Here’s Wednesday’s update:
- Governor Cooper announced yesterday afternoon that he has signed an executive order that modifies North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and begins the transition to Phase 1 of easing COVID-19 restrictions. The changes will go into effect this Friday at 5 p.m. Specifically, the order means:
- No more distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” businesses. Retail businesses can open at 50% capacity and will be required to direct customers to stand 6 feet apart, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, screen workers for symptoms and more. The Order allows people to leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open.
- Certain businesses will remain closed, including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-thru, take-out and delivery.
- Here’s more information about the Governor’s order:
- The order itself is here.
- This graphic explains what will change at 5 p.m. on Friday.
- This Frequently Asked Questions document includes answers to common questions about the changes.
- More info from the Governor’s office here.
- An update from New Hanover County on the expanded testing effort it launched last week: of 191 tests administered, free of charge, five individuals tested positive and 186 tested negative. Residents can call 910-798-6800 to speak with a Public Health nurse and then be scheduled for a COVID-19 test. More information from the county here.
- The Brunswick County School Board has decided on graduation ceremony policies for the Class of 2020 that will allow for small gatherings of groups of students receiving their diplomas in accordance with state and CDC guidelines. More from Brunswick County Schools here.
- Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc. announced that an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 virus has been administered to healthy patients in New York and Maryland as part of its clinical trials. Up to 360 adults will be enrolled in the trial, which is one of eight vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials.
- A warning about scams and fraud: the FDA has issued warnings to operators of two websites that market unapproved COVID-19 products. I won’t link to the websites here, but for your awareness they are “Antroids Dot Com” and “Foxroids Dot Com”. Consumers concerned about COVID-19 should consult with their health care provider and NOT buy medications online without the advice of a medical professional. Consumers can also visit BeSafeRx to learn about how to safely buy medicine online.
For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting Brenda Seaburg and her daughter, Heather Seaburg Massengill, who have been making adult face masks for the Smithfield Rescue Mission. And Brenda carries the masks with her to the grocery store to offer to those who don’t have them as well. It’s another great example of the many things being done to help out in the fight against COVID-19.
As always, visit coronavirus.gov and the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest on the outbreak.