Governor's 'stay at home' order could continue into May

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Roy Cooper and health experts are laying groundwork to convince the public that social distancing orders could be needed beyond April to dull COVID-19's spread and preserve hospital beds and lives.

Cooper's current statewide stay-at-home order and ban on dine-in service at restaurants and bars currently expire in a few weeks.

A team of epidemiologists and other health policy experts released a report Monday that says maintaining social distancing rules gives hospitals a better chance to respond to a patient surge.

North Carolina is now reporting more than 2,850 positive COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths.