CRHS limits visitors; Cooper warns of rising cases

Columbus Regional Health Center is sponsoring the #maskupcolumbus campaign.

Columbus Regional has tightened restrictions on visitors, as Gov. Roy Cooper tightened mask requirements and warned of harder restrictions to come if COVID cases continue to rise.

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,”  Cooper said in a briefing this afternoon (Monday). “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

The governor’s Executive Order No. 180 goes into effect on Wednesday and runs through Friday, Dec. 11. The order requires that everyone wear a mask whenever they are around any individual who is not a member of their own household. Masks and social distancing will also be required in any public indoor space. The order includes gyms (even during exercise); public and private schools; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household. 

The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said ten more counties have been added to the “red”, or critical, category. There are now 20 red counties and 42 orange counties. Columbus remains a critical county.

“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said Cohen.

Columbus regional announced today that the hospital will limit visitation, due to the rising number of cases in the county, Stephanie Miller of CRHS said 

“Over the last several weeks Columbus County has experienced a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases. Due to increasing COVID-19 cases, the percentage of positive cases, and in light of Columbus County being in the “Red/Critical” County status, we are, once again, implementing additional temporary visitor restrictions. This is in an effort to protect patients, their families, and healthcare workers from the continued spread of COVID-19.”

Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), only one patient visitor will be permitted for patients in the following limited circumstances: 

  •  Patients who are at the end of life 
  •  Minor patients who are under the age of 18 
  •  Patients who are having a baby 
  •  Patients in need of a healthcare decision maker 
  •  Outpatient Surgery Patients 

The visitor must be an immediate family member who is 18 or older and has no fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Visitation hours are limited to 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. 

Additional enforcement?

In his briefing, Cooper has Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn describe her city’s aggressive enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions. Vaughn said the city has authorized employees of multiple departments to assist law enforcement in inspecting businesses for mask usage. Employees from code enforcement and other departments are authorized to issue civil citations ranging from fines to 72 hour padlocking orders for non-compliant businesses.

Whiteville City Manager Darren Currie said the city is making no additional requirements at this time.

“There has been no talk of it among City Council,” he said in an email. “So far our Council has taken the stance of following State recommendations and the E.O. of the Governor on this entire COVID issue including limits on gatherings etc.  Our Council and staff has been encouraging folks to wear their masks.”

Columbus County Health Department will issue new data today.

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Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at

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