NC health officials concerned COVID-19 cases could climb over holidays

NC health officials concerned COVID-19 cases could climb over holidays
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is recommending families who usually travel to see each other hold virtual Thanksgivings instead. (Source: Pixabay)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With Thanksgiving Day approaching, North Carolina health leaders are urging residents to avoid large gatherings over the holidays.

“I’m concerned that our numbers will trend even higher as we get together for the holidays,” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said during a Thursday press conference.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he plans to celebrate Thanksgiving with his immediate family.

Cohen recommends those who do host or attend a holiday gathering to practice the following:

  • Do not attend or host a gathering if you feel sick, have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19
  • Gathering limits are in place and “smaller is better and outdoor is better than indoor”
  • Keep tables at least six feet apart from one another
  • Keep families living together at the same table
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • Wear masks the entire time when together when not actively eating or drinking
  • Stay at least six feet apart especially when eating or drinking
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 screening prior to traveling or attending a gathering

“If they don’t live with you, get behind the mask,” Cohen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also put out guidance on how to stay safe this holiday during the coronavirus pandemic. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is recommending families who usually travel to see each other hold virtual Thanksgivings instead.

The CDC also recommends “preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.”

North Carolina moved to Phase 3 of reopening at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2. Gov. While Phase 3 was set to expire on Friday, Oct. 23, Gov. Cooper extended it for three more weeks two days before that expiration on Oct. 21.

Here’s what changed and what stayed the same in Phase 3:

  • Face coverings are still mandatory for everybody over the age of 5.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators with other safety protocols.
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 seated guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors only at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Outdoor amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy.
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended.

Click here for the latest coronavirus numbers in North Carolina.

“Everybody in our state need to take covid-19 seriously," Cooper said. “Your mask should not just be for the grocery store or the office”

Copyright 2020 WBTV. CBS contributed to this article. All rights reserved.