RALEIGH, NC- April 1, 2022 – Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 256 on April 1st to continue to support the ability of the state to respond to a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, by maintaining the capacitance of the public health system. This measure provides easier access to vaccines, tests and treatments as well as the flexible credentialing of health care workers and care facilities. He has extended his previous pandemic-related executive orders until July 15th.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently modified its key COVID-19 metrics and includes wastewater surveillance data, vaccination and booster rates, prevalence of variants across the state, and data on community spread from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, COVID-19 cases, associated hospitalizations, and other key COVID-19 metrics are in decline including transmission and severity of disease and hospital burden.
“While we have turned the corner on this pandemic, we must continue to make sure that tests, vaccines, and treatments are widely available and that we remain prepared for the potential of future surges,” said Governor Cooper. “The measures in this Executive Order are essential to North Carolina’s continued response to this virus.”
The Order extends provisions giving the NCDHHS Secretary flexibility to take actions to increase the health care workforce and to ensure continuity of existing operations in the state’s hospitals, adult care homes, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. The Order also extends direction for the State Health Director to issue statewide standing orders to facilitate testing, vaccination, and the administration of therapeutic treatments, including monoclonal antibody treatments and newly authorized therapeutic treatments.
Republicans in the General Assembly, meanwhile, are urging Democrat governor to move on from the pandemic. All Republicans in the House of Representatives penned a letter to the Governor advising him to end the government’s pandemic orders. The letter was dated the same day Cooper officially lifted mask mandates for state government agencies in his cabinet, though some agency heads retain authority to mandate masks in “high risk” settings, such as long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and health care settings. State Republicans failed to override Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 173 which would have made masks optional in schools statewide.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com