Gov. Cooper announces curfew amid rising cases, hospitalizations

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a new set of rules and regulations, including a curfew aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 amid rising case counts and hospitalizations.

In accordance with Cooper’s new Executive Order 181, individuals in all counties should stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless an exception applies, and many businesses must close at 10 p.m. The Order takes effect on Friday, Dec. 11 and will go through at least Jan. 8, 2021.

Much speculation surrounded the governor’s Tuesday news conference as trends continue to head in the wrong direction in North Carolina. New records for cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all been set in the past week.

“We’re examining what action may be needed to protect North Carolinians, but we need everyone to wear masks and follow safety measures. Our actions right now are life or death,” he tweeted Monday.

The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 p.m. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted.

As for the latest COVID-19 numbers, among the most concerning for state health officials is hospitalizations. As of Tuesday afternoon, 2,373 people are fighting the virus in hospitals across the state.

Here’s what Gov. Cooper had to say when asked by CBS 17 whether it’s clear yet if the curfews have worked in other states that have implemented them, “We’ve seen this work in Massachusetts and Ohio with some success. It’s hard to measure at this point because we are right in the middle of all of this, and a lot of other factors are coming into play. But, whenever you reduce the times that people are together indoors, you are making a difference.”

Cooper also warned more restrictions could come if the COVID-19 numbers continue to worsen, “That means additional actions involving indoor restaurant dining, entertainment facilities or shopping and retail capacity.”

The latest order does not reduce capacity at any businesses that are currently open. 

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The percent positive rate for coronavirus tests now sits at 10.5. Health experts say the rate should consistently be at 5 percent or lower before states significantly ease any restrictions.

The two most recent updates provided by Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen have focused on the vaccines that are soon coming to 11 medical facilities in the state.

If it all goes as planned, some Triangle hospitals hope to begin vaccinating health care workers next week.

In central North Carolina, Duke, UNC, and Cape Fear Valley are on the list. They have enough special freezers to store the vaccines in ultra-cold conditions necessary, but they need the go-ahead from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before they can start vaccinating anyone.

The first doses will go to workers in the health systems with the greatest risk of COVID exposure.

Here’s a link to what the governor’s new executive order does or does not apply to.

More headlines from CBS17.com:

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