‘This is deadly serious’: Guilford, Alamance Counties added to critical ‘red zone’ on NC COVID alert map

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper said Guilford and Alamance Counties have been added to the critical “red zone” on the North Carolina alert map.

Ten more counties overall are in the red zone on the NC COVID alert map.

You can see the alert map here.

“This is deadly serious,” Cooper said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

“Our cases are trending up significantly,” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Human Services. “The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve.”

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said during the Monday news conference that 100 more people could die from COVID in Guilford County before the end of the year.

Vaughan issued an emergency declaration on Friday to reinforce Governor Cooper’s executive order requiring face coverings and reduced occupancy for indoor activities.

“This enhanced State of Emergency does not include additional regulations,” Mayor Vaughan said. “This is an effort to reinforce existing regulations, allowing the City Manager to deploy employees as needed.”

To reinforce the guidelines, business owners found to have been functioning substantially in violation of the guidelines and orders will be cited for such violations. 

A statement released by the City of Greensboro about he emergency declaration guidelines is provided below:

“They shall be cited and fined $100 for each person found to be on the premises or within any structure in excess of the limits imposed by the above-referenced Executive Orders for such premises or structures. This fine shall be a civil penalty to be enforced by City employees, such as Fire officials who make observations of non-compliant operation of structures in the City and render civil penalties. 

A warning will be issued for the first violation. Upon the second violation, any such offices and businesses shall be cited and ordered to close immediately for a period of 24 hours.  Upon the third violation, offices and businesses shall be cited and ordered to close immediately and remain closed for a period of 48 hours. A fourth violation requires offices and businesses to cited and close immediately and remain closed for 72 hours. The closures will be progressive according to non-compliance. Days when the business is typically closed are not included in the required closure.

‘I want all businesses to safely remain open and to safely send our children back to school,’ said Mayor Vaughan. ‘Until a vaccine is readily available, we must work together to stop the spread of Covid-19, by practicing the 3-Ws (Wear, Wait and Wash). Prevention is the key. Support our local business by using curbside or delivery options, especially if you cannot wear a mask.’

Offices and businesses should be in compliance with, among other things, the following specific requirements:

·         Applicable capacity limits clearly marked at all entrances

·         Compliance with such capacity limitations

·         Signage on all entrances giving notice that face covering, over mouth and nose, is a requirement to gain admission to any such office or business

·         All employees who interact with the general public wearing a face covering

·         Any employee who cannot maintain social distance from other employees consistently must wear a face covering

·         Social distancing must be maintained as per the Governor’s order

·         Hand sanitizer must be provided

For more information, resources and guidance about how offices and businesses may safely operate in the context of this COVID-19 pandemic, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ webpages for guidance and its COVID-19 dashboard.”

North Carolina currently remains in Phase 3.

Under Phase 3:

  • Restrictions for vulnerable populations will be lessened with encouragement to continue practicing social distancing
  • Rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and congregate care settings will continue.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will be reduced to 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended.

Timeline of NC coronavirus restrictions

NC entered first entered Phase 1 on Friday, May 8.

In phase 1:

  • Most businesses could reopen
  • Retail businesses reopened at 50% capacity with frequent cleaning and social distancing
  • Parks and trails were encouraged to reopen
  • Certain businesses (gyms, salons, bars, theaters, etc.) remain closed
  • Restaurants continued to be take out and delivery only
  • Gatherings were still limited to 10 people, but gatherings with friends outdoors were allowed
  • Employers were still encouraged to telework when possible
  • Childcare centers that followed strict cleaning requirements opened for working parents or those looking for work
  • Worship services of more than 10 people were allowed outdoors if socially distanced

North Carolina entered Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, May 22.

The state-wide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30. It was initially to be in effect for 30 days, but was extended until May 8, at which point the state entered Phase 1.

During a news conference on Aug. 5, Cooper said North Carolina will stay in Phase 2 for five weeks.

Under Phase 2:

  • Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Retail stores that are cleaning and social distancing are open at 50% capacity
  • Salons are open at 50% capacity
  • Working from home is encouraged
  • Bars and nightclubs are closed
  • Gyms are closed
  • Movie theaters are closed
  • Bowling alleys are closed
  • Indoor music venues and skating rinks are closed
  • Museums are closed
  • Arenas and stadiums are closed
  • Pools are open with restrictions
  • Long-term care visitation is not allowed

In North Carolina, about 1,601 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus as of 12 p.m. on Monday, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state set a new record on Sunday when 4,514 new cases were reported, breaking the previous record of 4,296 new cases reported Thursday.

On Monday, the state reported 2,419 new cases and hit a new record number of hospitalizations.

“I am very concerned,” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Human Services. “We are seeing warning signs in our trends that we need to heed to keep our family and friends from getting sick and ensuring our hospitals are able to care for those that have serious illness. We can do that if each North Carolinian wears a face mask over their mouth and nose anytime they are with people they do not live with; waits six feet apart and avoids crowds; and washes their hands often. We have reasons for hope. With promising news on vaccines, this pandemic will end. Until then, North Carolinians need to do what we’ve done throughout this pandemic — take care of one another.”

The cumulative number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina is at least 339,194 and 5,039 people have died. 320,990 are molecular positive cases, and 18,204 are antigen-positive cases.

There have been 4,965,564 coronavirus tests completed. NCDHHS reports that 6.6% of those tests have been positive.

6,002 hospital beds are currently available and staffed, and 14,839 are in use. Others are either unstaffed or unreported.

As of Monday, Nov. 16, there have been 276,132 people in North Carolina who have recovered (note: this number is updated every Monday afternoon).

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North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

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