Just 2 weeks after Governor Cooper initiated ‘phase 2’ of our state’s reopening plan, we are now witnessing the highest level of case increases since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Between 6/3 and 6/4, our state recorded a total of 1,189 new cases, bringing our total case count to 31,966. We currently have 659 people in the hospital because of the disease and we’ve already witnessed 960 COVID-19 related deaths.
Another alarming trend in the pandemic is the disproportionate number of African Americans who are contracting the virus. Despite making up 22% of our state’s population, African Americans currently account for 30% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 34% of COVID-19 deaths.
Yesterday Governor Cooper signed executive order 143 to address disparities in communities of color that are being increasingly affected by COVID-19.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the new order will do the following:
- Establishes the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force to focus on economic stability, health disparities, and environmental justice in North Carolina;
- Tasks the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office to ensure the equitable distribution of pandemic relief funds;
- Directs the Historically Underutilized Business Office to provide small historically underutilized businesses with access to opportunities, tools, and resources that promote equitable economic recovery and procurement of State contracts;
- Directs the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to ensure all communities have access to COVID-19 testing and related health care;
- Tasks the Office of Public Engagement to increase awareness about COVID-19, COVID-19 relief services and resources, and provide education on eliminating disparities;
- Directs the Division of Emergency Management to continue coordinating efforts to protect the food supply chain and support feeding operations at food banks and school systems;
- Directs the North Carolina National Guard to provide planning and logistical support and personnel where feasible to support mass testing of food processing plant workers in impacted communities and migrant farm workers; and
- Tasks the Department of Environmental Quality to create a common discourse on environmental justice and coordinate with state executive agencies on the integration of environmental justice considerations into current and future policies, programs, and procedures.
What do you think about the recent rise in cases and the new executive order?