Gov. Cooper: Cancel gatherings of 100 people or more

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has recommended canceling or postponing all events or gatherings of 100 people or more starting tomorrow due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cooper said the directive aims to help stop the spread of the virus and to lessen the impact of the impact on the state’s economy.

“We also recommend employers and companies work from home if possible,” Cooper said.

The guidance is in effect for the entire state.

Earlier in the day, the governor’s COVID-19 Task Force met. Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said the state lab had tested 72 people, with the capacity to test about 700 more.

That’s up from earlier this week when the capacity was about 300. DHHS Sec. Mandy Cohen said it’s been a nationwide issue of getting enough of the chemicals needed to expand testing capacity. Supplies to test an additional 900 people are on backorder, according to DHHS.

Privately owned labs will be testing as well.

“The circumstances are constantly changing. North Carolina has more tough decisions ahead and we will be ready to make them,” the governor said. “It will save lives.”

State health officials said they do not recommend school cancelations at this time.

Johns Hopkins University reports 127,863 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 1,323 in the U.S.

As of Thursday, there are 16 presumptive cases of the virus in North Carolina.

The previous 24 hours have been a whirlwind of cancelations and postponements marked by the NBA suspending its season and President Donald Trump putting European travel restrictions in place.

This breaking story will be updated.

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