NC COVID-19 Deaths Pass 300 as State Mulls Path to Reopening

Protestors during NC's April 22 'Reopen NC' protest in Raleigh. (Photo by Grant Baldwin for Cardinal & Pine).

By Billy Ball

April 27, 2020

Multiple Metrics Must Improve Before NC Lifts Orders

COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina surpassed 300 over the weekend, setting up a crucial week for state leaders as they develop plans for easing social distancing restrictions. 

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services announced the new coronavirus figures Monday morning, showing that the number of confirmed cases leapt from just over 8,000 on Friday to 9,142 on Monday. The virus has killed 306 in North Carolina.

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen is expected to address the media and the public Monday afternoon to give an update on North Carolina’s progress.

According to Cohen’s agency, 473 in the state are currently hospitalized by the dangerous virus, which has been detected in 95 of 100 counties.

Gov. Roy Cooper resisted calls last week to lower restrictions in counties that have been less impacted by the virus, citing COVID-19’s highly contagious nature. “This virus does not respect county lines,” Cooper said last week.

New cases are still on the rise, and officials are looking to see those figures plateau or decline.

As The News & Observer reported, state officials are hoping to boost the number of tests they complete each day. 

On average, the state completed a little more than 3,000 tests per day over the weekend, they are hoping to push that number up to a range between 5,000 and 7,000.

That’s one of a number of key metrics state leaders will review before progressing into the phases for easing restrictions. 

“I will not risk the health of our people or our hospitals,” Cooper told reporters last week in announcing those phases. “And easing these restrictions would do that. I know people want their lives and their livelihoods back and I have a plan to do that, but first we need to hit certain metrics because the health and safety of our people is first priority.”

Officials say they want to see a decline in cases with COVID-like symptoms, the number of confirmed cases, positive tests as a percentage of total tests, and the number of hospitalizations. 

The state still has a ways to go in reaching those figures, even as protesters urge Cooper to begin lifting social distancing orders as soon as possible. 

Cardinal & Pine will keep you posted on the latest numbers as they develop. 


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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