North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Cooper Moves To End North Carolina's Statewide Mask Mandate

Jul 22, 2021

North Carolina health officials and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced that they will eliminate the statewide mask mandate and ease masking requirements in schools.

The new recommendations urge K-8 schools to require masks for students and staff while they are indoors but allows fully vaccinated high school students and staff to be unmasked.

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BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in our weekly segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.   

BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.  This week's COVID question comes from Charlene Reeves of Asheville.

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COVID-19 cases in North Carolina continue a “rolling simmer” with the 7-day average of new confirmed cases now hovering around 2,000.  At least 1,096 people are hospitalized, up from 1,064 from Friday. Meantime, state and local health officials are grappling with how to keep up  vaccine enthusiasm – just a few of the topics BPR’s Helen Chickering and NC Health News editor Rose Hoban tackle in their weekly coronavirus check-in.  

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BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.   

This week's question comes from Dr. Penny Brewster  of Franklin.

Pardee UNC Health Care

North Carolina now is now under a new – less restrictive -  pandemic executive order, an updated COVID vaccine schedule. And somewhere in-between in all – Governor Roy Cooper revealed announced his budget plan with a renewed push for Medicaid expansion. It is a good time for our check-in with North Carolina Health News editor, Rose Hoban.

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BPR is answering listener queries about the coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer. 

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BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.   This week's question comes from Bob Evans of Buncombe County.

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This week North Carolina health officials announced  that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be given higher priority for receiving COVID-19 vaccines.   North Carolina Health News editor Rose Hoban has been following this story and shared details with BPR’s Helen Chickering  during their weekly check-in. 

Bars in North Carolina  welcomed back customers indoors over the weekend after almost a year of outdoor only cocktail service.  On Friday, the Governor Roy Cooper’s new executive order took effect, allowing indoor service at bars with 30% capacity,  lifting the 10 p.m. curfew and  easing capacity restrictions for a number of businesses and venues.  During Wednesday’s briefing the governor stressed that the new order was part of his continued “dimmer switch approach”  noting that key indicators used to guide decisions throughout pandemic show state’s trends are moving in the right direction.  On the same day the order went into effect, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the country’s recent progress in slowing the coronavirus spread may be "stalling" as highly infectious new variants become more predominant.     BPR’s Helen Chickering discussed the new order and variants with NC Health News Editor Rose Hoban.

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As the country watches the COVID death toll cross the half million mark,  a Western North Carolina official has been taking inventory of the local impact.  As BPR’s Helen Chickering reports,  he ended up with a snapshot for the entire state.

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BPR is answering listener queries about the coronavirus in a new segment – Talk To Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.

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North Carolina’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have been declining over the past week, with just 3,287 people in the hospital (1/24) and 4,633 cases reported (1/25) according to the state health department dashboard.  State and local health officials caution that while the trends are moving in the right direction, there is still a long way to go. The governor is expected to hold a coronavirus task force briefing this week.  On Thursday, Health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen held the first media briefing under the new administration.       

Vaccinations are rolling out across Western North Carolina. Mission Health is the latest to start  administering the COVID vaccine to at risk health care workers.  The system received just under 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville started giving the shots on Tuesday (12/15)and  Cherokee Indian Hospital – on Wednesday.   The shots arrived as the state continued to see record case numbers and hospitalizations. BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in on the metrics and vaccines with North Carolina with NC Health News editor Rose Hoban. 

Three WNC hospitals are on the list to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments.  Earlier this week, North Carolina health officials announced that Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville would be among the 11 “early ship sites” that would hold the vaccine in cold storage during the approval process, which is expected to continue this weekend with the meeting of the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  

North Carolina broke another coronavirus daily case record on Sunday,  as more people get tested before Thanksgiving.    Gov. Roy Cooper will hold a coronavirus task force press briefing Monday afternoon.(11/23).  BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in with North Carolina Health News editor Rose Hoban about the metrics, concerns about hospital staffing and a look at how some nursing homes in North Carolina are keeping the virus at bay.

 North Carolina coronavirus cases dipped a bit on Monday after a week of steady increases including a record high of more than 3,000 on Friday.  Hospitalizations also hit a new high last week.  BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in with NC Health News Editor Rose Hoban  - with a close look at questions around one of the most common COVID tests. 

Photo credit: Amanda Mills/CD

North Carolina coronavirus cases dipped a bit on Monday after a week of steady increases including a record high of more than 2,900 on Friday.  State officials say they’re watching the trends closely  as we head into the holidays.   BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in with  NC Health News Editor Rose Hoban the risk that comes with being cooped up during cooler weather and a look at some new health trends emerging from the pandemic.  

North Carolina remains paused in Phase 3 of the governor’s coronavirus reopening plan as the state’s case numbers continue to climb.    BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in with  NC Health News Editor Rose Hoban about the trends and the state’s plan to distribute coronavirus vaccines.   Check out NC Health News Voter Guide on Health here.

Hannah Critchfield / NC Health News

The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is now over 231,000 with 1,719 new cases reported on Sunday.  Hospitalizations remain over 1,000 as health officials keep a close eye on trends, amid a week that saw the third-highest jump in cases since start of the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes as President Trump prepares to return to the campaign trail after recovering from COVID-19.  The virus is also complicating the voting process for some North Carolinians.   Just a few of the topics BPR’s  Helen Chickering unpacked with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban and this week.

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Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week, on the heels of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis,  they take a brief look back in history at other presidents who have fallen ill while in office, and forward as North Carolina moves forward into Phase-3 of the governor’s coronavirus reopening plan.

Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week they discuss the latest COVID-19 metrics,  what might be on the list as the governor lifts more restrictions in his coronavirus reopening plans and a newly released federal report that spotlights deficiencies in nursing homes across the state, which have been coronavirus hot-spots.

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Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week they discuss White House Coronavirus Task Force visit to North Carolina as the state’s COVID rate “simmers”, the continued rise in cases among inmates, and the criticism that the state has not done enough to help release more eligible people from prison early to help reduce the spread of the virus.  

Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week they discuss North Carolina’s move to Phase 2.5 of the governor’s reopening plan, what happened behind the scenes as lawmakers hammered out the remainder of the federal coronavirus relief package, and why some researchers are revisiting the question about conducting research in prisons.  

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Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week they discuss the quick- switch to all online-learning by two universities in the UNC system, the complicated challenge of communicating public health messages during a pandemic along with a check-in with primary care practices. 

Rose Hoban / NC Health News

Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week (after a week off) they discuss the seemingly stabilizing coronavirus trends as NC college students return to campus and public schools begin to open, the testing numbers error that shines a light on outdated data collection methods and  the coronavirus budget breakdown that included a “what if we had expanded Medicaid” moment.

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Every Friday, we check in with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban to discuss the latest coronavirus news making headlines.  This week, the conversation focused on  an investigation by NC Health news reporter Thomas Goldsmith about the quality of care  at state owned veteran’ nursing homes managed by a private company, and where 36 North Carolina residents of military service have died of COVID-19.

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North Carolina COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations keep rising, but NC is still in better shape than many Southern states.   However, the disproportionate number of cases among Latinx/Hispanic communities  continues to concern health officials and was the focus of Thursday’s coronavirus briefing that included high-ranking leaders from the Mexican and Guatemalan Consulate.  BPR’s Helen Chickering asked  NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban about numbers, the push in prevention efforts in Latino communities and more during their Friday check-in.

The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is hovering close to 100,000 with 1,820 new cases reported on Sunday.  Hospitalizations declined over the weekend but remained over 1,000.  The continued rise in new cases and hospitalizations prompted Governor Roy Cooper to extend Phase-2 of his reopening plan for another 3 weeks.  The governor also announced plans for K-12 schools this fall.  

Every Friday,  BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban and this week – there was lots to talk about.

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Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  This week they discuss the pause on the governor’s school opening plan, the politics of masks and the parallels between the coronavirus and HIV/Aids pandemics.

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