Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order Wednesday extending the duration of the state’s modified stay-at-home order through February 28 and placing a moratorium on evictions during that time. 

The news comes as officials say cases of the virus are beginning to level as vaccine rollout continues. That’s a good thing, Cooper said, but residents must remain vigilant.

“Our COVID numbers have stabilized in recent days, and that’s good, but the reality is they are still too high, and too many people are still falling seriously ill and dying,” Cooper said. “With at least one more contagious variant of COVID-19 in our state, we still have to work to do what we can and not let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months.”

“We know this virus is still spreading,” he added. 

The modified stay-at-home order includes a 10 p.m. curfew for residents and mandates that alcohol sales cease after 9 p.m. 

As of Wednesday, the state has reported more than 733,000 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic. There are currently 3,305 people in the hospital with the virus and 8,915 people have died.

The percent of people testing positive for the virus is hovering at about 11 percent and there were 5,587 new cases reported Wednesday.

That’s not great, but it’s much better than how we were doing a few weeks ago when nearly 18 percent of folks were testing positive for the virus and North Carolina was reporting more than 10,000 new cases each day. 

The latest stats are promising, said secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen. 

“Our cases are starting to level and they are back to where they were in late December,” Cohen said. “We are past the spike from the winter holidays, but we are still experiencing worrying levels of the virus.” 

Cohen shared that the state expects to receive more doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks, but warned that rollout will continue to be limited by supplies. 

So far, the state has administered 728,148 doses of the vaccine, which includes first and second doses. Notably, Cooper said the state has given out 95 percent of the first doses received by the federal government. 

As the vaccine rollout continues, Cooper said he plans to push for more relief funds for people and small businesses suffering from the pandemic. 

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