Orange County’s stay-at-home order will be extended through May 8, Orange County Board of Commissioners Chair Penny Rich announced Thursday, April 23.
Rich, in consultation with Mayors Pam Hemminger of Chapel Hill, Lydia Lavelle of Carrboro and Jenn Weaver of Hillsborough, extended the order to help the county battle the spread of COVID-19. The order was set to expire April 30.
“We are monitoring the stats for Orange County and the state daily, and when the data indicates it is safe for us to ease these restrictions, we will do so,” Rich said.
Earlier today, Gov. Roy Cooper also extended North Carolina’s order through May 8.
Understanding the Outbreak
In general, viruses work by replicating and jumping to new hosts, in this case humans. A virus, such as COVID-19, continues to replicate and spread until it runs out of hosts. The replication rate varies for viruses. In the case of COVID-19 the replication rate is two to three. This means, if uninterrupted, each infected person can infect two to three other people. In turn, those two to three people will infect four to six more people. This will continue into an exponential spread of cases. We’ve already seen this happen in many areas of the world.
This is why the stay at home orders are so important. They are typically in place for 30 days because that it is approximately two isolation periods of 14 days, back to back. In an April 23rd press conference, Governor Roy Cooper said that there are three metrics that will help us to understand when we can ease restrictions-- testing, contact tracing and trends.
Increased testing: By working with private and public partners to increase testing capacity, expand testing sites and addressing supply challenges, we will have a more complete picture of the outbreak of COVID-19.
Tracing: The state and local health departments will ramp up staffing and technology to determine who has been exposed when someone tests positive.
Trends: By analyzing new data, including the number of new cases, hospitalizations, deaths, protective equipment, supplies, hospital capacity and more we will know when to dial up or down social distancing.
The Orange County Health Department is now providing a weekly summary of cases on Fridays, at 9 a.m. The state updates its COVID-19 case count dashboard daily at 11 a.m.
For the latest information and guidance relating to Orange County’s COVID-19 response:
- Visit www.orangecountync.gov/coronavirus.
- Receive daily text updates on the crisis by texting 888-777 with OCNCHEALTH for English speakers and OCNCSALUD for Spanish speakers.
- Sign up for a twice weekly e-newsletter about the COVID-19 response via the county website.
- Follow the Orange County Health Department on Facebook and Twitter.