 19 test prior to travel or attending family gatherings. As we know, a screening test is by no means perfect, but it can catch some people who have the virus and don't have symptoms yet. Screening test can miss infections, particularly if you use rapid tests and a negative test on Lee gives you information for that one point in time. A negative test does not mean you're gonna remain negative, but simply put, think about getting a test before traveling or before gathering for holiday celebrations. If you test positive, stay home and isolate. If you test negative, it's not a free pass. You're still gonna wear a mask and practice all the three W's. Let's all keep our friends, family and loved ones safe this holiday season. Remember, it's not how well you know someone when it comes to wearing a mask. If they don't live with you, get behind the mask. Thank you. Thanks, Dr Cohen, for your continued good work and for that picture of where we stand today on a national level. This week our country hit a grim benchmark off 100,000 cases in one day. So it's clear that this problem is widespread and everybody in our state needs to take over 19. Seriously. I know that it's difficult and tiring after months of having to be careful. But don't let frustration and fatigue cloud your judgment when it comes to staying safe and protect protecting your loved ones. With Thanksgiving and other holidays fast approaching, many families are considering how they can celebrate safely. Dr. Cohen has just given a preview of safety tips, and her department will release more specific guidance earlier next week. For my family, we're gonna have hours with that. Just our immediate family. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and it should be a time for safety. Too many of us will be changing what our celebrations look like this year, And for those who choose to gather with small groups of loved ones, we want it to happen as safely as possible. Remember, even before Thanksgiving, even when you were just long as you with your friends that you don't live with or family that you don't live with, it's important to wear a mask. Your mask should not just be for the grocery store or the office. It's a simple, low cost and effective precaution we should take to protect, protect others in case we have covered and don't know it. Taking care of each other is a hallmark of what it means to be a North Carolinian. And as we continue battling this virus, let's get this pandemic behind us much more quickly and show that we care about each other by getting behind the mask. Also with me today is emergency management director uh Mike Spray. Very. We have Monica McGee and Karen Magoon, who are our sign language interpreters, and behind the scenes Jackie and Jasmine material are our Spanish language interpreter's Thank you for joining us today, and if we've got some media on the line, I understand. So if you can give the name of your organization in your name, and we'll take the first question. Our first question is from Kate Martin, Carolina Public press. Yeah. Good afternoon. This is Kate Martin with Carolina Public Press. Thank you for taking my call. I'm wondering, uh, you know, regardless of who the president is after the votes are counted, what sorts of resource is is North Carolina hoping to get from the federal government in the coming weeks and months? And if I could get Mr Spray Berries, answer on. This is Well, I would appreciate it. Thank you. You know, the house passed the Heroes Act, which had significant help for states all across the country helping us with our public schools. You know, our number one priority is getting our Children back in schools, and we know that it's more expensive in order to make sure we do that safely and that they need additional help. So we need help for our schools. We need help for small businesses, and we're gonna push very hard for additional help for our small businesses. We know we need continued help on testing and personal protective equipment were concerned that they have narrowed the federal reimbursement for who we can use personal protective equipment for, So we're concerned about that. We know that our cities and counties and state government needs a boost. And in the Heroes Act, it provides help for that. We know that our nursing homes and our hospitals and our medical system needs continued help. We know that our community, colleges and universities need help in orderto keep people safe. It is a long list, and I do believe that Heroes Act has a lot of what we were looking for and that we had communicated our long list of needs, uh, to people in Washington, and we know that that is going to be negotiated. It's disappointing that it hadn't been negotiated before now, but we're hoping that getting this election past us we really need Thio focus on the future and trying to work together as much as we can. And we hope that we could get significantly Mawr. Resource is from the feds and, uh, Mike, I'll let you address that. So Mike says that I've answered that. He says I've given a comprehensive enough list. So, uh, next question, please. Our next question is from Marine O'Boyle wbtv. Thank you. This is Maureen O Boyle from WBTV. Governor Cooper, are you at all considering moving back from where we are right now? Paused in phase three when you see these numbers going up. And as Dr Cohen pointed out, we continue to see these spikes, um, in numbers over 2800 for several days now. Well, we've said many times that we certainly don't want to, but that we're going to let the data guide our decisions. And I know that, uh, the department continues to gain information on a daily basis about what's happening in other states about what their research is showing them on the things that we can do to slow the spread of the virus. So I know that they are looking at a lot of that now and over the weekend will have announcement on what the next steps are for when the current order expires. Soon. But we're going to continue this preventive message that we have out there that we can get control of this virus. We hold it in our hands if people will come together and where the mask and social distance and that really doesn't cost us anything other than being vigilant, and we're gonna continue Thio. Emphasize that, and we'll have something on where we go after the next executive order. We'll have that next week. Dr. Cohen, would you wanna add to that? She doesn't. Next question, please. Our next question is from Michael Highland's CBS 17. Hi, Governor. This is Michael Highland from CBS 17. My question is related to what you were just asked, Um, as we're seeing what's going on overseas, with some countries going back into strict lock down loads. What is going on here in North Carolina? As you talk about the numbers being very concerning here, how different is the situation here? And it's something like that, even on the table looking into the winter months. So we are concerned about where North Carolina is, but we've all we've also done some things right. We took early action. We've made an early mask mandate, and a lot of people are doing the right things. And because of that, North Carolina hasn't seen a huge spike we've seen over the last couple of months and weeks, particularly an increase in the level of cases that air too high. But right now, we don't have overload at our hospitals right now. We don't have a massive spike, so we're doing some things, right? And it's not to say that we potentially couldn't get there like Europe has experienced there, uh, situation And what we would have to approach it in the way that we think is most effective. And I think we would be looking at other states and our health professionals don't don't think that we would approach what the way they're doing it. But right now, I think we've been rather successful in what we've been doing. But we know we need to do mawr. And we would like that to be everybody pulling together. Thio try to slow the spread of the virus because we do hold a lot of the answers in our hands. Dr. Cohen, would you like to supplement that? Okay, next question. Please. Follow up. Michael Highland's CBS 17. Uh, to what extent? If we were to go backwards on the reopening, would you need buy in from other states, Not just people here in North Carolina, Given that other governors have expressed unwillingness to rolled back restrictions under any circumstances given the virus is spreading across state lines. It's spreading everywhere. Did you need to be looking, at least regionally, for anything like that to be effective? You know, from the get go, We have wanted AIM or effective and coordinated national strategy in the fight against Cove It. I think it's positive where the federal government is moving on, trying to do the research and trying to get us a vaccine, and I'm hoping that that can come sooner rather than later. But I do believe we could have had, um, or effective federal strategy. And I think always you want tohave a cooperative effort moving forward. We do often meet together as governors, and I'm hoping that in the coming days, particularly if the fallen winner gets bad, that we can have mawr, uh, cooperative and coordinated effort both from the federal level and among states we have. I have joined a coalition, a bipartisan coalition of other states, to help leverage our buying power to and also to coordinate strategies on covert 19, and that has proven to be a positive thing that we've done. But it would be better if we could have a strong, coordinated national strategy that takes us seriously. And, uh, we'll see what happens in the coming days to see if that can occur. Next question, please. Our next question is from Brian Anderson with The Associated Press Hi Governor Brian Anderson here with the A P L have followed for you, but just quick housekeeping. Danforth said he tried toe call you multiple times on Tuesday to concede but couldn't get through. And I'm curious. Have you talked to him since? Or having a conversation? And also, Democrats were hoping for a blue wave on Tuesday, and it's clearly didn't get it. Republicans will maintain control of both the State House and the state Senate. Will Medicaid expansion continue to be a red line for you with any future budget? That's a lot of questions, Brian, but, uh, first, yes, I did talk to, uh, Lieutenant Governor Forest about 30 minutes after he had called. I was getting ready to walk up on stage when he was trying. I did not have my phone with me, but we had a good conversation. We wished each other well, and our families well was very positive conversation, and I commend him for his public service and being willing to get into the fray. Secondly, of course, I won, uh, Democratic Council of State members one. There was an increase in the number of Democrats in the state Senate. Uh, there is a lot of status quo, but I do think that my election and by the margin, it shows that people do want us to closes healthcare coverage gap, particularly in the middle of a pandemic when so many people don't have access to affordable health care. And I want us to try and find new strategies, uh, to work together to move forward. I mean, we all got elected, and the people of North Carolina expect us to do our jobs and toe work together to try find a way forward. And I look forward to doing that next question. Just follow up. Brian Anderson, The Associated Press. Hey, Governor, Thanks for bearing with me there. I appreciate it. Uh, how do you feel about the chances of Joe Biden and Cal Cunningham here in North Carolina? And when was the last time you spoke with either of them? I haven't spoken with either one of them in a while. And you know, I Noah's Muchas the people dio I know our state Board of Elections is working hard to make sure that the results reflect what the people have done and that every legal vote is counted and will await the results just like everybody else. Toe, see what happens. Next question, please. Our next question is from Robin Kennedy. Stocks 46. Hi, Governor. And Dr Cohen just wanted to check with you guys and ask if you guys have been able to tie any cove in 19 cases to any Halloween events across the state and or political rallies recently. Thank you. I'll let Dr Cohen address that question. Hi, Robin. I'd have to go back to the team and see if there were any specific Halloween related cases that we have found through our contact tracing efforts. Um, we're only just, uh, not that far away from Halloween. So maybe a bit of time before we understand that, um, there have been in in and coverage in the press already of a number of cases linked to various political rallies, somewhere where folks were positive and known to be at a rally, and we they've publicized that to make sure that folks who were at that event can go and get tested. Eso we do continue to encourage folks who have been to gatherings where folks were not wearing masks to get tested. So if you think you may have been exposed at any sort of gathering, whether it's political or not, um, we encourage you to get testing. There's more than 600 sites, many, many free testing events all across the state. Testing is very important, Um, to make sure, you know, if you could have been exposed. If you do have cove it again, Cove, it is something where you could have it for many, many days and not be showing any symptoms. And the issue is, then you could be spreading it to other people. So if you've been to one of those events, please do go get tested. Thank you, Thanks. Next question. Please follow up. Robin Kennedy Foxx, 46 have the next question is about schools and Charlotte Mecklenburg schools. One of the larger district, definitely the largest in our area, went back this week for K through five students and just wanted to ask Dr Coin's opinion as faras cases go in a school. If, say, there are just a couple of cases 1 to 2 that you're coming. Do you recommend closing down the school in a situation like that where they were just, uh, just a couple of cases at a school. Hi, Robin. Thanks for the question. And we really do need to tailor each situation to the schools. So what? We encourage folks, if there is a positive case to have folks reach out to their local health department now for our public schools, we have protocols for the schools to go through for having students return. Um, including having screenings, wearing masks, being socially distant, co hoarding, um, the students. So that way, if you have just one or two cases, it can be isolated and not need to close down the whole school. So, um, they're definitely situations where you could see a case or two and not need to close the school. There are other situations where if they don't know the the extent of the exposure, the local folks on the ground, depending on the situation, may make a different decision. So that's why we say, have the schools were closely with your local Health Department. Local health department can always reach back to the state. We're happy to consult and help and have our our teams make sure we're doing what's what's best to protect our teachers and our students and our communities. Thanks. Next question, please. Our final question today comes from Rose Hoban, North Carolina health news. Hi, Governor. High Secretary Cohen. Thanks for taking my question. Um, you know, there was an analysis that was published in the Times. Uh oh. Golly, now it's about six weeks ago. They're looking at the number of replication cycles and PCR testing, And some some experts are saying that perhaps these, um, it amplifies virus too much, and you'd be picking up cases that would not be, um, contagious. And so North Carolina was cited as being one of the eight that doesn't a number of replication cycles. Has this new thinking altered the way that you folks are doing cases? And have you done some rethinking around this? Hi, Rose. It's Mandy. I'll answer that one s Oh, what a zoo we've entered in, um, prior. We follow the manufacturer's guidance on how to run these tests. There's some very specific guidance on. How are our labs are meant to use these tests on Do follow the protocols that were approved by the FDA in us using those those tests. So that's what we do. We dio and use the manufacturers guidance. What I would say is testing is an important tool for us to understand who has co vid right now and who does not. What's hard about Cove it is I've been mentioning is that folks can have cove it and not know it and not have any symptoms. So we use test to identify folks who may have covert and not know it as well as if you have symptoms. Thio identify that it is co vid specifically eso We're gonna continue to to use those tests that we use as the manufacturer has told us to use them on. DWI will continue to use tests as an important tool to make sure we can slow the spread of this virus. Thanks. Great Rose, did you have a follow up follow up from Rose Wilbon, North Carolina home to thank you for taking a follow up? This is a slightly different tack. You know, both you and the governor have expressed your desire to be. The pandemics become less politicized. Um, you know, do you? What's your plan Going forward To be politicized that, you know, over time are you you know, like, how How how do you How do you do that in this? In this context, I think it's going to be a natural occurrence because the election is over. And so we were now past that. I think most every North Carolinian, every American is ready to move on from the rough and tumble election and to go go about our business of trying to fight this pandemic, get better paying jobs for people, get kids educated. So I think it's going to be a natural occurrence. We believe that, uh, since it won't be part of campaigns anymore that MAWR people will look at this holistically, and we'll try to come together to slow the spread of the virus because I do believe that our economy and slowing the spread of this virus is tied together and we want to do both. We want our economy to go up and want to spread of this virus to go down. And I think that working together we can get there and we won't have the distraction of this election where political the politicizing of the pandemic has was central in many things, many ways. And wearing a mask, whether you did it or not, seem to be a political statement. Now we don't have to worry about that. And hopefully we can move forward with science and fax and making sure that we're protecting the health and safety of North Carolinians. Thank you guys for joining us today and we'll be back with you at least next week. Thank you. Mhm.