Social distancing is working, says Governor Roy Cooper, even as coronavirus continues to spread across the state.

As of Monday, 4,816 people have tested positive for the virus and 86 have died. Over 300 people are currently being treated for COVID-19 in the hospital.

“We continue to see the spread o the virus accelerate in North Carolina but at a much slower pace because people are following the executive orders on social distancing,” Cooper said at a Monday press conference. “What we are doing is working. We’re saving lives.”

Models run by a team of epidemiologist across the state have shown that maintaining a stay-at-home order through April with aggressive social distancing substantially lowers the risk of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients. 

The state has completed over 63,000 tests for the virus. While the number of cases continues to increase, the doubling rate of confirmed cases is slowing down, according to Mandy Cohen, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s a good sign, Cohen says. 

“Sadly our current success doesn’t mean people won’t get sick and need hospital care. We are still seeing a slow rise in the number of lab documented cases,” Cohen said. “However we are achieving our goal of flattening the curve, having fewer people get sick at the same time.”

A surge in cases is what the state is desperately trying to avoid, with hospitals preparing for the worst.  Last week, a University of Washington model projected the state’s number of cases would peak this week with fewer deaths than anticipated. However, a model engineered by local scientists claimed that if social distancing is lifted after April, 750,000 North Carolinians could contract the virus by June 1. 

“Our biggest enemy is complacency,” Cooper said Monday. “The better we can be at staying home through April, the more likely we will be able to ease restrictions.”

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at 

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