Monday, 23 November 2020 16:23

Cooper tightens mask mandate; 30 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County over weekend

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Cooper tightens mask mandate; 30 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County over weekend Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday announced tighter restrictions on his mask-wearing mandate from earlier in the year.

Cooper’s latest executive order, which goes into effect Wednesday, Sept. 25 and lasts until Dec. 11, calls for North Carolina residents to wear a face covering when around other people not in their household.

(See the order as an attachment at the bottom of this story.)

The order also mandates mask-wearing in all schools, public or private; gyms, even when exercising; and all forms of transportation when riding with non-household members.

"I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger," Cooper said. "This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many."

Professional and collegiate athletes are exempt from the order while actively participating in a sporting activity, but masks must be worn on the sidelines and in practice.

Cooper is also requiring retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed outside to ensure compliance with mask-wearing and occupancy mandates.

Inside restaurants, all employees are required to wear a mask, as are all patrons who are not seated and actively eating or drinking.

The order also allows law enforcement to cite people not exempt for not wearing masks, as well as cite businesses for not enforcing the mandate. An earlier order prohibited action being taken against individuals for not wearing a mask.

The state also designated 10 additional counties — including Montgomery and Robeson — as having critical community spread COVID case counts and related hospitalizations increase.


The state set new record highs on Sunday with 4,514 new cases and 1,601 hospitalizations.

There have been five new daily records set, in terms of new positive COVID-19 cases, since Nov. 6.

Last week, Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services introduced the COVID-19 County Alert System to “pinpoint counties with the highest levels of viral spread and offer specific recommendations to bring numbers down.”

Counties are color-coded either red (critical), orange (substantial) or yellow (significant) based on the following criteria:

  • Case Rate: The number of new cases in 14 days per 100,000 people
  • Percent Positive: The percent of tests that are positive over 14 days 
  • Hospital Impact: A composite score based on the impact that COVID-19 has had on hospitals including percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, COVID-19 related visits to the Emergency Department, staffed open hospital beds, and critical staffing shortages over 14 days

Richmond, Scotland and Moore counties are listed as having “substantial” community spread.

“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” Cohen said.

The Richmond County Health Department on Monday reported 30 new positive cases of the coronavirus, which includes Saturday and Sunday. There were 17 new cases on Friday, making 128 for the week and 310 for the month.

There are currently 171 active cases, with 163 under home isolation and eight in a hospital.

According to FirstHealth, 39 of its 345 patients (11.3%) have COVID-19.

Richmond County Schools on Monday reported that one staff member at the Ninth Grade Academy, two traditional students at L.J. Bell, one traditional student at Cordova Middle, and one virtual student at Rockingham Middle have tested positive.

Of the 54,924 tests completed by FirstHealth, 5,668 have been positive, 48,487 have been negative and 177 results are still pending.

On the county level, there have been 16,793 negative results since the pandemic began. The Health Department says 1,550 of those who tested positive have recovered.

Statewide, there have been a total of 339,194 total cases from 4,965,564 completed tests, with 293,555 presumably recovered and 5,039 COVID-related deaths, including 38 in Richmond County.

Free testing COVID in the parking lot behind the Human Services Complex on Caroline Street has been extended until Dec. 31. Testing will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through the rest of the month, except for Thanksgiving Day and the day after.

Register for testing by visiting and following the directions at the top or by calling 877-562-4850.


The number of local cases per age group are as follows (includes recoveries):

  • 0-18 - 271
  • 19-30 - 296 
  • 31-40 - 228
  • 41-50 - 315 
  • 50-64 - 361
  • 65-older - 288 

The total number of cases per ZIP code are as follows:

  • Rockingham - 933 (107 active)
  • Hamlet - 504 (56 active)
  • Ellerbe - 149 (4 active)
  • Hoffman - 150 (2 active)
  • Mount Gilead - 10 (0 active)
  • Marston - 12 (2 active)
  • Jackson Springs - 1 (0 active)

More than 60 of the state’s 100 counties have now experienced more than 1,000 total cases.

Only four counties have had fewer than 200 cases, and they are all in the northeast corner of the state: Tyrrell (139), Camden (170), Gates (197) and Hyde (182). All four are among the state’s 10 least-populated counties.

The total numbers (including recoveries) for surrounding counties are as follows:

  • Mecklenburg - 41,073 (other counties to top 10,000 are Wake, Guilford, Forsyth and Durham. All are among the state’s six most-populated counties.)
  • Union - 7,319
  • Stanly - 2,832
  • Montgomery - 1,350
  • Anson - 868
  • Moore - 2,677 (196 active, 59 deaths)
  • Hoke - 1,885
  • Scotland - 1,874
  • Robeson - 7,061

All numbers are from DHHS except Moore, which are from the local health department, as there has been a discrepancy with the state.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting 1,696 total cases and 52 deaths in Chesterfield County and 1,350 cases and 16 deaths in Marlboro County.


Last modified on Monday, 23 November 2020 16:33