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Health

Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 17

 A boy is vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Forsyth County Public Health Department on May 13, 2021.
Forsyth County
/
via Flickr
A boy is vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Forsyth County Public Health Department on May 13, 2021.

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 10.


May 21, 2021

11:47 a.m. - Children under 12 are the only age group still excluded from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. They're at lower risk than most adults, but some parents are unsure about how to move in a world with many now un-masked. North Carolina was responding to CDC guidance a week ago in lifting most mask requirements with more people fully vaccinated.

While touring a pre-school center with the U.S. Education Secretary and other officials on Thursday, State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said parents who are vaccinated shouldn't worry that they might pass the virus onto their children.

“We know more and more that vaccines protect you, not just from getting COVID but from spreading COVID,” Cohen said. “So you can feel safe going into these public places.”

Cohen has said she'll continue wearing her mask around her young daughters to make sure they follow suit. And that anyone who isn't vaccinated should keep wearing a mask. If clinical trials continue to go well with the Pfizer vaccine, children under 12 could be eligible to get the shot this fall. – Cole del Charco, WUNC

May, 20, 2021

3:28 p.m. - Federal authorities have accused a North Carolina couple of stealing $200,000 from a high school booster club and using COVID-19-relief business loans to cover their crime. The Charlotte Observer reports Anthony and Deana Sharper both are charged with wire fraud, which carries up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine upon a conviction. According to the indictment, over a three-year period starting in 2017, the Sharpers wrote more than $100,000 in checks to themselves for fraudulent reimbursements, wired booster club money directly to their personal bank accounts and also used booster credit and debit cards to run up thousands of dollars in personal expenses. - Associated Press

3:15 p.m. - Wake County hopes to entice teachers to work over the summer by offering them thousands of dollars to teach the state's new summer learning program. Earlier this week, the Wake County school board approved to pay teachers $45 an hour plus bonuses if they participate. The state-required program will help educate more than 16,000 students who are at risk of academic failure. Students will receive at least six weeks of summer instruction to make up for the learning losses they've suffered due to the pandemic. -Naomi Prioleau, WUNC

1:30 p.m. - The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is starting to prepare for a fall semester at full capacity. The university will start resetting classrooms, campus spaces and meeting rooms to full capacity this week. Furniture including desks and chairs will be returned to the rooms. University staff will also begin removing social distancing signage on campus. Following the governor's new orders, face coverings on campus are no longer required, with some exceptions. -Celeste Gracia, WUNC

May 19, 2021

6 p.m. - A Durham bar's lawsuit against the city and state for lost revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions has been dismissed. The owner of Atomic Fern filed the lawsuit, seeking $25,000 dollars to keep the business up and running. An attorney for the bar told WRAL that the owner accepted the mandates that restricted re-opening due to COVID-19, but claim it was unjust. Atomic Fern was open for six years until it closed in March 2020. - Naomi Prioleau, WUNC

5:50 p.m. - Gov. Cooper has laid out a plan for how he would like state lawmakers to spend $5.7 billion in federal relief funding. On the top of Cooper’s list are spending on infrastructure, education and high-speed internet. He wants to use $1.2 billion on connecting what he says are more than a million North Carolina households that lack affordable and reliable access to the internet.

Cooper's plans for the relief funding would also help the hospitality industry, the seven American-Indian tribes recognized by the state but not the federal government and give parents up to $500 grants. The state has until the end of 2026 to spend the money. - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

9:54 a.m. - The Town of Wake Forest has announced the return of several in-person events, including its fireworks celebration for Independence Day in July. This announcement comes after state officials lifted all indoor and outdoor capacity limits last week. Masks and social distancing are also no longer required. Last summer, multiple events for the Fourth of July were canceled because of the pandemic. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:44 a.m. - North Carolina’s emergency rental assistance program is opening a second application period for very low-income renters experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic. Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of rent assistance. Utility assistance is also available. Very low-income is defined as earning less than or equal to 50% of the area median income for the county where the renter lives. The program is available in 88 of the state’s counties. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:36 a.m. - The federally supported mass vaccination center in Greensboro will close next Thursday. Officials say they're closing the center because vaccines are now widely available at pharmacies, healthcare facilities and other public locations. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:33 a.m. – Gov. Roy Cooper will hold a press conference this afternoon to unveil his recommendations on spending new federal COVID-19 relief funds. North Carolina will receive $5.4 billion through another federal relief package. Half of that money is now available for lawmakers to use. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:05 a.m. - The city of Raleigh is preparing to get more of its staff to return to in-person work. City council members heard an update on the plans during their afternoon meeting Tuesday.

Derrick Remer is the director of emergency management and special events for Raleigh. He says he doesn't want to abolish all the COVID-19 restrictions in city workplaces just yet.

“We're going to continue providing a lot of those safety measures to make sure that our community and staff are safe,” Remer said. “So we're going to continue to encourage wellness screenings that are entry points. And we're going to encourage wearing masks both indoors and when interacting with the public.”

He says an in-person workplace is beneficial to employees and customers. Gov. Roy Cooper has lifted most mask mandates and social distancing requirements. At a bill-signing held outside the governor's mansion this week, Cooper said advice on office returns for public and private employers could be coming soon. – Naomi Prioleau, WUNC

May 18, 2021

6:30 p.m. - The City of Raleigh is preparing to get more of its staff to return to in-person work. City council members heard an update on the plans during their afternoon meeting Tuesday. Derrick Remer, director of emergency management and special events for Raleigh, says he doesn't want to abolish all the COVID-19 restrictions in city workplaces just yet.

"We're going to continue providing a lot of those safety measures to make sure that our community and staff are safe. So we're going to continue to encourage wellness screenings at our entry points. And we're going to encourage wearing masks both indoors and when interacting with the public," he said.

Remer says an in-person workplace is beneficial to employees and customers.
Gov. Roy Cooper has lifted most mask mandates and social distancing requirements. At a bill-signing held outside the governor's mansion this week, Cooper said advice on office returns for public and private employers could be coming soon. - Naomi Prioleau, WUNC

May 17, 2021

7:20 a.m. - The old state Capitol building in downtown Raleigh is reopening to the public after being closed for 15 months during the pandemic. Starting today, visitors can enter the 1840 Greek Revival-style building for self-guided tours on weekdays during normal business hours. – Cole del Charco, WUNC

7:05 a.m. - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held five socially distanced in-person graduation ceremonies over the weekend. UNC graduates heard pre-recorded statements from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Biden. And UNC alumna Kizzmekia Corbett, who helped develop Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

“No students dating back over 100 years since the historic influenza pandemic of 1918 have had this level of disruption to their lives during their student years,” Fauci said.

Corbett added: "Congratulations. You did it. You did it boldly, you did it fearlessly, you did it intelligently, and the prize of it all is that you did it in a pandemic."

UNC was part of preliminary testing for Moderna's vaccine, and vaccinated many students on campus this year. UNC attempted to offer in-person classes in the fall, then switched to remote learning for the rest of the semester after COVID-19 outbreaks on campus. - Cole del Charco, WUNC


This post is compiled and edited by Elizabeth Baier, Jason deBruyn, Laura Pellicer and Mitchell Northam.


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