By WECT Staff | February 18, 2021 at 12:39 PM EST – Updated February 18 at 5:09 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – During a news conference Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said state health officials were encouraged to see North Carolina’s COVID-19 numbers declining and remaining stable.
“For the first time since late November, the number of people hospitalized in North Carolina due to the virus has dropped under 2,000,” Cooper said. ““We’re tracking a decline in case numbers and seeing the state’s percent of positive cases go lower, though both are higher than we want to see.
“Day by day, North Carolina is making progress. This is good news. We’ll be examining that and other data as we work on the next Executive Order.”
He also said that inclement weather nationwide will cause the delivery the state’s COVD-19 vaccine doses to be delayed this week.
“Due to severe weather across the country, the CDC notified states across the country, including ours, that some vaccine shipments are delayed,” Cooper said. “This news is frustrating, but providers are working to get appointments scheduled and we’re pushing to get more vaccine for our state.
Cooper said that nearly 2 million doses of the vaccine have already been administered in the state.
During his news conference, Cooper discussed the deadly tornado that hit Brunswick County earlier this week.
Cooper toured the site Wednesday where three people died and 10 other were injured.
“The tornado caused significant damage, even demolishing some homes,” he said. “I heard harrowing stories from survivors who were glad to be alive. The state will marshal all available resources to help people recover.
“Right now, Emergency Management is assessing the damages to determine what kind of additional assistance may be available. Also, people in Southeastern North Carolina should be on the lookout for more potential severe weather later today.
“As we face the aftermath of a tornado and winter storms across the country – on top of a pandemic – many of us may be feeling worn down. Our state has experienced a lot of challenges. But North Carolinians are resilient. When we get knocked down, we get back up.”
Cooper also spoke about Senate Bill 37, a bill aimed at requiring an in-person option for schools in the state.
“I’ve communicated with legislative leaders that I can sign legislation requiring all school districts to return to the classroom if it requires compliance with DHHS health safety guidance for schools and protects the ability of state and local leaders to respond to emergencies,” Cooper said Thursday. “The bill that legislators just passed fails on both of these fronts. I will continue to discuss potential new legislation with General Assembly leaders before taking action on the bill I now have on my desk.
“It is critical for our students and teachers that we get this right.”
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