RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- After more than two years, North Carolina's COVID-19 state of emergency is coming to an end.
Governor Roy Cooper lifted he order Monday saying the state was equipped and prepared to continue addressing COVID-19 complications without the need for a state of emergency declaration.
The first confirmed cases of the virus starting showing up in North Carolina in March of 2020. Since then, more than three million people have test positive for coronavirus and more than 25,000 have died from the disease.
State of emergencies give governments the ability to move money and resources quicker than they would normally be able to do. The idea is that in times of crisis, governments need to be able to quickly mobilize to keep citizens safe.
Cooper said because of the ending of the state of emergency, changes were made to the current budget.
"The budget includes the changes in the law requested by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to ensure flexibility that is currently made possible by the Governor's COVID-19 State of Emergency. The State of Emergency will be lifted on August 15, 2022," the governor said after consulting with health authorities.
In addition, effective vaccines and treatments now exist that significantly reduce the risk of severe complications for people who do catch COVID-19.
"The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to our state and people now have the knowledge and the tools like vaccines, boosters and therapeutic treatments to keep them safe," Cooper said. "Executive orders issued under the State of Emergency protected public health and helped us save lives and livelihoods. North Carolina is emerging even stronger than before and my administration will continue to work to protect the health and safety of our people."
Decisions about mask mandates will be made by local authorities once the state of emergency ends.
This decision by the governor comes after the CDC announced new more relaxed guidelines for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Statement from NCDHHS:
The State of Emergency will be lifted today, Aug. 15, 2022. HB 103, signed into law on July 11, includes changes in the law requested by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to ensure flexibility that is currently made possible by Governor Roy Cooper's Covid-19 State of Emergency.
The provisions in the budget are related to preserving access to COVID-19 testing and treatments, preserving health care access and preventing a workforce shortage, and they do the following:
1. Allow for standing orders from the State Health Director for COVID-19 testing, vaccines and treatments through the end of 2023.
2. Allow NCDHHS to waive rules for health care facilities and nursing homes so they can expand bed capacity (and mirror flexibilities offered by CMS).
3. Allow us to waive some rules so ambulances can continue to have one EMT and one licensed driver instead of two EMTs.
4. Allow a grace period for lead and asbestos inspectors to get re-certified, because it requires an in-person course which wasn't offered during part of the pandemic.
NCDHHS remains committed to responding to COVID-19 and moving North Carolina forward from COVID-19, as outlined in the Moving Forward Together plan. The seven key metrics guide our response and give people information they need to make choices based on their personal circumstances to manage their risk. COVID-19 Vaccines are still the best protection from severe illness, hospitalization or death for ourselves and our communities. Vaccines are available for everyone 6 months and older, and people can find a vaccine near them by visiting https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.