Today, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 256 to support the state’s ongoing fight against COVID-19 by providing flexibility for health care workers and care facilities, as well as easier access to vaccines, tests and treatments. The regulatory waivers in the Order are key to facilitating the state’s COVID-19 response at this phase of the pandemic.
“While we have turned the corner on this pandemic, we must continue to make sure that tests, vaccines, and treatments are widely available and that we remain prepared for the potential of future surges,” said Governor Cooper. “The measures in this Executive Order are essential to North Carolina’s continued response to this virus.”
Currently, COVID-19 cases, associated hospitalizations, and other key COVID-19 metrics are in sustained decline. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently modified its key COVID-19 metrics to also take into account wastewater surveillance data, vaccination and booster rates, prevalence of variants across the state, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifying levels of community spread of COVID-19.
These metrics, taken together, indicate declining COVID-19 transmission across North Carolina and declining severity of disease and hospital burden from COVID-19. However, North Carolina will continue to prepare for the possibility of future surges.
The Order extends provisions giving the NCDHHS Secretary flexibility to take actions to increase the health care workforce and to ensure continuity of existing operations in the state’s hospitals, adult care homes, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Professional licensing boards will continue to have authority to modify or waive requirements that would otherwise prevent qualified individuals, such as retired medical professionals and trained students, from providing care to COVID-19 patients.
The Order also extends direction for the State Health Director to issue statewide standing orders to facilitate COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccination, and the administration of therapeutic treatments designed to treat COVID-19, including monoclonal antibody treatments and newly authorized therapeutic treatments.
The Order received concurrence from the Council of State.
Read the Executive Order.