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COVID-19 UPDATE: Rocky Mount mandates masks

Governor Roy Cooper is expected to make an announcement this week on whether the state will move into phase three or remain in phase two of the state's reopening plan.

Cooper was expected to make the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, which falls after The Graphic's publishing deadline. Visit www.nashvillegraphic.com for information on Cooper's announcement.

The announcement comes just over a month after the state entered a modified version of phase two, which will end on Friday, June 26.

Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the State Department of Health and Human Services, have expressed concern during daily updates over the number of positive cases continuing to increase as well as the hospitalizations. Local leaders have expressed the same concern.

Nash County has seen an uptick of cases since the state has entered phase two. On May 22, when Cooper announced the start of phase two, Nash County was at 168 cases.

On Wednesday morning, June 25, Nash County was at 372 cases, with 25 of those hospitalized.

"I am concerned about the metrics of the hospitalizations," Nash County Health Director Bill Hill said. "We're at a new high. It shows how acute the situation is."

"We have 25 now hospitalized currently," Hill added on Wednesday morning. "That metric has jumped several notches. Some of these people are very sick, some are on vents and we will closely monitor that situation."

Cohen has continued to express the importance of the three W's: wear a mask, wash hands and wait six feet apart, to flatten the curve and control the spread.

With cases continuing to increase across the state, many towns and cities are enforcing masks be worn.

On Monday, June 22, Rocky Mount followed suit.

The city announced on Wednesday that starting Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m., masks would be required in public or private spaces where people will be in contact who are not household members.

"All persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Rocky Mount are required to wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people who are not household members n public or private spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance or where recommended social distancing practices are not being followed," the proclamation approved by the Rocky Mount City Council said. "These spaces include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, parking lots, sidewalks and public transits. While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain distancing insofar as possible since social distancing is the best defense against the spread of the COVID-19."

The declaration takes effect on Friday, June 26 and will remain in effect until modified or rescinded.


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