Governor extends curfew for three more weeks; COVID-19 spread “critical” on Outer Banks

Governor Roy Cooper has extended the current Executive Order that includes a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., while all but one northeastern North Carolina county is in the red for spread of COVID-19.

“I’m extending for three weeks the modified Stay At Home Order that requires people to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.,” Cooper said during a briefing Wednesday in Raleigh.

“Our other strong safety measures remain in place: the statewide mask mandate, closure of indoor bars and limits on mass gatherings and retail establishment capacity,” Cooper said.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also issued a directive against leaving home for any reason other than work, school, exercise, health care needs or groceries.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recommended that individuals in all counties should get tested if they have gathered with individuals they do not live with, and that colleges and universities across the state delay the start of in-person residential living and classes.

An updated COVID-19 County Alert System map was also issued on Wednesday, which shows Tyrrell County is the only one locally in the orange, “substantial community spread” category.

The rest were in red for “critical community spread” using data collected between December 20 and January 2.

“Deciding to stay home or say no to an invitation to get together indoors can be hard, especially with people we know and trust, but it is necessary to save lives,” Cooper said. “Simply put, don’t go places indoors where people aren’t wearing masks.”

Vaccinations efforts have been ramping up over the last few days, with the first shot clinics for everyone age 75 and older held today in Kill Devil Hills, Currituck and elsewhere in the region.

“As we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are also helping local hospitals and health departments to support their vaccine efforts,” Cooper said. “Getting the vaccine out quickly is the most urgent priority right now, and we will use everything and everyone needed to get the job done.

“Secretary Cohen and her department are doing an excellent job onboarding more vaccine providers and coordinating efforts with other state agencies to help prepare those providers to get their supply out efficiently,” Cooper said.

The governor also expressed concern that some people, including numbers of workers at the state’s nursing homes, have refused to get the vaccine since it became available to them in late December.

“As more people get vaccinated without any serious safety concerns, we believe that many of those who are hesitant will gain confidence,” Cooper said.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.