One week after North Carolina entered its second phase or reopening, allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continues to rise. 

As of Thursday, more than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus and 827 have died. The number of people hospitalized jumped to more than 700 this week, reaching a new record high on three different days.

“Today is one of our states highest days of reported deaths and hospitalizations since this crisis began,” Cooper said at a Thursday press conference. 

Despite this week’s spike in cases, Cooper made no indication  the state could tighten restrictions again. The state  is six days into its second phase of reopening, which lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and let restaurants open their doors to the public again. 

But trends this week show a troubling uptick in the two key areas, hospitalizations and new cases, which the state has used as a guideline on lifting restrictions. 

“We are concerned about the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 continuing to go up,” Cooper said. “It’s why we’re in Phase 2 right now and not opening everything up. It’s why we need to stay in Phase 2 for awhile to see how these numbers go.”

The Senate voted to pass a bill Thursday that would allow bars to open at full capacity immediately. Cooper cautioned against the bill, which is yet to move through the House, saying it dangerous to fully reopen at this time. 

“This legislation would mean that even if there is a surge of COVID–19 that would overwhelm our hospitals that bars still stay open,” Cooper said. 

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at

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