North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper listens to Dr. Mandy Cohen

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (right) listens to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, during a news briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday ordered indoor mass gatherings to be limited to 10 people, effective Friday.

Cooper said the new restriction was necessary to help lower North Carolina's key COVID-19 metrics. The gathering restriction will be in place through Dec. 4. Cooper's executive order also will limit outdoor mass gatherings to 50 or fewer people.

"This reduction in our indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers," Cooper said. "It also sends a serious signal to families, friends and neighbors across our state. Success in slowing the spread will help our businesses."

The new executive order does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that already have been in place as part of phase three restrictions.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-19-like illness is decreasing but still elevated, and the trajectory of the number of cases over the past 14 days is on the rise.

North Carolina’s positivity rate on COVID-19 testing is above 5 percent, and hospitalizations have leveled but are high, Cohen said.

The department reported Tuesday that 1,230 people currently were hospitalized. More than 4,600 deaths in North Carolina have been attributed to COVID-19.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.