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WEB EXCLUSIVE As we near closer to the holiday season, coronavirus numbers in North Carolina have continued to steadily increase. Positive COVID-19 tests have remained fairly level since mid-October but are now closer to 7 percent, with thousands of positive cases being reported each day. Until we get back down to 5 percent positivity or below, the state is stuck at a stand still. In a press conference held Tuesday, November 10, Governor Roy Cooper and DHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen recommended that people who are travelling for Thanksgiving get a COVID test three or four days ahead of time—and stay home if the test is positive—wear a mask and social distance.
Phase 3 Extended
Due to the increased number of positive cases, Gov. Cooper has decided to extend phase 3 again, which would have expired this Friday, November 13, but will now last until December 4 at the earliest. Additionally, Cooper reduced the limit on indoor gatherings from 25 people to 10; outdoor gathering limits remain at 50 people. “The more people that are gathered, the more this virus can spread,” Cooper said in the press conference held Tuesday afternoon. “[This ruling] aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers. We need everyone to focus on keeping safe this holiday season.”
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Trending
With the increase in positive coronavirus cases also comes an increase in hospitalizations. Last Saturday, 97 percent of hospitals reported an increase of 35 more patients over Friday. Over 1,200 people are currently hospitalized across the state. “We are on shaky grounds,” Dr. Cohen said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Hospitalizations are up since September and are overall too high as we head into the colder months, and hospitals have stretched capacity.” Be sure to get your flu shot and continue practicing the three Ws in order to help save lives.
A Potential Vaccine
Last week, biopharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced their coronavirus vaccine was successful in first interim efficacy analysis, proving more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without infection. So far, the drug has not caused any serious side effects among participants. While the vaccine would most likely not be available for several months, it does provide a renewed sense of hope for the world in this dark time.
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