‘Get off social media’: Cooper urges vaccinations, mask mandates in school

RALEIGH, N.C. — In a news conference Thursday afternoon, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and for schools to mandate masks.

“If you’re unsure about getting one, get off social media and get on the phone with your doctor. That’s the best place for accurate medical information,” Cooper said.

According to Cooper, 109 school districts across the state, including more than 96% of children, have mask mandates in place. That is an increase from the governor’s previous news conference three weeks ago when he said 74 school districts, covering roughly 64% of children, required masks.

“Keeping kids learning in class is the most important thing for our students. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings and following the science is what we need to do,” Cooper said.

The governor is also encouraging schools to take advantage of free testing that’s being offered.

As for vaccinations, Cooper said he has seen more businesses requiring employees and customers to have the shot, and encourages more employers statewide to do so.

State employee vaccination requirement also began Sept. 1. State cabinet agencies started requiring state employees to verify that they have been vaccinated, or be tested weekly and required to wear a mask.

“We are 18 months into the pandemic and almost 9 months into the time vaccines have come on the scene. These infection rates, hospitalizations and death are not what we want to be seeing,” Cooper said

On Thursday, the state reported 6,290 new positive COVID-19 cases, with the percentage of positive tests at 11.3%.

3,815 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and there are 919 adult ICU COVID-19 patients. Since the start of the pandemic, 15,004 people in North Carolina have died from the virus.

While health officials urge people to get the vaccine, Cooper encouraged people with mild to moderate symptoms, to talk to their doctor about using monoclonal antibodies for treatment. Last week, Governor Cooper signed an Executive Order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access this treatment.

“Monoclonal antibodies are shown to be effective at preventing hospitalization once you have COVID. It’s critical to get tested as the treatment must be administered within 10 days from the start of symptoms,” he said.

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