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.