NCDHHS chief medical officer addresses required face coverings

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On the same day that the City of Greensboro imposed a face-covering requirement regarding COVID-19, the state health director and chief medical officer says it’s possible that face coverings could become a state mandate.

Dr. Elizabeth Tilson tells FOX8 that she and her colleagues at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have seen data from other US states that show a decrease in cases when they mandated face coverings.

She explained why North Carolina has not moved forward with a mandate as of today.

“When you think about wanting to change the behavior of a whole population, there’s a lot more than just a mandate. It’s really people understanding the importance of it and why and how,” she said.

Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to hold a news briefing this week to explain the next phase of reopening in North Carolina.

That update would come as cases and hospitalizations have increased this week.

Tilson says her team wants to be able to move forward in the reopening process, but face coverings will play a vital role in determining how and when that happens.

“The more people are using the cloth face coverings the more that we can continue to open up. Nobody wants to go back. Now if our numbers get really, really bad, then that is a possibility, but nobody wants that. We want to be able to keep going forward,” Tilson said.

Tilson says she and her team are also keeping a close eye on hospitalizations in the Triad, Triangle, and inner Mecklenburg County.

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