NC is entering the “individual responsibility” phase of the COVID-19 response

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN/WJZY) – Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday that North Carolina is moving into the next phase of its COVID-19 response, with an emphasis on “individual responsibility” as cases fall.

“In the past two years, we have written a history of adversity and resilience, of challenges and victories, of setbacks and achievements,” the governor said. “We are entering the next phase of individual responsibility, preparedness and prosperity. It’s time to chart a new course. The virus will still accompany us, but not bother us.”

State health leaders said they will shift the focus of their pandemic response to four principles: empowering individuals, maintaining health system capacity, working with local partners and prioritizing equity.

Cooper commended the efforts North Carolina has been making during the pandemic.

“We made the right choice. We got our kids back to school. We kept our economy going. We saved lives. Now we are turning the page of the pandemic knowing we now have the tools to help people and businesses make the right choices for themselves,” he said.

Health leaders stressed the importance of being prepared for future surges.

NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley said the state will also move away from certain measured COVID-19 metrics, listing seven methods that will take center stage:

  • wastewater monitoring
  • COVID-like illness
  • hospital admissions
  • case trends
  • Booster Tariffs
  • prevalence of variance
  • Community level CDC action

Kinsley said North Carolina’s coronavirus dashboard will eventually transition to weekly updates with the above seven metrics as cases go down.

“Today we can look ahead with the belief that the worst is behind us. As we look ahead, it’s important to take stock of how far we’ve come,” said Cooper.

Last week, 70 Republican lawmakers signed a letter urging Cooper to end the COVID state of emergency that was declared March 10, 2020.

Cooper said the emergency declaration will remain in effect, adding that part of the order will help ensure there are enough people to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

The state of emergency also allows the state to ask for federal assistance and access state emergency and disaster relief funds.

“It’s a legal tool that we’re using to provide the flexibility that’s needed,” Cooper said. “And if the legislature passes a law to give the necessary flexibility, then we will abolish it.”

His administration sent a letter to lawmakers on March 10 asking for a number of changes to state law, including: granting the state health director a standing order for testing, vaccination and treatment; allow the Division of Health Service Regulation to waive government administrative regulations; and “additional time for asbestos management, lead remediation and lead remediation professionals to regain compliance with refresher training requirements”.

The Cooper administration sent the letter the same day the legislature adjourned its lengthy session, 14 months after it began.

Lawmakers are not expected to return to Raleigh for a vote until May 18.

In a statement, Republican Senate Chairman Phil Berger said: “Gov. Cooper has abused the Emergency Management Act to rewrite state laws to advance his political agenda and bypass the legislative process. Instead of issuing ultimatums, Governor Cooper should rescind his declaration of emergency.”

Even though case numbers in the United States have dropped dramatically in recent weeks, WHO scientists are tracking a hybrid variant of COVID-19 dubbed “Deltacron.”

The researchers said they believe the variant combines genes from Delta and Omicron.

Countries in Europe and Asia are also seeing a new surge in cases, fueled primarily by the omicron subvariant BA.2.

“We think it’s about 30 percent more transmissible than omicron itself. But the immunity of omicron and of vaccines remains very protective against what matters most, which is serious diseases that end up in the hospitals,” Sec said. Kinsley.

He also called on Congress to approve additional federal funding for the COVID-19 response to ensure adequate testing resources and treatment are available should there be a further surge in cases in the United States

“What I am most concerned about is our offering of testing in the private markets and the federal government’s unique ability to sustain that level of offering by driving and sustaining that market,” he said. NC is entering the “individual responsibility” phase of the COVID-19 response


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