North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end mask mandates during a 3 p.m. press conference Thursday.
According to a tweet from Ford Porter, the communications director for the Cooper administation, the decision was made "given declining numbers and available vaccines."
Throughout the pandemic we’ve continually evaluated safety measures to know what’s needed at that moment. Given declining numbers & available vaccines, the Governor will encourage ending local mask mandates. #ncpol
— Ford Porter (@FordPorter1) February 17, 2022
Masks may still be required in certain high-risk settings, Cooper said.
As of Thursday, 2,554,922 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 5,583 new cases were reported Thursday.
The NCDHHS also reports that 75 percent of the state's adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Seventy-one percent of its adult population has received two doses, or one dose of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.