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NC health officials 'most closely watching' Charlotte area for COVID-19 trends

NC Dept. of Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen said more people are crossing state lines from SC for care and testing.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020, file photo, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper arrives for a news briefing on the coronavirus at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C. With reported coronavirus cases rising rapidly in many states, governors are getting lots of advice on how to respond. Cooper announced a statewide mask rule and three-week pause on further reopenings, moves that were supported by a nurses association. But Cooper has faced pushback from Republican lawmakers and small businesses that are still shuttered, including bars, gyms and bowling alleys, which have tried to overturn the governor’s orders through legal action or legislation. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the state's response to COVID-19 after health officials reported over 1,800 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday afternoon. The governor reports a large batch of personal protective equipment will be delivered to farm workers this week, and the state continues to find avenues to improve the long turnaround times for test results.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,815 new cases Tuesday, bringing the state's overall cases to 102,861. Hospitalizations are near their peak with 1,179 people hospitalized statewide with coronavirus. So far, North Carolina has reported 1,668 deaths related to COVID-19. 

Tuesday's update also marks six months since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States. The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in North Carolina on March 3.

When asked whether officials were concerned with virus spikes in neighboring states, DHHS Sec. Mandy Cohen noted they are "most closely watching" the Charlotte area, due to its proximity to the South Carolina line. Cohen said there have been more reports of people coming into Charlotte from South Carolina for care and testing.

Overall, Cooper and task force officials think North Carolina is faring better than other states that have become hot spots. In Cohen's words, the state is "simmering" but not "boiling over."

The governor believes the mask mandate, enacted June 26, has helped temper growth in the state's COVID-19 metrics, adding that there is more anecdotal evidence of increased compliance with the mandate across the state.

"People are becoming more aware of this and how important it is," Cooper said.

Cooper's update comes one week after he announced schools in North Carolina could move forward with Plan B reopening, which is a mix of in-person learning and remote instruction. Some districts in the Charlotte area are going further than that, implementing full remote learning for students when class resumes in August. 

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