Gov. Cooper: “We’re going to rely on the science, the data and the facts" to determine when to begin Phase 2 of reopening

Gov. Cooper: “We’re going to rely on the science, the data and the facts" to determine when to begin Phase 2 of reopening

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Gov. Roy Cooper said he doesn’t anticipate Phase 2 of reopening the state to take place sooner than when the current order ends on May 22.

“We’re going to rely on the science, the data and the facts that we have set out in order to tell us when to go into phase 2," Cooper said. “We know we need to boost the economy but you can’t boost the economy when people are not sure if they are going to be safe.

“We need to look at all of our indicators and benchmarks over a 14-day period. I don’t think it can happen any earlier. We are pleased at North Carolina’s numbers but understand we’re just into Phase 1."

Cooper emphasized the need for more testing as the state begins to ease restrictions.

“To enter Phase 1 as we did last week, we doubled our testing to between 5,000 and 7,000 tests a day,” Cooper said during a news conference Tuesday. "But we have to keep pushing for more.

"We need it to be easy and safe to get tested. We have many retail partners, including Walgreens, Walmart and Harris Teeter that are opening up testing sites for the public. Because these sites are federally funded, it doesn’t cost the person to get tested there.

"More testing at hospital systems and doctors’ offices is coming online every day. In order to help North Carolinians know where to get tested, @ncdhhs will begin posting a list of testing locations on the COVID website later this week.

Cooper also stressed the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and first responders.

“We’ve been fighting for more PPE and our manufacturing task force is identifying North Carolina businesses that can help. Several local manufacturers have shifted their production lines to make this important equipment,” Cooper said. "Our state has a rich history as a leader in manufacturing and innovation, and I’m proud that businesses in our state are leading the way to make this personal protective equipment right here at home. I want to take a moment to recognize them.

"Saab Barracuda in Lillington usually produces camouflage netting for the military, and Apple Rock, headquartered in Greensboro, specializes in trade show displays. Now they’re both making isolation gowns. This is a critical piece of medical equipment that’s been in short supply. We also have three firms – including ASI Signage of Holly Springs, Gilero of Pittsboro, and Bright View Technologies of Durham – now producing face shields. We have already received several shipments from some of these companies with more expected in the coming weeks.”

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