Governor Roy Cooper announced he would be extending North Carolina’s stay-at-home order through May 8.

“We are flattening the curve but our state is not ready to lift restrictions yet,” Cooper said at a press conference Thursday. “We need more time to slow the spread of the virus before we can begin easing those restrictions.”

As of Thursday, the state has over 7,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 253 deaths.

The decision comes amid the backdrop of conservative voices nationwide calling for economies to reopen. On Tuesday, about a thousand people staged a protest in downtown Raleigh demanding the state reopen as soon as possible. Cooper cautioned that while restarting the economy is important, saving lives is the state’s top priority.

“I will not risk the health of our people or our hospitals,” Cooper said. “Easing these restrictions would do that.”

Department of Health and Human Services Director Mandy Cohen said that while the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, the rate of acceleration of cases is slowing down, which is good news. 

“Fewer people are getting sick at the same time,” Cohen said. 

This is a developing story. 

Contact Raleigh editor Leigh Tauss at

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