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Moving forward with COVID-19: Gov. Roy Cooper and officials announce updates to pandemic plan

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper
NC Department of Public Safety
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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper gives an update on the state's response to COVID-19 at the State of North Carolina's Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials held a media briefing Thursday to address how North Carolina will handle COVID-19 in the future. PRE’s Meredith Radford has this.

As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to decline in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper says the state is entering a new phase in the pandemic.

“One of individual responsibility, preparedness and prosperity. It’s time to chart the new course. This virus will still be with us, but it won’t disrupt us.”

North Carolina remains under a state of emergency, which was issued in March 2020. Cooper says this allows flexibility for the state as conditions change.

At the media briefing Thursday, DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley announced that the NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard website will soon change.

Through the pandemic, the homepage of that site has been updated daily with metrics including the newly reported cases, deaths and daily percent of positive tests.

Kinsley says reporting the positive test rate is no longer a focus, in part due to the increase of at-home rapid testing, which the state can’t track.

“Cases that are reported to us through other mechanisms remain an important metric for us to see trends and disproportionate impact on certain groups.”

Starting March 23, the homepage will focus on seven other metrics, including wastewater surveillance, hospital admissions and the prevalence of variants. The page will also only be updated weekly. Kinsley says this change reflects the latest science and current need.

For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.

Meredith Radford is a News Reporter for Public Radio East. She studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Meredith is excited to cover the area and contribute to the community. When not out reporting, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking as well as baking.