Gov. Roy Cooper

RALEIGH — Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 key metrics and trends.

“We know that keeping kids learning in the classroom is the most important thing for our students right now,” said Gov. Cooper. “Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings and following the science is what we need to do. The faster we put this pandemic behind us, the sooner we can all rest easy and stay healthy.”

Currently, 109 school districts covering more than 95% of children have mandatory masks, according to the release. That is an increase from three weeks ago when only 74 school districts covering roughly 64% of children statewide were requiring masks. The first weeks of school have brought more COVID cases among schoolchildren, which can lead to quarantines when schools don’t have strong mask requirements in place. School districts should follow the CDC’s recommendation and require masks and keep other important safety measures in place as we continue battling the pandemic. 

“Thank you to everyone who is doing everything they can to help us get through this critical point in the pandemic and to protect one another,” said Secretary Cohen. “Please talk with your family and friends who are not yet vaccinated. Ask them to join you in vaxing up and masking up.”

State employee vaccination

On Sept. 1, in accordance with Executive Order 224, state cabinet agencies started requiring state employees to verify that they have been vaccinated, with consequences of weekly testing and required masking for not doing so. Many businesses in across the state are also setting a strong example by requiring vaccines for their employees and customers too. This protects them and their customers from getting sick, and it also protects the state’s economy by keeping stores and businesses open and encouraging customers to come while preventing the harmful impacts of COVID.

While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies are available if people have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19. Last week, Governor Cooper signed an Executive Order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access this treatment. The Order authorizes and directs State Health Director, Dr. Betsey Tilson, to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which if taken early can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Administrations of monoclonal antibody increased 73% during the last week of August as compared to the week prior. You can learn more at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/treatment.

To date, North Carolina has administered more than 10.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 62% of the adult population fully vaccinated. Sixty-seven percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 89 percent of North Carolinians 65 and over.

Learn more about the state’s vaccine distribution at myspot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). Use NCDHHS’ online tool Find a Vaccine Location to find a nearby vaccine site. Call the state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 888-675-4567. Ask your doctor about Monoclonal Antibodies or call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585 (English) or 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish).