Gov. Cooper: We haven't reached our peak in North Carolina but 'we're going to get through this'

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- ABC11 talked one-on-one with Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday. Watch his full interview in the media player above.

Based on the initial modeling you saw and where we are now, is all of this working?
It's clearly helping us flatten the curve and reducing the chances that people are going to pass this from one person to the next. If we had not put in these interventions then I think things would be a lot worse right now. But the fact remains that this is such a highly contagious virus and no one is immune. We had no vaccination so the only way to slow the spread of this virus is to social distance, stay apart from each other, stay home as much as we can, not gather in large crowds, keep our schools closed. those are the kinds of things we need to do so that our medical system will not be overwhelmed.

We saw more cases today but less people in the hospital. What's the story behind those numbers?
Well we've seen a steady increase and we expected that but I'm glad that we're not seeing a major spike in people going to the hospital. We've still got to give this some time. We know that we have not gotten close to reaching our peak. Dr. Cohen and I have put together a group of independent researchers who are working on some modeling data. We've seen some data across the country where scientists and health experts have looked at these interventions and how they affect the spread of this virus. We don't know everything about this.

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We are scrambling to make sure that our frontline healthcare providers are protected with PPE and that we have enough beds and ICUs to be able to look after people. We know this is coming. The more we can keep it flat, the more we can make sure we have hospital beds the better off we are.

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It sounds like you're seeing some encouraging signs. What are the things that are worrisome?
Well we know that this virus is going to spread even more and we see clusters in our urban centers. We see Charlotte and Mecklenburg County having a significant number of cases. And we've seen urban centers across the country get hit very hard by this virus because people live so close together, there's a major airport in these cities like there is in Charlotte so I am worried about what may happen there and that's why we're continuing to try to ramp up. I worry about our rural hospitals. Already many of them were struggling to stay afloat and have a lot of people who are uninsured and underinsured. I want to make sure that they have what they need to be able to treat people who get sick as well and we know that more cases are coming and modeling has shown that our medical supplies are going to be challenged. So I worry everyday about making sure we have enough equipment and supplies and personnel to deal with this.

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We're all concerned. What are you telling your daughters?
They're usually bucking me up. Because I come home and it's been a long day at the EOC and a long day on the phone and I'll worry about what's going to happen and they'll say 'dad' and Kristen will say 'we can get through this.' They're doing ok. They're helping their friends. One of my daughters was helping to look after one of her friend's children because their daycare center had closed. One daughter is getting ready to go give blood so everyone is pulling together. I think that we have to depend on each other more than ever and you have to depend on your family more than ever and you have to do it verbally more than ever because we can't have as much physical contact.

North Carolinians are resilient, we care about each other, we're going to get through this on the other end. We're just going to have a rough period of time until we get there.

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