RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina is making plans to activate a “small number” of National Guard soldiers to assist with making sure supplies get to where they are needed across the state.
Director of Emergency Management Michael Sprayberry made the announcement during a press conference with health officials Friday afternoon to update the public on the state’s ongoing response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sprayberry said the soldiers will “serve in a logistical capacity helping with warehousing and transportation of supplies and equipment.” He added that those supplies would largely consist of “personal protection.”
There is no word on when the soldiers will be activated or where they will primarily be operating.
Sprayberry also stressed the need for N.C. residents to not buy supplies, particularly food, in bulk.
“Please resist the urge to buy in excess - stores will remain open and there is not a food shortage,” Sprayberry said.
He said that anyone with questions about food assistance, help for families or coronavirus preparedness can still call N.C. 211.
The news conference was held as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that at least 137 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.
The latest count was updated just before 9:30 a.m. Friday. It’s not clear whether the number includes new cases out of Mecklenburg County, which have reached 43 in total.
Thursday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed North Carolina’s first case of COVID-19 due to community spread. This means health officials cannot track where the person contracted the virus - they had no contact with a known source and had not traveled recently.
- March 10: N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper declares state of emergency
- March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
- March 13: President Donald Trump declares National Emergency | S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster declares state of emergency
- March 14: North Carolina closes all public schools, bans gatherings of more than 100 people
- March 15: South Carolina closes all public schools, recommends limiting large gatherings
- March 17: North Carolina limits restaurants to carry out or delivery, expands unemployment benefits
- March 18: North Carolina confirms first case of COVID-19 from community spread
At least 38 North Carolina counties have positive coronavirus cases. During Friday’s press conference, health officials said that four patients are currently hospitalized.
An order for North Carolina remains in place to keep mass gatherings to 100 people or less.