The Orange County Health Department sent a letter to UNC officials July 29, recommending that the University restrict on-campus housing to at-risk students and begin the first five weeks of the semester with online learning.
A Wednesday letter from Orange County Board of Commissioners Chair Penny Rich, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver was addressed to University officials with additional requests.
These requests included that the University work with the Orange County Health Department to ensure sufficient resources are available to provide testing and community contact tracing to all students and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19, and update the 2020 Roadmap Community Standards to clearly establish expectations and safety protocols.
Orange County is currently under a safer-at-home recommendation that differs from the state by requiring restaurant, personal care, grooming, tattoo and retail employees to wear a face covering while on duty.
The county's recommendation limits tables at restaurants to no more than six people and restricts sales of on-site alcohol consumption after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
Cooper said although COVID-19 numbers in the state are stabilizing, health experts have said that reopening the state too quickly could cause a devastating increases in cases, sickness and death.
As of today, the state has had 129,288 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,050 deaths, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
"Other states that have lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher," he said. "We won't make that mistake in North Carolina."
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