Harvard researchers say nearly half of NC counties need stay-at-home orders

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Researchers with Harvard University say nearly half of North Carolina’s counties need to enact stay-at-home orders immediately.

The Harvard Global Health Institute maps the COVID-19 risk state-by-state and county-by-county.

States with more than 25 cases per 100,000 people are listed in the “red zone” a category researchers say requires immediate lockdowns.

Two-thirds of the counties in the greater Charlotte area are currently in the red zone.

Others, like Mecklenburg and Iredell, are listed in the “orange zone” which calls for rigorous test and trace programs to be implemented.

For small business owners, like the Bost family which owns Cabo Winery in Concord, who worry about public health and their own economic future, they find themselves in a tough spot.

“I think we do need to do a lockdown. But not to the extent we did the first time,” said Kendall Bost.

While there are no plans for stay-at-home orders in either North or South Carolina now it’s up to individual counties to enact measures.

“We shouldn’t be in the red. There are reasons we are in the red,” said Phillip Barrier, the County Manager of Avery County.

Avery was the last county in North Carolina to have a COVID case. Now, there are more than a hundred.

Barrier says the school district will go back to virtual learning until after Thanksgiving.

But lockdowns aren’t in the foreseeable future.

“We’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing,” Barrier said.

“We’ve challenged everyone to limit their social circle, do more take out, don’t spend too much time at the grocery store. Go to work, go to school, go home,” said Barrier.

Fox 46 checked with counties all throughout the area. Some of them are increasing safety measures like Chesterfield County, S.C. which instituted a mask mandate this week.

While others, like Gaston County, have no new measures planned but are hoping increased education will help slow the spread.

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