RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference Thursday to reflect on how the state responded to COVID-19 challenges and how it can now move forward.
“Today we can look forward with the belief that the worst is behind us, and as we look ahead it’s important to take stock of how far we’ve come,” Cooper said.
Health officials said the virus has killed more than 23,000 people in North Carolina.
Cooper said North Carolina was among the lowest state for COVID-19-related deaths and job losses per capita. Statewide hospital capacity also never exceeded 91%.
“We made the right choices. We got our children back in schools. We kept our economy going. We saved lives,” Cooper said.
With vaccines and testing widely available, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said it’s adapting to the current stage of the pandemic with a Moving Forward Together plan. Health officials outlined the plan with four principles:
- Empowering individuals to make informed decisions for their individual lives in returning to normal routines.
- Maintaining health system capacity by continuing to coordinate with the state’s health care community.
- Collaborating with local partners to support resilience and speed recovery.
- Prioritizing equity in access to information and tools needed to protect against COVID-19.
>> Click here to read the full Moving Forward Together plan.
Cooper’s update came as virus metrics continue to decline across North Carolina and counties lift mask mandates.
“Over the last two years, we’ve written a history of hardship and resilience, setbacks and successes,” Cooper said. “But now, we enter the next phase. One of individual responsibility, preparedness and prosperity. This virus will still be with us, but it won’t disrupt us.”
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the BA.2 sub-lineage of the omicron variant has started to spread in the United States.
The number of cases linked to BA.2 jumped from 10% last week to 25% this week, according to health officials.
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