Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina reported the highest number of hospitalizations in the state and the second highest number of coronavirus cases.
“We’re continuing to watch with concern as Covid cases and hospitalizations increase,” he said. “And though North Carolina isn’t a surging hotspot like some other states, we could be if we don’t stay strong in our fight.”
As of today, the state has at least 79,349 lab-confirmed cases of the virus, including approximately 2,039 new cases and about 1,034 people in hospitals, according to the governor. At least 1,461 people have died from the virus.
North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is in a "critical period."
“We need all hands on deck so we can maintain capacity for our health systems, get our kids back to school and reignite the economy. Our collective hard work to slow the spread of the virus has allowed us to avoid what we’re seeing in other states. But ongoing attention is needed," Cohen said.
On reopening schools: The governor said he will announce his plans for reopening schools next week. He said there are currently no plans to conduct pro-active coronavirus testing of K-12 students before they return to schools, but he encouraged the wearing of face masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the virus’ spread.
“We have been working on this for quite a while. This is a tough call – how to open up schools is something that every single state, every single governor is struggling with,” he said.
“I think it’s really important that we separate all of the politics here and talk about what’s best for our children. We know that they need to get back in school and do it in a safe way. And that can be a combination of in-person learning and remote learning, depending on the circumstances, depending on the student," he added.
Note: These numbers were released by the North Carolina Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.