CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As expected, easing restrictions and re-opening the state comes with a risk. The number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have gone up in North Carolina and Mecklenburg County.
On Monday, Governor Cooper said Mecklenburg County is on the list of a few counties in the state of concern.
“Our trends are going in the wrong direction, but our fate is not sealed here," Dr. Mandy Cohen said at a press conference Monday. "We have power over this, we can all take individual action together."
A spike in cases is a predictable risk to reopening. There are more people out, but some have been more lenient with safety guidelines.
“I think there is naturally some fatigue with any of these measures, people sort of let their guard down and stop doing them maybe a little sooner than they should,” says Dr. David Geier.
South Carolina has looser restrictions and is also seeing a surge in cases.
Several restaurants in Myrtle Beach are closing their doors again after employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Leaders in New York and Texas are threatening another lockdown if people don't take the virus seriously. Governor Cooper wouldn't go so far as to say moving back into Phase 1 is a possibility, but also wouldn't guarantee that the state would move into Phase 3 next week.
“We have a lot of our businesses that are open and a lot of things that are pushing our economy along," Governor Cooper said Monday. "We still have some restrictions that potentially we can ease. We're looking at these numbers and we're concerned about them."
He’ll announce if the state will move into Phase 3 and what it will look like early next week.
Staying in Phase 2 would keep businesses like gyms and bars closed, many already struggling to survive the shutdown. Governor Cooper wants to allow more time to pass before deciding.
“We believe we can flatten this curve and prevent a second surge from happening," he said. "We hope we can do that soon. I'm asking the people of North Carolina, let’s pull together so we can continue to move forward in easing restrictions. That being said, we will always do what’s best for the health and safety of North Carolinians."