If you think that the promising news on a COVID-19 vaccine means the State of North Carolina is slacking off on rules pertaining to the pandemic, you would not be correct. 

This week, NC Governor Roy Cooper announced that – effective Friday, Nov. 13 –  North Carolina’s indoor mass gathering limit would be lowered to 10 people.

The governor’s decree – Executive Order 176 – will be in effect until at least Friday, Dec. 4.

A Tuesday, Nov. 10 press release noted that this was part of a new effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics.  As of noon, Tuesday, there had been a total of 297,442 cases of coronavirus recorded in the state since the pandemic began.  Also as of Tuesday, 4,660 deaths had been attributed by state officials to the virus – and 1,230 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

One positive is that testing is now widely available, frequently at no cost.  NCDHHS announced this week that the state has upcoming testing events scheduled in Guilford County as well as in Alamance, Bladen, Brunswick, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Greene, Harnett, Henderson, Hoke, Iredell, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Lincoln, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Onslow, Orange, Richmond, Rockingham, Stanly, Surry, Wake and Yadkin counties.

There have already been a whole lot of tests given in this state, which has a population of about 10.5 million.  As of noon, Tuesday, 4,416,365 coronavirus tests had been administered in North Carolina.

On a local level too, leaders are notching up their response to the threat.  At a Thursday, Nov. 5 Guilford County Board of Commissioners work session, the board discussed the formation of a cornavirus “task force” that would include elected leaders, law enforcement officials and health officials.