Fourteen additional people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Durham County, raising the county total to 755.
The Durham County Department of Health continues to monitor COVID outbreaks at four Durham long-term care facilities and one crisis and assessment center.
111 of those cases at Durham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 57 at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center, five at Durham Recovery Response Center, four at Durham VA Healthcare System Community Nursing Home and two at Hillcrest Convalescent Center.
Cumberland County now has a total of 289 cases of COVID-19 within the county after three new people tested positive for the virus.
Starting Monday, face coverings will be required for everyone who enters the Cumberland County Courthouse or attends court proceedings at the Cumberland County Detention Center.
The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously passed two COVID-19 response packages on Saturday, approving over $1.5 billion of funding relief.
The bill addresses purchasing PPE, expanding digital infrastructure and research and development for fighting the virus. It also supports testing for uninsured patients, rural and underserved communities.
“I applaud the General Assembly for working quickly to pass legislation to fight COVID-19 in North Carolina. These bills were developed collaboratively, and although it’s just a first step, they are the product of a consensus approach that I hope can continue. I will be reviewing them closely and look forward to taking action on them soon,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.
Halifax County health officials reported two more COVID-19 cases for a total of 65. Included in those cases are 36 recoveries and one death.
North Carolina health officials said there are 11,509 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout 98 counties, up 586 from Friday. There are 420 reported deaths from the virus, up 21 from Friday.
502 cases are currently being hospitalized, down 45 from Friday. 139,475 tests have been completed, up 5,643 from Friday.
The state’s goal is 5,000 to 7,000 tests daily.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley extended previously issued emergency directives until May 30. The directive includes all superior and district court hearings being rescheduled unless being conducted remotely, necessary to preserve right to due process, is for the purpose of obtaining emergency relief or conducted under conditions that protect health and safety of participants.
The order eliminates a consent requirement that made it harder for courts to schedule remote hearings with teleconference technology.
As of Saturday morning, there are 1,104,161 confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the United States.
Two more Durham County residents have died from COVID-19 related complications raising the county total to 23. Officials said the two people were over the age of 65 and had multiple underlying heath conditions placing them at high risk for severe illness.
The Durham County Department of Public Health continues to monitor COVID outbreaks at four Durham long-term care facilities and one crisis and assessment center. 111 of those cases at Durham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 49 at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center, five at Durham Recovery Response Center, four at Durham VA Healthcare System Community Nursing Home and two at Hillcrest Convalescent Center.
In total, the county reports 741 positive cases confirmed in the county raises to 741, eight more than Thursday.
The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating seven coronavirus-related complaints regarding the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel.
The labor department confirmed the investigation to ABC11 on Friday but would not provide more details, citing the fact that the cases are still open.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its list of ongoing outbreaks at nursing homes and residential care facilities across the state.
The largest current outbreak is at The Citadel at Salisbury nursing home in Rowan County, where there are 144 cases. The deadliest outbreak is at Louisburg Healthcare and Rehab Center in Franklin County, where officials reported 18 deaths.
One outbreak at Village Care of King nursing home in Stokes County is considered over, with no ongoing cases. The nursing home had two cases–one staff member and one resident–and no deaths.
Wake County reports 855 total coronavirus cases within the county, 17 more than Friday.
The Lee County Health Department is monitoring 19 additional positive cases of COVID-19, raising the county total to 188.
Of those 188, health officials say 39 people have returned to normal activities and one person has died.
In a news conference, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state would release ZIP code data for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina.
“We’re just trying to share as much information so folks feel like we’re being transparent,” Cohen said.
Cohen cautioned the data had limitations–they would not report cases in ZIP codes with less than 500 people and less than five lab-confirmed cases. In addition, Cohen said the data does have a substantial amount of variation, so health leaders would continue to look at county data as an indication of the situation in North Carolina.
Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry also said the ZIP code data would allow emergency teams to understand where to direct equipment and personnel to help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Cohen also said as North Carolina gets closer to reopening, the state continues to ramp up testing.
“We didn’t get here by accident, Cohen said. “I’m really really proud to be a North Carolinian.”
However, Cohen said when the state does reopen, residents will need to continue to use face coverings, stay socially distant, keep washing hands and stay home when feeling sick. Cohen said 38 percent of North Carolinians under the age of 65 have a chronic condition that puts them at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
“If we stay home now, we can put ourselves on a successful path to begin easing those restrictions and move forward as planned,” Cohen said.
The Sampson County Health Department reports 7 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total positive cases in Sampson County to 81.
When school starts back up in the fall, it will be very different than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Wake County Public School System.
“The one thing we know for certain is that school will look very different next year, perhaps drastically different,” Superintendent Cathy Moore said during WCPSS’s weekly briefing.
Students will not return to class for the 2019-2020 school year, and right now it’s unclear when and how the 2020-2021 school year will begin.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported a total of 10,923 cases in the state. That’s up 414 from Thursday.
21 more deaths were also reported.
5,315 tests were completed in a 24-period. The state’s goal is 5,000 to 7,000 tests daily.
Since last Friday, the state has seen 2,871 more cases and 130 more deaths.
The IRS and Treasury confirmed that 120 million stimulus checks have been issued over the past 30 days.
North Carolina has paid out more than $1 billion in unemployment claims since March 15.
The Department of Employment Security (DES) said it has paid 391,200 unemployed North Carolina citizens. However, 963,403 people have applied for assistance. More than 811,000 people specifically cited COVID-19 as the reason for their job loss.
According to DES, State Unemployment Insurance has paid $392,602,674, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation has paid $567,278,816, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance has paid $59,114,191.
A morning protest in Raleigh never panned out.
ABC11 never saw any protesters arrive at the location they said they were going to gather. However some social media reports suggest a handful of people did show up in downtown Raleigh for the protest.
The protest organizers sent information saying they would be armed with weapons and peacefully assemble. They said they “need to be fully armed as a show of force.” The organizers said the protest was to “ensure that our local businesses do not get bullied and shut down.”
While that protest never materialized, another protest is still scheduled for noon Friday.
The noon protest is being called a “Rolling Rally for Freedom.” It is being organized by Women for America First, and all participants have been urged to decorate their cars and bring signs.
A ceremonial flyover is taking place to honor eastern North Carolina health workers.
F-15 fighter jets from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will take off Friday morning and fly south to Wilmington, north through Jacksonville, Kinston and Greenville, and then loop back around past Wilson, Clayton, Smithfield, and Goldsboro.
The jets are scheduled to fly over Wilson Medical Center around 10 a.m. ABC11 will be there to bring you the flyover live on ABC11.com.
FRIDAY MORNING HEADLINES
North Carolina now has at least 10,509 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 378 deaths. Health officials are looking at four key metrics to determine when the state can begin reopening. The metrics include the number of people with symptoms, the number of lab-confirmed cases, the number of cases vs. total tests and the number of hospitalizations.
“Even as we ease restrictions, if you don’t feel safe, it won’t work,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “In order for the people to be with us, there has to be a trust and a knowledge that they can feel safe when they work and shop and eat out.”
On Thursday, Cooper said he was ‘optimistic’ that the state could move into Phase 1 of reopening next week. Across the country, twelve states start lifting restrictions Friday.
There is at least one protest planned for Friday in downtown Raleigh. Multiple groups, including “Rolling Rally for Freedom” are scheduled to hold demonstrations. Police put up a large barrier in front of the executive mansion around 5 a.m. in preparation. On Tuesday, four arrests were made during a “ReOpen NC” protest.
Walgreens is also opening up a COVID-19 testing site on Guess Rd. in Durham on Friday. Tests are free but only available by appointment and to those who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria.
The state house and senate will send a $1.7 billion relief bill to Cooper’s desk Friday.
Since mid-March, more than 935,000 unemployment claims have been filed in North Carolina. Approximately 30 million have filed for unemployment throughout the country.
Durham County has confirmed an additional coronavirus-related death raising the county total to 21, according to health officials.
Since Wednesday night, Durham County is up nine positive COVID-19 cases, raising the county total to 733.
The health department continues to monitor outbreaks at four long-term care facilities and one crisis and assessment center. The numbers are as follow:
- 111 at Durham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- 49 at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center
- 5 at Durham Recovery Response Center
- 4 at Durham VA Healthcare System Community Nursing Home
- 2 at Hillcrest Convalescent Center
A Walgreens in Durham will open a COVID-19 testing site on Friday, May 1.
The Walgreens at 3798 Guess Road will host testing outside of the pharmacy at no cost. Testing at the location is only available by appointment only and those who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria.
The Department of Public Health says there are 13 new cases in Cumberland County, for a total of 272 positive COVID-19 cases countywide.
Wake County Department of Health reports 20 new COVID-19 cases in the county, raising the total number of positive cases to 813.
Wake County is monitoring its third outbreak of COVID-19 at a long-term care facility.
Officials said the county public health team received positive COVID-19 test results linked to Capital Nursing and Rehabilitation Care in Raleigh, but did not elaborate how many cases are at the center or whether those cases were in patients or staff members.
“Because of the virus’ ability to spread quickly, people in co-living environments are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Wake County Epidemiologist Dr. Nicole Mushonga in a written statement. “We are working with the facility’s medical staff to answer their questions about the virus and provide guidance to protect their residents and staff.”
The Lee County Health Department is monitoring 15 new positive cases of COVID-19, raising the county total to 169.
The Health Department said of those 169 cases, 20 have resumed normal activities.
At a news conference, Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the frustrations of many who are eager for the economy to reopen.
The governor said he wants that, too, but it must be tempered with caution and guided by data and facts.
“Last week we shared details on key indicators we’re watching to ensure data and facts guide our decisions,” Cooper said. “We remain optimistic the trends will be stable enough to move us into Phase 1 next week. My message today is to stay vigilant. Right now, we need people to continue following the Stay-At-Home Order so that we can move into the phases of easing restrictions. Complacency could risk lives and undo these plans.”
Cooper added that North Carolinians need to feel safe in order to reopen the economy–if busineses open too early, employees and customers might not feel safe returning to work and to shop.
“We must get this economy running better, but we need working North Carolinians to trust that they feel safe as we move forward, and that’s our goal–to move forward,” Cooper said.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen outlines where North Carolina stands in terms of the four trends outlined in the governor’s plan to reopen. In order to move into the first phase of reopening, Cohen said the state must see a downward trajectory in the number of COVID-like syndromic Emergency Room visits, a decrease or sustained leveling in the number of new cases reported each day, a decrease in or sustained leveling of the number of hospitalizations, and a decrease in the number of positive tests as a percentage of total tests completed.
“North Carolina is doing better than a lot of the rest of the country, and we need to keep that up,” Cohen said.
While North Carolina had been on a steady downward trajectory in the number of COVID-like Emergency Room visits as a percentage of total visits, in the last seven days, the state has seen a slight uptick in these visits. Cohen said North Carolinians should look at this as a sign that the state is not yet ready to reopen.
Additionally, Cohen emphasized North Carolina saw its highest single day increase in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases to date. As the number of cases reported each day continues to increase, Cohen said officials would continue to monitor those numbers to look for a sustained leveling.
However, Cohen pointed out that the number of cases increasing could be a result of more tests being completed. “As we test more, we know there’s more COVID-19 out there, so we know we’re going to pick up more cases,” Cohen said.
That’s why Cohen pointed to the number of cases as a percentage of total tests as a positive metric–the ratio of positive tests appears to be decreasing steadily. Additionally, Cohen said hospitalizations have been mostly level in the range of 400 to 500 patients occupying hospital beds each day.
Cohen also applauded the state’s efforts to increase testing and contact tracing, but highlighted that the state has less than a 30 day supply of surgical gowns and N95 masks.
“The overall picture is mixed, but we remain optimistic that these trends will be stable enough to be able to move into Phase 1 next week,” Cohen said.
Cooper also responded to individuals and counties who are defying the stay-at-home order. “I have concerns when people are blatantly ignoring rules because it can cost lives,” Cooper said. “This is truly a matter of life and death.”
The Sampson County Health Department reports 11 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total positive cases in Sampson County to 74.
As previously reported, there is an active outbreak of COVID-19 at Smithfield Packing Company in Clinton. County health officials said there are 21 confirmed cases at the plant (some of these cases are in people who live in other counties and are not counted in the total cases for Sampson County). Smithfield and the Health Department continue to work closely together to monitor the health of their employees, the county said.
Sampson County has not had a COVID-19 related death.
The North Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $1.7 billion coronavirus relief package Thursday.
Now, the House and the Senate, which passed a $1.4 billion relief bill Wednesday must work to find a compromise before the package can go to Gov. Roy Cooper.
The Halifax County Health Department said that as of midnight, it was aware of 381 confirmed tests performed, with 60 cases of COVID-19 confirmed.
The county has had one COVID-19-related death. Thirty patients have recovered. Health officials said 21 tests are pending and 300 people tested negative.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now reporting 10,509 cases across the state which is an increase of 561, the largest increase so far during the pandemic.
While the state is reporting more cases, they’re also reporting many more tests. In the last 24 hours, 9,596 tests were completed, which is the second-highest count we’ve seen so far. On April 10, 9,836 tests were conducted, which was the most of the pandemic. The state’s goal is 5,000 to 7,000 tests daily.
24 more deaths were also reported on Thursday. The total in the state is now 378.
THURSDAY MORNING STORYLINES
Wake County is letting its stay-at-home order expire after Thursday. Starting Friday, Wake Co. will operate under the state’s stay-at-home order. Gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed in the county.
A $1.4 billion COVID-19 relief bill is up for vote in the NC House Thursday. The bill passed the state Senate Wednesday.
The nation’s health leaders are reporting positive results from a drug to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients. Gilead Sciences said its drug Remdesivir has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test.
Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s Coronavirus Task Force will hold a COVID-19 briefing Thursday at 3 p.m.
New models from a team of epidemiologists and data scientists show that North Carolina has flattened the curve of the novel coronavirus better than previously expected.
In a report from the Sheps Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers said the doubling rate of COVID-19, or the amount of time it takes for cases to double, has increased from 2-4 days in mid-March to 7-8 days in early April and 13-14 days by April 22. However, the researchers did point out that some counties are seeing a higher rate of infection because of outbreaks in nursing homes, prisons and food processing plants.
Thursday marks one month since the stay-at-home order went into effect in North Carolina and ABC11 obtained fresh data showing whether or not people are staying home.
According to the anonymous cellphone location data analyzed by Safegraph — the percentage of people staying home started to peak across the state in mid-April at 37.7 percent. By April 24, that number went down two percentage points with 35.7 percent of people staying home the entire day.
The frustrations continue for many people when it comes to not getting their stimulus money.
As of April 17, the IRS said approximately 36 percent of people in North Carolina had gotten their stimulus money, meaning a lot of people are still waiting.
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