NC public health leaders hoping to re-energize efforts to prevent COVID-19 spread

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina leaders hope to re-energize the community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as cases rise across the state and nation.

“We don’t want to go backwards. No one wants to go backwards,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

She’s urging people to wear masks, wash their hands, and social distance.

“We need to recommit to these actions,” Cohen said.

Public health researcher Pia MacDonald said she’s not surprised cases are going up as North Carolina continues to reopen.

“I think it has to do with restrictions but also human behavior,” MacDonald said. She is a senior research director of public health at RTI International, which is a nonprofit research institute.

People are mixing more as they shop, dine out, and socialize. State leaders said they’re monitoring a lot of data to determine if they’ll have to tighten restrictions again.

MacDonald said the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations is important to watch.

“The more and faster that increase is, the more dangerous the situation becomes in the state,” MacDonald said.

That’s because hospitals can be overtaxed, especially with flu season ramping up.

“If they see that the state’s resources cannot keep up with the demand, that’s when they’re going to have to make those tough decisions,” MacDonald said.

With Halloween and other holidays around the corner, MacDonald suggested looking at local COVID-19 numbers before making any plans.

And if you do decide to celebrate, do so safely.

“What I like to say is it’s not going back to normal. It’s going back to a new normal, preferably as innovative as we can get to go about our daily lives,” MacDonald said.

She also added if people take precautions by following the three Ws, that’ll also help with preventing the flu from spreading.

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