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COVID update Feb. 17: Governor says it’s time to take focus off masking

Feb. 17. With Mecklenburg County’s mask mandate going away in less than 10 days, the NC Dept. of Health & Human Services reported 5,583 new COVID cases today—down from an upward blip yesterday—and another nice decline in statewide hospitalizations.

Hospitalizations fell to 2,711 statewide, down 5.6 percent in a single day, and 12.3 percent since Monday’s data.

As COVID data points in the right direction, the county commission vote last night was unanimous. Businesses, however, are still allowed to implement their own mask requirements.

Gov. Cooper at a press conference

Meanwhile, Gov. Roy Cooper will give an update on mask guidance at 3 pm today as local governments across the state loosen COVID restrictions. To watch live at 3, click here.

UPDATE: Cooper said the focus should be on vaccinations, more so than masking.

Separately, CMS is expected to vote next week on masking.


There were 93 new deaths attributable to COVID-19.

Positivity rate

The statewide COVID positivity rate fell to 10.6 percent today, down from 16.6 percent one week ago.

—In Mecklenburg, the 14-day trailing average also fell, to 16.6 percent positive.


There were 719 new COVID cases reported countywide. For the first time this month, there were no Mecklenburg COVID deaths in NCDHHS’ daily report.

North Mecklenburg (change from Wednesday)

• Cornelius: 19 new cases, 6,601 cumulative total, 34 deaths cumulative total.

• Davidson: 7 new cases, 3,991 cumulative total, 21 deaths cumulative total.

• Huntersville: 28 new cases, 14,97 cumulative total, 86 deaths cumulative total.