The state is considering how and when residents and businesses will be able to return to life as normal, even if normal will be forever changed.
While officials in the Cooper administration point out the coronavirus will be a threat until there's a vaccine, they acknowledge current social distancing policies can't go on forever.
"Getting this right, testing, tracing and trends, is the most important step," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "It will lead to getting our state's economic recovery right, too."
Cooper said the coronavirus will be with North Carolina until there's a vaccine, which could be more than a year away.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Doctor Mandy Cohen added that a three-prong approach of testing for COVID-19, tracing transmission and watching trends is the key to re-opening safely.
"This will allow us to identify who has COVID-19, quickly react to the spread, and know whether we need to dial up, or dial down policies," she said.
Cohen said testing capacity and speed is improving, but the lack of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers continues to be a limitation to how much testing can be done.