NC Healthcare Association expects ‘multiplying effect’ in coronavirus cases if ‘shelter-in-place’ order isn’t issued

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — In a letter to Governor Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Healthcare Association says it expects a “multiplying effect” in COVID-19 cases if the state does not issue a “shelter-in-place” order.

The association notes that it is “clear that cases are increasing at a rapid rate.”

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

On Monday, Cooper signed an executive order mandating that many non-essential businesses close at least until April 30. Those businesses include gyms, tattoo shops, hair and nail salons, and fitness clubs among other entities.

The healthcare association is calling on Cooper to issue a shelter-in-place order, or there may be a “multiplying effect” in cases across the state.

At least 13 other U.S. states have issued similar orders.

“It is imperative that we move quickly, as it will take at least two weeks after a shelter in place order is issued before we see a change in the trajectory of cases. Hospitals and physicians throughout the state believe this is the only resort left to immediately impact the growth and spread of the virus,” NCHA president Steve Lawler said in the letter.

CBS 17 learned Monday that between March 16 and March 23, the N.C. Division of Employment Security received 113,002 claims for unemployment benefits. About 87 percent of those claims were related to COVID-19, said DES spokesperson Larry Parker.

The agency is staffed to handle about 3,000 claims in one week. Parker said the agency is in the process of hiring 50 additional people to process claims and has current staff working overtime and on weekends.

“Nothing has changed in regards to independent contractors and self-employed individuals. Independent contractors and self-employed workers are typically not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. In order to be eligible, workers must have held a job considered covered employment. A person’s employment is ‘covered’ if it is through an employer that is liable under state and federal law to pay unemployment insurance tax on that person’s wages. Some examples of non-covered employment are employment by a religious organization, commission-based insurance and independent contractors,” Parker wrote in an email to CBS17.

Cooper said grocery stores will remain open along with restaurants offering takeout and delivery.

“I ask again – please do not overbuy at the grocery store,” Cooper said.

The governor said grocery store officials say their supply lines remain open.

“We know the effects of this pandemic will not subside anytime soon,” Cooper said.

Cooper said more than 8,000 tests have been completed and 10,000 tests are waiting to be administered.

Dr. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the CDC has issued new guidelines in terms of who is high risk.

Cohen said those 65 and older, people living in nursing homes, people with chronic conditions at any age as well as people with severe obesity, heart disease or diabetes at any age.

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