Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
A reoccurring protest at the North Carolina state capital calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to lift lockdown measures is scheduled to happen Tuesday despite its main organizer announcing she had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to reports.
Audrey Whitlock wrote on the Reopen NC Facebook page to announce Sunday marked her last day of a two-week period in quarantine. Describing herself as “an asymptomatic COVID19 positive patient,” Whitlock claimed she has been “forced” to self-isolate and, therefore, was “imprisoned in my home.”
“A typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility,” the lengthy post said in part. “I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied an amendment right to freedom of religion…"
“It has been insinuated by others that if I go out, I could be arrested for denying a quarantine order,” she continued. “However, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination by employers, places of accommodation, and state and local government entities… where do we draw the line?”
Whitlock argued that her First, as well as her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, were violated.
She is one of seven organizers listed on the ReOpen NC Facebook page. The group has vowed to hold rallies in Raleigh outside the Capitol and legislative buildings and the Governor’s Mansion every Tuesday until Cooper lifts a stay-at-home order that has effectively shut down all non-essential business and banned public and private gatherings in the state.
Cooper announced Thursday that the stay-at-home order initially set to expire on April 30 would be extended until at least May 8, before North Carolina can begin gradually reopening the economy.
North Carolina, as of Tuesday, recorded at least 9,142 confirmed coronavirus cases, with at least 306 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. At least 473 people were hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19 in the state.
After missing the first two Reopen NC rallies, Whitlock is expected to participate in the protest this Tuesday after completing quarantine.
Last week, hundreds of protesters, holding handmade signs with slogans like “My Rights Are Essential” and “ReOpenNC,” marched through downtown Raleigh while chanting “Freedom Now.” Local news broadcasts of the protest showed that most of the people were not wearing masks and were ignoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidance to keep six feet apart.
This Tuesday, state lawmakers at the Capitol are scheduled to consider a $1.4 billion spending plan to further help small businesses, help schools expand remote learning efforts and expand COVID-19 testing and tracing, WTVD in Raleigh reported. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning Cooper is set to meet with his Telehealth task force geared toward connecting rural communities with health care information.
Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.