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Cooper promotes food aid, says virus trends have stabilized

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper toured a food bank Thursday as food insecurity rises during the coronavirus pandemic. It was one of the governor’s few public events in recent months as the state has been under his executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

North Carolina has more than 161,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2.1 million completed tests. In recent weeks, universities reopening to students have accounted for many of the new cases.

Cooper told reporters at the Raleigh food bank on Thursday that it is “too early to say” if universities’ COVID-19 case clusters and closing of campuses will affect whether more K-12 schools can go back to in-person classes.

He said the universities took the action needed in order to deal with their situations, and his administration will continue to look at the numbers overall statewide.

“We very much want to continue moving forward. I’m pleased that our numbers have stabilized over the last month or so and we look forward to continuing to slow the spread, continuing to grow the economy and also trying to help people who are in need,” Cooper said.

He said it is important, as soon as they safely can, to get children back in school.

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FOOD BANK HELP

Cooper visited the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina’s location on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, where volunteers from Elevation Church were sorting food donations in a warehouse.

Jennifer Caslin of the food bank said that food insecurity had been declining before COVID-19, but that now one in five adults and one in three children is considered food insecure. She said it is not just limited food access being away from schools, but also the economic impact on parents.

Cooper, who wore a mask as did all staff…

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