Mar 23, 2020

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 23

North Carolina Governor Coronavirus Update
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsNorth Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 23

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that he has signed executive order closing N.C. schools until May 15 due to COVID-19. Read the full transcript of his March 23 speech here.

Governor Roy Cooper: (00:00)
… hardship and heartache for a lot of people, but they’re necessary to save lives. We are tracking our level of resources, both supplies and human resources, and right now, we need both. We’re recruiting volunteers and companies to supplement our healthcare workforce. We’ve already had 300 people reach out to us, and we need more. This includes clinical providers, such as doctors and nurses, clinical support, such as pharmacy, and imaging, and respiratory care, and facility maintenance, and administrative support. If you want to volunteer, and if you fit into one of these categories, go to NCDHHS.gov/coronavirus to learn more about how you can help.

Governor Roy Cooper: (00:56)
As we’re seeing around the country, critical supplies and equipment are also running low, masks, gloves, gowns. Our state is pursuing all available channels to buy more of these supplies, but we need more help. We’re also asking volunteers to provide medical supplies if they’re able, including personal protective equipment, like masks, gowns, gloves, goggles, and other gear. A number of people and companies are stepping up to do this and I thank them. I’ve also convened calls with North Carolina’s top manufacturers to discuss, among other things, how they can potentially switch their production lines to start making these critical supplies. I know many of them are already working on this, and I appreciate that spirit.

Governor Roy Cooper: (01:56)
For generations, North Carolina has been a leader in textiles and manufacturing. Now is the time for us to harness that innovation and leadership and step up. I appreciate everyone on the front lines of this pandemic, healthcare workers, childcare providers, custodians, restaurant crews, state employees, law enforcement, corrections officers, grocery store workers, and way too many to list. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen more than ever how connected every part of our society and economy are. As these dominoes have fallen one by one, so have our spirits at times, but I’ve seen truly amazing examples of people caring for each other, neighbors, friends, pastors, family, and even complete strangers. Even though we’re keeping our physical distance, our connections to one another are more meaningful than ever.

Governor Roy Cooper: (03:10)
Stay strong in those connections or reach out for help if you’re having a hard time. North Carolinians know how to help each other. With me today, I have the secretary of our Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, our Emergency Management director, Mike Sprayberry, our secretary of the Department of Public Safety, Erik Hooks, our superintendent of public instruction, Mark Johnson, our vice chairman of the State Board of Education, Alan Duncan, and Monica McGee is doing our language interpretation. We’re keeping social distance so you may not be able to see all of them in this frame, but what I will do first is to ask Dr. Cohen to come forward and to give us a report. Dr. Cohen.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (04:10)
Thank you, governor. Thank you for your willingness to take aggressive action to protect North Carolinians. It’s an honor to work for a leader who shows strength and grace in the face of these very difficult situations. The measures the governor has taken use the strongest weapon we have at the moment to fight COVID- 19, social distancing. The more we practice staying six feet apart, and washing our hands, coughing into elbows, the better the position we will be in.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (04:42)
We expect that folks in North Carolina go beyond these mandates, and are doing their part to limit the spread of the virus. And as the governor mentioned, we must be particularly vigilant for those who are at higher risk for more severe illness. This is a new disease, and we continue to learn information as it becomes available. Last night, the CDC updated who is at greatest risk, and let me go through that in detail.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (05:10)
First, they codified that it is those who are 65 years and older, in terms of age, that are at higher risk. Also, people who are living in a nursing home or long-term care facility. That’s why you saw today in the executive order we mandated further limitations on visiting and nursing homes. People with high risk conditions, including chronic lung disease, or moderate to severe asthma, or heart disease with complications. The CDC also included people who are immunocompromised or people at any age with severe obesity or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes and others.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (05:56)
The CDC also advises that women who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illnesses. However, to date, COVID-19 has not shown an increased risk. While children, as we’ve been talking about, are generally at lower risk for severe infection, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants, another area to be vigilant. This expanded definition for high risk by the CDC further emphasizes the need for all of us to commit to social distancing. We are working on additional interventions that we can do here in North Carolina to protect our higher risk community members.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (06:41)
With that, I know there’s been a lot of focus on testing and things you’ve had questions about. As the governor mentioned, the proof is in the numbers that the state has really been a leader in testing. We’re in the top 10 states of testing that has been done. We have tested more than 8,400 people with thousands more with samples collected waiting for results. This posture means we now have a snapshot of COVID-19 in North Carolina, and we know with certainty we have what’s called community transmission, meaning we don’t know how some people are getting COVID-19. They haven’t been exposed to someone who is positive or haven’t had a travel exposure.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (07:25)
The role testing should play in the first phase of an outbreak has helped us understand the virus, and as I said last week, we confirmed community transmission, so this signals that we need to move into the next phase of our response. We’ve been working very closely with our physician community on how to move into this next phase of response. I’ve spoken with thousands of doctors over the weekend, leaders from across our state. Our physicians and other clinicians are true heroes.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (07:57)
They know this unprecedented pandemic will require new ways of interacting with their patients with a big emphasis on telephone and video appointments. They know that there’ll be new ways of protecting themselves following the up-to-date guidance on what protective equipment they should use in different settings, and in the new ways that they’ll need to be leaders in their community. As doctors and other clinicians, we all share the concern about not wanting our patients to come to places where they could potentially get sick.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (08:35)
For those who think they might have COVID-19, and have mild symptoms, things like fever or cough, the CDC has now recommended that you stay at home. You can call your doctor to see if you need to be seen at the office or another setting, and remember, the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and recover at home. Your doctor, or your local health department, or your community health center can help you determine what is the best course of action for you. In looking at other countries and other states that are further ahead of us into this pandemic, we know we need to do everything we can so fewer people get sick at the same time. We need our medical systems to be there for everyone who needs the care, and it’s about saving lives.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (09:29)
We also have to acknowledge that social distancing is also virtually impossible in some critical settings, like childcare, but families, you can help. Many families have already chosen to keep their children at home, and if you’re able to do so, we encourage you to keep your children at home. However, as I’ve stated before, childcare is a critical service. We need that childcare to be available to keep our communities safe and healthy as part of the state’s COVID-19 response. We want to have quality childcare so those on the front lines can know that their children are being well cared for as they care for others.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (10:15)
Today, we will be sending out updated health, safety, and operational guidance to childcare programs. They’ll need to do these things in order to stay open so we can best protect the health and safety of both the childcare workforce and the children and families they serve. We know the childcare industry, like many others, are also struggling financially, and we’re also actively pursuing options for financial support to childcare programs in order to assure available childcare is there for those families who need it during this crisis.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (10:51)
Finally, we know distancing is hard, and these last few weeks has interrupted our daily lives, and with all the social distancing and the uncertainty, we know that that can give rise to anxiety, and depression, and other mental illness, and it’s important to take care of ourselves. Take a walk outside, give yourself a break from the news, after this press conference, check in with neighbors, friends and family, by phone or by video, and there are also professionals that can help. Many behavioral health clinics in North Carolina are ready to take new patients and provide care over the phone or by video. Their contact information and other resources is on our COVID-19 website under Managing Your Overall Health. Go to NCDHHS.gov/coronavirus. We will get through this and we should take advantage of this help that is available to us. Thank you.

Governor Roy Cooper: (11:57)
Thank you, Dr. Cohen. I’ll now call on our Emergency Management director, Mike Sprayberry. Mike.

Mike Sprayberry: (12:03)
Thank you, governor.

Governor Roy Cooper: (12:03)
The director, Mike Sprayberry. Mike.

Mike Sprayberry: (12:03)
Thank you, governor. Good afternoon everyone. I’m Mike Sprayberry, the director of North Carolina Emergency Management. Today is day 14 of our operations here at the state Emergency Operation Center for the COVID-19 coronavirus response. Over the weekend, we submitted a request to FEMA and the White House for a major disaster declaration for the state of North Carolina for COVID-19. If granted, this declaration for the state of North Carolina will authorize many of the same programs that are activated after a hurricane like disaster unemployment assistance, disaster case management, individual assistance for families, and public assistance for local governments. We expect a response to our request in the coming days.

Mike Sprayberry: (12:52)
Our logistics section continues to work hard to procure the personal protective equipment our state needs, including gowns, mask gloves, face shields, and other items for our medical facilities and first responders. That’s our top priority here at the state EOC. A team of 24 airman from the North Carolina Air National Guard are working to help receive, warehouse, and ship those a flight supplies of the as they are delivered to us.

Mike Sprayberry: (13:20)
North Carolina 211 remains available as a resource for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. People would questions about 19 can dial 211 and they will be routed appropriately to get an answer. 211 can help people with needs like food assistance, assistance with paying rent and utilities, and support for families and other basic needs. If you want to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also receive information by text. Just text COVIDNC, that’s COVIDNC to 898211 to get regular information updates via text. I want to remind everyone of the importance of getting information about COVID-19 coronavirus from reliable sources like the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services and your local health department.

Mike Sprayberry: (14:16)
We continue to see a lot of misinformation and rumor out there, especially on social media. Make sure you choose reliable news sources and consider the source of the information you receive. Again, we would always like to thank our local partners. You all are the boots on the ground, the tip of the spear. Thank you very much. Governor.

Governor Roy Cooper: (14:37)
Thank you, Mike, and I want to thank all of the people working here at the Emergency Operations Center, working 24/7 to protect the health of North Carolinians and to save lives during this pandemic, to get resources to our local governments and our local partners and healthcare providers. We did talk about public schools and I have two members of our education community here. First, I’d like to introduce the superintendent of public instruction, Mark Johnson.

Mark Johnson: (15:13)
Thank you, governor, and thank you to your team. First, we must absolutely thank all of the teachers and all of the public servants who work in our schools across the state. For many educators and parents, last week felt like an entire month. So much had to be accomplished in such a short amount of time, but thanks to the leadership and the dedication of the public servants at your Department of Education, local districts and schools all across the state, as the governor said, we have set up over 1000 locations to deliver meals, and we have already served over 1 million meals to those in our communities who need them the most.

Mark Johnson: (15:55)
Resources for remote learning, both digital and physical, have been shared, and teachers have been truly amazing in putting together plans for their students to continue learning during this unprecedented national crisis. Just today, my daughter’s teacher got their first grade class together using a video chat, and it meant a lot to that group of first graders who themselves are working through what all this means emotionally to them. So, a big thanks to her teacher. Knowing her teacher, my guess is it’s probably the first time she’s ever used Zoom, but she has become very familiar with it and she’s done that very quickly.

Mark Johnson: (16:37)
That great work is happening all across our entire state, thanks to our dedicated educators. Last week it became very clear that this was going to be a multi-month event. So, at that same time that we were preparing meals and preparing for remote learning, we also started to prepare for the work ahead. We already have teams who have started the plans for schools and for the legislative requests that will be necessary for everything that being out of school until May or later may require, eliminating testing, calendar flexibility, educator and staff compensation, and making sure that if you are a student who was going to graduate with the class of 2020 this June, that you still will be on track to graduate this June. We will now make those teams and that work official. It means working with the governor’s team, the state Board of Education, the general assembly and local leaders on what comes next.

Mark Johnson: (17:48)
My message to parents, if you haven’t already, now is the time to start a routine with your child. We cannot treat this as a long break. Your child does not have to master calculus at home, but help keep them engaged in their learning. Wake up at a reasonable time every morning, work on remote learning and read and write for a few hours every day, go outside, social distancing does not mean you can’t get fresh air, and go to bed at a reasonable time. Set a schedule and stick to it. That is exactly what my wife and I are doing with our seven year old daughter. For remote learning, you’ll be getting a lot of options from teachers, and we have even established a website with all kinds of resources. But, every chance I have gotten including now, I have highlighted one resource in particular that my own daughter is using. It has amazing resources for remote learning for every student in every grade, from our early learners to career exploration and personal finance lessons for high school students, and it’s completely free.

Mark Johnson: (19:07)
It’s called Khan Academy and it’s spelled K-H-A-N Academy.org Khanacademy.org. It’s one of the most advanced remote learning tools and it’s free. We will get through this together. In front of you today are state leaders who are also parents, parents of children who range in ages from young learners all the way to college graduates. We understand how difficult this is and we are grateful for the work and the sacrifice that educators and families are all making in these unprecedented times.

Governor Roy Cooper: (19:54)
Thank you, Mark. I’ll now call on the Vice Chairman of our state Board of Education, Alan Duncan. Alan.

Alan Duncan: (20:02)
Thank you, governor. On behalf of my colleagues on the state Board of Education, we want to thank Governor Cooper and in fact all the speakers on the stage for the leadership that’s being shown in this challenging time. We also want to express thanks to many legislators who have reached out with support for our schools. Our board particularly wants to extend deep gratitude to all of our educators and our classified school personnel. To no one’s surprise, they are stepping up in the midst of this public health emergency. It’s in their DNA, it’s who they are. As Governor Cooper has already indicated, our schools are playing a critical role in this public health emergency. While school buildings are closed for instruction, school employees will continue to ensure through their efforts that our most vulnerable children and their families have access to nutritious foods. This is extremely important for so many people in our state.

Alan Duncan: (21:03)
In partnership with DHHS, many of our schools will also be serving as emergency childcare sites for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, and we give thanks to those people on the front lines. During the last week, our school employees across the state have participated in these efforts. The teacher-student relationship provides extraordinarily valuable social emotional support for our children as our superintendent just referred to. These ongoing interactions provide some sense of normalcy and structure for students during a generally chaotic time. As we look ahead at this longer closure, state leaders will be providing further direction to local school leaders about what instruction should look like during these unprecedented times. We know however, that remote instruction is going to look different in communities across the state. Inequities in local resources and digital access further complicate matters. We will take all possible steps to mitigate these inequities and to articulate best practices as thousands of teachers work to apply those practices.

Alan Duncan: (22:16)
In the meantime, we are asking teachers and schools to do all that they can to do their very best to put children first. We are asking them to continue to engage with their students and we know already that they are. To that end, the state superintendent and the state board sought a federal waiver of testing requirements today. We expect that it will be granted in short order. The state board and Superintendent Johnson are already in close contact with general assembly members about the state level waivers that will also be needed to address COVID-19 for this school year. We will continue to collaborate with our partners in the general assembly and local leaders to address the policy and legal issues that will inevitably arise.

Alan Duncan: (23:02)
Consistent with previous guidance provided, teachers and school employees or to continue to work, and they remain eligible to be paid. Hourly employees remain very important for instructional purposes and to fulfill our urgent emergency needs. Local leaders should continue to assign duties to our valuable classified staff so they can keep working. We need their help to continue to improve our emergency efforts. Teachers remain working and their efforts are vital for supporting our children and their families. More guidance for school districts regarding employees is forthcoming, but it goes without saying that districts should be sensitive to employees’ particular health concerns and CDC and DHHS public health guidance, some of which we just heard. Remote work is a viable option that we all encourage, and local schools should take full advantage. Educators are optimists by nature.

Alan Duncan: (24:03)
Educators are optimists by nature. Glass is always half full. We will learn from this experience. As we look ahead, we also want to still believe that we will be able to resume traditional in-school instruction this school year on May 18th. We will reopen schools if and only if our public health experts say that we can. Parents and students know the value of direct instructional time and the value of face to face interactions between teachers and students. After a closure, we will want to return and spend time together to finish the school year and to properly prepare for the next school term.

Alan Duncan: (24:45)
We are particularly aware of how important to return to regular school will be for our seniors, the class of 2020. We are in direct contact with our partners in higher education and know, you seniors, that your unique needs as you prepare for further education and the workforce need to be fulfilled. We are working on that at both the state level and a local level to assure that you can have a smooth transition from the end of your high school career to your continuing educational or work career.

Alan Duncan: (25:18)
In conclusion, there will be hundreds of decisions to make, and that probably underestimates it, as we redefine school this year and beyond. We ask for your patience and constructive input as we make these longterm decisions. We are in stormy and uncharted waters. We almost certainly will not hit every wave perfectly, but bear with us, talk with us, and we will work to get through every one of these waves, because our children deserve nothing less. Despite these uncertainties, our core principle of putting all children first remains solid. It will guide us in every way as we move forward. Thank you.

Governor Roy Cooper: (26:01)
Okay. Thank you, Alan. We’ll now have some question and answer. We’re going to try this new way of getting reporter questions to us, so I’ll ask the technology people to open things up here.

Speaker 1: (26:13)
[inaudible 00:26:13] is now in question and answer mode. [inaudible 00:26:24] each question.

Governor Roy Cooper: (26:26)
If you can identify yourself and your news agency when you get on the phone?

Speaker 1: (26:29)
You have 11.

Nikki Hauser: (26:35)
Hi, this is Nikki Hauser with WITN. I’m wondering Biden and the Brody School of Medicine have called for a shelter in place. Do you see that anytime soon in the future for the state?

Governor Roy Cooper: (26:49)
As a state, right now we are preparing for every scenario. Right now we’re not issuing a stay at home order, but the situation is constantly evolving. We have taken action to close a number of businesses that provide for close contact where it’s hard to have social distancing or mass gatherings or these businesses that attract mass gatherings, and we are urging strongly the at-risk population that Dr. Cohen defined to stay home as much as possible. We’re urging people to work at home as much as possible.

Speaker 1: (27:37)
You have 11 questions.

Travis: (27:43)
Hi, this is Travis with WRAL. I wonder if you could be real specific about who will get paid as far as school employees through May 15th. TAs, bus drivers, all these different categories.

Governor Roy Cooper: (27:59)
We would like all of these school employees to get paid during the duration. That is what I have asked the superintendent and the state board to come forward with is a plan to do that. We’re talking to our budget people. We know that teachers are working. We know that there are people who are non-certified school personnel who are also working, and we want to make sure that they get paid, so we’re going to be working with budget, and we’re going to hopefully come forward with a plan to see how we can do that.

Laura Leslie: (28:47)
Governor Cooper, this is Laura Leslie with WRAL. You’ve been talking a little bit about lawmakers, and have you been having discussions with legislative leaders about calling them back into a special session? If so, do we have a timeframe for that?

Governor Roy Cooper: (29:02)
I have talked with legislators on both sides of the aisle, and I commend all of them for working together with our office. I think everybody realizes that this is an emergency public health situation, and we have to work together. The first thing that needs to happen before our state legislature comes back is we have to have a package passed by the federal government. Right now, they’re struggling with that, but I have been on the phone with our United States senators and members of Congress to urge them to pass a package that helps our workers, that helps everyday people, that helps small businesses, and also allows us to have flexible spending at the state level to make sure that we can get the supplies that we need in this time of a public health crisis.

Governor Roy Cooper: (29:58)
We don’t have a time set on it. I know that legislative committees have been established. Our team is going to work with them, and then what we would envision when we do reconvene the legislature is to have a state package that supplements the federal package. We’ve asked our federal partners up there to try to remove some of the match requirements that are required of state government and to have the feds take more of a responsibility there. But we need to match whatever the feds do and whatever match we’re required to match with state dollars. As we have in past disasters with hurricane, we need to make sure that we supplement what the feds do and provide additional help to the people of North Carolina.

Governor Roy Cooper: (30:48)
We know that we’ve got to protect the health and safety of people and to save lives, number one, but we also know that because of these restrictive measures that we are taking, that a lot of families are taking it on the chin, and they are hurting right now. We’ve had a 110,000 unemployment insurance claims just this past week, and we’re talking about a system that’s generally been doing about 3,000. The scale of that is astronomical, so we know a lot of people have been put out of work because of the restrictions and because of the slowdown in business across the country and the world for that matter. We’re going to work together and come up with a strong state package to do some other things that we may need to do to get the public through this in addition to funding.

Dawn Vaughn: (31:54)
Hi. This is Dawn Vaughn with the News & Observer. I wanted to find out how many of the cases are currently hospitalized across the state, and if you can tell us the number and the status of those patients.

Governor Roy Cooper: (32:04)
I believe we have 11 patients in the hospital right now. Dr. Cohen says that that is the case, and Dr. Cohen, if you have a comment on the status of those patients.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (32:22)
The way we are tracking hospitalizations at this point is going to change as we move forward, but we are tracking those through our local health departments. Our understanding is the number is on the low side. We believe some of those are just in what’s called acute hospital beds, but there are a number of patients who are in ICU beds. Obviously, we have been lucky enough in our state. We have not reported a death yet, and we know our medical teams across the state are working hard to make sure that folks can get the access to the care that they need.

Speaker 1: (32:54)
You have 11 questions remaining.

Laura Leslie: (33:02)
Governor Cooper, it’s Laura Leslie again with WRAL. Something we’ve been hearing a lot about from our viewers are concerns about prison and potential outbreaks in prisons. Can you talk at all about what the state is doing to manage that possibility?

Governor Roy Cooper: (33:15)
We are concerned about all of our confined populations, and that means nursing homes and also our prisons. We know that when people are confined, that there’s a much greater chance that the virus is spread. There have been visitor restrictions in our state prisons as well as restrictions in our nursing home, and our order today ups those restrictions. We want to make sure that people do not bring the virus into these facilities where people are confined. I don’t know if, Secretary Hooks, would you want to address the prison situation? Our Secretary of Department of Public Safety, Erik Hooks.

Erik Hooks: (34:03)
Thank you, governor. Thank you for the question. As the governor has mentioned, we have, for some time now, have restricted visitation in both adult and juvenile facilities. That is continuing, and we have working planning teams addressing the congregate living and the special situations that are in place with prisons, just like they are with nursing homes as well. We’re constantly engaged in those conversations with other stakeholders as well as we address that. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (34:35)
You have 11 questions remaining.

Michael Highland: (34:39)
So there’s Michael Highland from … Hi. This is Michael Highland from CBS17. I have a question related to the testing that’s going on, and then ultimately related to schools. If the new recommendation is that not necessarily everybody who shows symptoms needs to get a coronavirus test, how are you accurately tracking the spread of the disease in the state? Then how do you ultimately make a safe decision about whether schools can reopen or not?

Governor Roy Cooper: (35:07)
One of the good things that our state has done is even with a limited number of supplies that we had thought we were going to receive from the federal government that didn’t, we worked immediately to find other ways to get some of those supplies ourselves, and encouraged one of our great homegrown companies, LabCore, to began a testing process themselves. Consequently, we rank pretty high among states of the number of people who have been tested. About almost 8,500 tests have been completed. About 10,000 more samples have been taken and are awaiting time in the queue. It’s important to keep making sure that people who should get a test get a test, but we also know that we don’t want people who are sick bringing the virus out of their home and into a medical …

Governor Roy Cooper: (36:03)
… to bringing the virus out of their home and into a medical facility, or somebody who thinks they are and goes to the medical facility and doesn’t have it and potentially has more of a chance to get the virus. I do want Dr. Cohen to talk about this because I know that one of the main priorities we have right now is making sure that we treat those who are sick and that we save lives, and we’ve got to make sure that we preserve our personnel and our equipment for that purpose. But I’m going to turn it over to Dr. Cohen to see if she’s got additional thoughts.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (36:39)
Thank you, Governor. As we move into the next phase of work, we will start to do tracking of the virus very much in the way that we track the flu every season. It is not about necessarily positive lab tests. Rather, our epidemiology team creates a new surveillance mechanism as we go forward, and that will help us make further decisions, as you mentioned in your question, about school closures or other things. It will still give us a full picture of what’s going on in our state related to COVID-19 as we move into this next phase where we try to keep folks who are sick at home. We want folks who are sick to call their doctor, if they don’t have one, to call their public health department or their community health center, and then our epidemiologists will use our surveillance techniques to make sure we are fully understanding the virus as we go forward here. Thank you.

Shannon Morgan: (37:39)
This is Shannon Morgan from WBTV in Charlotte. We’re getting reports of people waiting between five and seven days for test results. Even as labs say they’re increasing testing capacity, can you explain that backlog and then what impact it’s having on the numbers that we’re seeing being reported of positive cases?

Governor Roy Cooper: (38:00)
Well, first, I will go back to the fact that the federal government did not give testing supplies that should have been given to the states to deal with this, and it could have been done a lot earlier. But now that we have more labs that have ramped up, they’re ready to take the samples, but they have to have a certain period of time in order to run those samples and get the results. That time is increasing that people are waiting for results. One thing we want to tell people, certainly if you’re waiting for the results of a test or you’ve had a conversation with a physician, telling you you might have COVID-19, you do need to isolate yourself, and you need to stay at home while waiting for the results of those tests because you do not want to spread that virus to someone else. I’ll also let Dr. Cohen come in and supplement that response.

Dr. Mandy Cohen: (39:02)
Sure. That was exactly right, Governor. I will only add that our state public health lab, we are able to turn around results quicker, which is why we are prioritizing testing in longterm care facilities, for our healthcare workers and other high risk populations so we can get those results process just a little bit faster if they go to our state health lab. With our private partners, we know it is taking a bit longer, and they’re doing incredible work trying to turn around a high volume of work here. I’d urge everyone to heed the governor’s call about if you are sick, to stay home and call your doctor. Thank you.

Matt: (39:59)
Hi, this is Matt with North State Journal. Was the Council of State consulted on this most recent executive order, and if so, did they vote to approve?

Governor Roy Cooper: (40:09)
We have been keeping the Council of State informed, and we have a briefing scheduled with them tomorrow. Concurrence for the Council of State was not needed for this order, and therefore, we did not seek it.

Speaker 2: (40:23)
[inaudible 00:40:23] one more question.

Dawn Fond: (40:30)
Hi, it’s Dawn Fond with the NNO. I wanted to ask about the shelter in place or staying at home, and I know that looks different in different cities and states, and what that would look like. That’s more than already about closing some of the nonessential businesses.

Governor Roy Cooper: (40:48)
Well, as you mentioned, we’ve already closed some businesses that have a greater risk of transmitting the virus. We’re urging people in the high-risk category to stay at home. We banned mass gatherings. We have closed our K through 12 public schools. What we are doing now is we’re coming up with an option for every single scenario, and all of that is on the table right now. We want to make sure that the public is protected, and that’s what we’re doing. [inaudible 00:41:29] ready to do is to get on a conference call with the president and the vice president. I’m going to continue to urge them to step up and to make sure that the federal government provides the supplies and equipment that we need and that they come together on a funding plan for not only North Carolina, but the entire country. We need them to stay up, and I’m going to head off to that conference call at this point. Thank you all very much for tuning in, and thank you so much for joining us. Please stay safe out there. Thank you.