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COVID-19 Blog | Face masks mandated in North Carolina; phase 2 extended

For immediate questions, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — WFMY News 2 is providing daily coronavirus updates with the latest information from emergency leaders, the state's task force, health departments, universities, school districts, and a lot more.


Noon - NCDHHS releases latest coronavirus numbers. New confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 1,000 again, but testing increased and hospitalizations decreased. Hospitalizations dipped by 15, but 13 more people died. 

  • 57,183 CASES (UP 1,009)
  • 1,284 DEATHS (UP 13)
  • 811,278 TESTS (UP 19,993)
  • 891 HOSPITALIZED (DOWN 15) (90% hospitals reporting; 862 ventilators in use (for all ailments, not just COVID; 2,444 still available)
  • GUILFORD – 2,586 CASES, 111 DEATHS (59 new cases, 1 new death)
  • FORSYTH – 2,715 CASES, 31 DEATHS (36 new cases, 0 new deaths) 
  • ALAMANCE – 1,009 CASES, 36 DEATHS (15 new case, 0 new deaths)

10:30 a.m. - Wake Forest Baptist Health infectious disease expert provides Triad COVID-19 updates and discusses summer vacations. Dr. Christopher Ohl said, "What you do is more important than where you go," referring to vacations. Dr. Ohl recommended driving over flying "due to the different level of risk" if people plan on traveling but ultimately said staying at home is the safest option.

7:45 a.m. - Face masks and phase two. We're talking about Governor Cooper's latest announcements on After GMS. Join our live conversation. 

News to note: 

RELATED: Face coverings mandatory in public; pause placed on phase 3 of reopening North Carolina

RELATED: Ace Speedway can have no more than 25 fans at racing events, judge rules

RELATED: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut issue travel advisory for states with high COVID-19 rates


3:15 p.m. - Gov. Roy Cooper announces a statewide order requiring face masks for all people in North Carolina in public areas. 

  • North Carolina will also continue the Safer at Home Phase 2 until July 17.
  • Gov. Cooper said people must wear face coverings in public places (indoors or outdoors) and where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Face masks will also be required for all employees and customers of retail businesses and restaurants, as well as workers and manufacturing, construction meat processing, and agriculture settings.
  • Exceptions for face masks includes the following:
    • Children 10 years old and younger
    • People who are actively eating or drinking
    • People doing strenuous exercise
    • Communication with hearing impaired in which mouth visibility is required
    • Giving a speech or broadcast to an audience
    • Working at home
    • Driving/riding in personal vehicle
    • If mask impedes visibility to operate equipment or vehicle
  • North Carolina reported more than 1,700 new COVID-19 coronavirus cases Wednesday, that's 47 cases shy of the state's record daily increase set up on June 12.
  • Hospitalizations remain above 900.
  • Gov. Cooper said it's the second-highest day in both categories for new cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic started.
  • The positive test rate is still averaging around 9% over the last 14 days.
  • The state is averaging about 17,000 tests per day.
  • Supply shortage again for reagents when it comes to testing.
  • In totals, North Carolina has had 56,174 COVID-19 cases and 1,271 deaths.

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the indicators moving in the wrong direction, causing officials to implement today’s pause in Phase 2. 

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases starting to level, but is still increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive remains elevated. 

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations are increasing, though we have capacity in our healthcare system.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing 

  • North Carolina is averaging more than 17,000 tests a day for the past week and there are more than 500 sites listed on online plus additional pop-up sites. 
  • North Carolina labs and labs around the country are seeing supply shortages for laboratory chemicals needed to process tests.

Tracing Capability

  • There are over 1,500 full-time and part-time staff supporting contact tracing efforts at the local health department level, including the 309 Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative contact tracers. These new hires reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and 44% are bilingual.  

Personal Protective Equipment 

  • Our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

2:40 p.m. - Gov. Roy Cooper will give an update on COVID-19 around 3:00 p.m. watch it right here!

12:00 p.m. - Latest North Carolina coronavirus numbers. There's been a surge of new cases in North Carolina. NCDHHS reports 1,721 new cases. That's the second-highest daily case increase seen so far in the pandemic. Guilford County has 2,527 cases and 110 deaths. Forsyth has 2,70 cases and 31 deaths. Alamance now has 994 cases and 36 deaths. Davidson county has 797 cases and 15 deaths.  

  • 56,174 CASES (UP 1,721) (second-highest daily case increase)
  • 1,271 DEATHS (UP 20)
  • 791,285 TESTS (UP 17,457)
  • 906 HOSPITALIZED (888 ventilators in use; 88% hospitals reporting data) (total hospitalizations down slightly from yesterday’s record; second-highest hospitalization day)

10:45 a.m. - The Guilford County Sheriff's Office responds to influx of questions about concealed carry and COVID-19 masks. After Greensboro made masks a requirement in public, many people with valid CCH permits wanted clarification on the North Carolina law making it illegal to wear masks and legally carry a handgun. 

In short, yes, it is legal to carry and wear a mask, but there are nuances to that rule people with permits need to know. 

READ MORE: North Carolina rules on concealed carrying with coronavirus masks

7:45 a.m. - Governor Cooper will address the state today at 3 p.m. Do you think he will require face masks or make a decision on Phase 3 to allow bars and gyms to reopen? We're talking about it on After GMS. Join the live conversation and get updates on headlines and weather. 

News to note: 

  • Greensboro's citywide face mask order went into effect Tuesday night. Some restaurants now have signs requiring masks for customers who come inside for pickup orders. 
  • The North Carolina General Assembly approved a bill Tuesday that would allow amusement parks, wedding reception venues, fairs, and carnivals to reopen. The measure still needs to be approved by Governor Cooper, who has vetoed two bills designed to overturn his executive order that has kept bars and gyms closed since March.

RELATED: City of Greensboro issues emergency proclamation requiring face masks in public, officials say

RELATED: 'We are not safe yet:' Guilford County Health Director says COVID-19 cases are growing

RELATED: Unemployment benefits could run out for some this week

RELATED: 2 Your Well-Being | Making sense of COVID-19 numbers


Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information. 

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