What will it take to reopen? Dr. Jen Ashton says we need to shift from 'flattening the curve' to 'raising the line'

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday announced that the North Carolina Stay-at-Home order would be extended until May 8.

ABC11 spoke to ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton about her thoughts on what state's need to prepare for when it comes to reopening.

Here's what she said:

What do you think is the best way to move forward when a Stay-at-Home order is lifted?
Cautiously. From a medical and scientific standpoint we have to remember this virus is not going anywhere. And it has proven that it is sneaky with 25 to 50 percent of people infected with it showing no symptoms at all, so it spreads silently. And it can be potentially deadly. So it has shown that it deserves to be treated with respect and in doing so we have to take steps cautiously because lives and people's health are at stake. So as we see cases to start to go back up, which they have in other parts of the world that have come out of lockdown, we have to be ready to act and respond very quickly because the clock is always ticking when you're dealing with an infectious disease outbreak like this.

Wake County appears to be doing relatively well with only about .05% of the population infected. What is your take on that as it pertains to possibly reopening?
Well remember a couple of things. First of all, in medicine, when you look for something you will find it. So right now any part of the country that's reporting population percentage of positive cases really has to ask how much of the population has been tested because to test only a small portion of the population doesn't give us a true picture of how common this virus is or the prevalence of it in a population. But we also have to be able to look down the road and understand that staying in a lockdown situation isn't realistic nor is it good in other ways for our physical health or mental health, etc. So things have to be taken in orderly, organized well-thought-out steps depending on where in the country you're talking about, it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario. But when you think of that term, 'flattening the curve,' we need to think of another term which is 'raising the line' and what the refers to is increasing the capacity of our healthcare system to respond so that if those cases do go up, whether that's in the summer or that's in the fall or winter when we also have seasonal flu... if those cases start to go up that we have the capacity to quickly respond, take care of patients who may need to be hospitalized and treated and also protect the other parts of our society.
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