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Mecklenburg ready for phase one of reopening next week, health director says

"We’ll be ready to move into phase one next week," Mecklenburg County Public Health Director says.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Mecklenburg County Public Health Director says the county is ready for the governor’s first phase of reopening next week.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday there are 1,612 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County with 49 deaths. 

“Our trends and our daily case counts remain stable,” said Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris.  “They’re not increasing or decreasing.”

Based on the mobility tracking data available to the county, it appears residents are largely adhering to the stay at home order.

“I feel confident that unless there is some drastic change in the next couple of days, which we don’t anticipate, that we’ll be ready to move into phase one next week,” Harris said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper held a news conference Thursday afternoon and talked about the three-phase plan to ease restrictions.

"We remain optimistic the trends will be stable enough to move us into Phase 1 next week," Cooper said.

Cooper explained the three-phase plan is like a dimmer switch and lets the state gradually lift restrictions without a dangerous spike in infections.

RELATED: North Carolina extends stay home order, announces multi-phase reopening plan

RELATED: Mecklenburg County allows some businesses to reopen

"My message today is to stay vigilant," Cooper stressed.  "Right now, we need people to continue following the Stay At Home order so that we can move into the phases of easing restrictions. Complacency could risk lives and undo these plans."

Here is what is included in Cooper's Phase 1 of reopening:

  • Modify the Stay At Home order allow travel not currently defined as essential allowing people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware stores and other retailers.
  • Ensure that any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation
  • Continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people
  • Reopen parks that have been closed subject to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.
  • Continue to recommend face coverings in public spaces when 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible
  • Encourage employers to continue teleworking policies
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings
  • Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures may remain in place.

WCNC Charlotte’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wcnc.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Carolinas specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 704-329-3600. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning by subscribing to the Wake Up Charlotte newsletter here.

The state of North Carolina has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 866-462-3821 or read the frequently asked questions.  In South Carolina, for general questions about the coronavirus, call the DHEC Care Line 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.

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