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NC DHHS looking to work more with minorities

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is looking to partner with minority owned businesses to ramp up testing and tracing efforts for COVID-19.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina health officials want to partner with minority owned businesses and businesses that hire a diverse workforce as the state ramps up testing and tracing efforts. 

The state reported 674 new cases Monday, which was down from Sunday's 916 new COVID-19 cases.

"Testing and contact tracing are how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones and slow the spread of this virus.  Historically marginalized populations are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19," said Dr. Cardra Burns, Senior Deputy Director NC DHHS.

Dr. Burns says NCDHHS is focused on ensuring that "communities of color are front and center in our efforts to respond to COVID-19.  It begins with having people that look like us and come from our community doing this work."

Governor Roy Cooper encourages all citizens to honor June 1 as a day of mourning for the more than 100,000 Americans who have died from the virus. 

As of Monday, DHHS is reporting 29,263 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide. Sadly, 898 people in North Carolina have died as a result of COVID-19. According to DHHS, 650 people are hospitalized statewide due to the virus. To date, North Carolina has completed 421,908 tests for coroanvirus and the percent positive for those tests is 9%.

“This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that our death count is not just a number, it represents people, communities and families in mourning,” Governor Cooper said in a statement. “I encourage North Carolinians to join in this moment of silence in honor of the people we have lost and their loved ones who are struggling in the wake of this cruel virus.”

RELATED: Track COVID-19: Carolinas outbreak map

At noon on Monday, over 100 leaders of faith-based organizations across the country are leading a moment of silence. Local and state leaders across the country are also joining the call for silence. 

Governor Cooper will order all state flags to be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who passed from COVID-19.

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