“Get off the internet” and on phone with doctor to get vaccinated

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen updated the state on current COVID-19 trends in a press conference on Tuesday.

Cooper says there have been 1,755 new cases of COVID-19 identified Tuesday.

While cases reported recently are generally lower than they were in October and at the beginning of November, Cohen noted that this could also be because fewer people were tested for the virus over Thanksgiving.

She says we won’t know for a couple of weeks whether Thanksgiving gatherings have affected the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Cohen presented a map of CDC data that shows North Carolina is no longer in the red zone of COVID-19 transmission. It is instead in the orange zone, which means there is substantial but not high transmission, and some counties are even in the yellow “moderate” category.

North Carolina county COVID-19 transmission press conference
North Carolina county COVID-19 transmission press conference(NCPBS)

Cooper and Cohen stressed the importance of people getting vaccinated, especially as 13% of children ages 5-11 have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. DHHS data shows 45% of people ages 12-17 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Getting more people vaccinated is the way out of this pandemic,” Cooper said.

Cohen added in regard to vaccination: “The time to act is now.”

She also spoke of the recently identified Omicron variant of the virus, saying it likely did not originate in Africa, but “we still have a lot to learn” about it.

Cooper announced Tuesday that Cohen would be stepping down from her position leading the DHHS on Jan. 1st. Still, with the new variant identified, Cohen believes she and the governor may have to speak in December about how the state is dealing with the ongoing pandemic.

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