North Carolina has seen several changes to COVID-19 protocols in 2022 regarding masks, schools and vaccines.
In February, Gov. Roy Cooper announced his encouragement for schools and local governments to end their mask mandates, according to a press release.
“We are taking a positive step on mask requirements to help us move safely toward a more normal day-to-day life,” Cooper said in the statement.
Orange County dropped its mask mandate on March 7, citing indicators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to demonstrate that Orange County was no longer “high-risk”.
Orange County Board of County Commissioners Chairperson Renée Price said in a March meeting that the county will still recommend that residents wear masks in public, and masks would still be mandated in some settings, including public transit.
“It’s been almost two years, just shy of a few days, that we’ve been dealing with this COVID pandemic and hopefully we are now coming out," Price said.
Commissioner Jean Hamilton said a lack of clarity regarding COVID-19 guidelines added to the suffering of residents during the pandemic.
“No matter what perspective was shared, what came across to me is how difficult life has been for all of us during this pandemic,” Hamilton said.
In order to continue to fight the virus, the Orange County Health Department offers free PCR COVID-19 tests for people of all ages, insured or not.