Gov. Cooper orders all K-12 public schools to close amid COVID-19 outbreak


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has issued an executive order that stops gatherings of 100 or more people and closes all K-12 public schools for at least two weeks.

Click here for CBS 17’s complete COVID-19 coverage

“Today, I’m issuing an executive order to stop mass gatherings of 100 or more people,” Cooper said during a Saturday afternoon news conference.

Cleaning crews at Fuquay-Varina Elementary on Saturday after a teacher tested positive for coronavirus. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

Cooper issued a recommendation earlier in the week to end mass gatherings but the governor said some ignored it.

“No concert is worth the spread of this pandemic,” Cooper said. “The people of our state are taking this seriously and we need concert promoters and event organizers to do the same.”

The governor also ordered all K-12 public schools must close for at least two weeks starting Monday.

“Closing schools now will give us time to further understand COVID-19 and its effects on the people of this state,” Cooper said.

Some school systems had already announced they would close but Wake County Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, waited until Saturday afternoon to close.

The governor acknowledged how these orders will be difficult for many.

“Hindsight is 20/20. I don’t want any regrets in our rearview mirror when this pandemic subsides,” Cooper said.

Earlier Saturday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 23 cases of COVID-19 in 12 counties across the state.

Wake County announced its 10th case of COVID-19 before Cooper’s executive order was issued.

The latest case is a Wake County Public School teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School, according to a news release Saturday afternoon from Wake County health officials.

The teacher began feeling ill on Tuesday.

“Wake County Public Health Division is currently contacting anyone who may have come into close contact with the teacher, in order to assess exposure risk,” the Saturday news release.

Johns Hopkins University reports 155,371 cases of coronavirus worldwide and 5,802 deaths related to the virus.

CBS 17 will update this story.

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