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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed in recent weeks amid the spread of the more contagious delta variant.

But despite the rises in cases, North Carolina appears unlikely to implement new restrictions.

It is instead moving forward with plans to eliminate its statewide mask mandate and ease masking guidelines for high school students starting on Friday.

This has prompted concerns from teacher advocates that it may be less safe to return to work.

The latest state data shows hospitalizations have doubled in the last two weeks and the rolling average of daily new cases has increased by nearly 200%.