80 percent of North Carolina counties now in red, orange zones on alert system map

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020
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Dr. Mandy Cohen explains latest North Carolina COVID-19 metrics during a Tuesday news conference

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday released an updated version of the county alert system report.

Since the last time the report was released two weeks ago, the number of red counties has more than doubled, up to 48 from 20 counties. There are now 34 orange counties as compared to 42 counties in that last report.

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The COVID-19 County Alert System uses metrics informed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and North Carolina's key metrics to categorize counties into three tiers:

Yellow: Significant Community Spread

Orange: Substantial Community Spread

Red: Critical Community Spread

The report takes into account three metrics: case rate, the percent of tests that are positive and hospital impact within the county.

Cumberland, Durham and Wake counties are currently in the orange.


Alamance, Edgecombe, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Robeson, Sampson, Vance, Warren and Wilson counties are all in the red.

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Public officials from counties that are in the red or orange tier are asked to discuss plans for mitigating spread with local health departments.

Individuals in orange and red counties are asked to take the following actions:

  • Limit mixing between households and minimize the number of people in your social circle
  • Avoid settings where people congregate, like outdoor bars and night spots
  • If patronizing restaurants, consider ordering take out from restaurants and/or eating outdoors socially distanced
  • Individuals who are high-risk for developing serious illness should consider staying at home as much as possible
  • Reduce your public interactions to mainly essential activities

Cooper on Tuesday also announced a modified Stay-At-Home order that will take effect on Friday.

Specifically, the order imposes new measures that would close non-essential businesses like gyms, restaurants and retail at 10 p.m. nightly, and allow them to reopen at 5 a.m.