COVID-19 in NC: As hospitalizations surge, ‘vaccinations are the best way to bring them down,’ Gov. Cooper says

State - Regional

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – With COVID-19 numbers increasing across North Carolina, vaccinations are the best way to bring them down, Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday.

“The vaccines are safe, effective and free. With the vaccine, you protect yourself from the risk of hospitalization or death. Without it, you are vulnerable,” Cooper said. “The statistics bear that out. The vast majority of people in the hospital or dying with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.”

As of Wednesday, North Carolina has had 1,131,243 total cases; 5,256 new cases reported since Tuesday; 2,930 people in the hospital; and, sadly, 13,952 people total who have died.

On Wednesday, Cooper and state health officials announced the final winners of North Carolina’s Your Shot at a Million and Cash for College Scholarship Drawings. The final winner of the million dollar cash drawing is Lilly Fowler, who’s from East Bend in Yadkin County. She’s in her senior year at NC State.

The final scholarship winner is 15-year-old Breelyn Dean, who lives in Garner and is a rising high school sophomore. Breelyn is a student-athlete whose parents will quickly tell you about her 4.0 GPA.

“Our cash drawings have ended, but here’s the good news – you can still get your vaccine and be protected against this deadly virus, and in many places, you can get a $100 cash card just for getting your shot,” Cooper said on Wednesday.

Cooper recently ordered state government cabinet agencies require state employees to verify they have been vaccinated. For those who don’t, the state is requiring weekly testing and masks.

“I urged the private sector to join us in requiring vaccines. I’m proud many businesses have done that,” Cooper said. “Businesses like Tyson Foods are requiring employee vaccinations, and many restaurants and other businesses are requiring them for customers. That’s good.”

As most K-12 schools prepare to open their doors next week for the fall semester, we have seen many North Carolina school districts require face masks and other safety protocols for their students and staff.

This includes several who have reversed course in recent days and are now requiring masks.

“I continue to strongly urge all school leaders to make masks mandatory for students, staff and visitors,” Cooper said. “Requiring masks in schools will help keep students learning in the classroom while helping to keep COVID out. We want schools to educate children, not become hotspots for the virus, and I commend the school leaders who are looking out for the health of their students and staff.”

Cooper went on to say this is not where the state wants to be.

“But we have a sure way out – vaccines. Last year, we wondered when this would end and how we could best protect ourselves. The difference now is that we have the most powerful tool against this virus – a safe, effective vaccine,” Cooper said. “It’s encouraging that our state’s vaccine rate has increased in recent weeks. We need to double down on that progress. Talk with your friends and family about why it’s important for all of us to get our shots.”

Vaccines are available at schools, gyms, community centers, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and health departments. Volunteers are reaching out to people one-on-one, offering information and rides, Cooper said. To find a vaccine location near you, please click here. To find a COVID-19 testing site, click here.

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