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Stories, features and more by WUNC News Staff.  Also, features  and commentary not by any one reporter.

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Governor Cooper will share COVID-19 updates and take action on a bill at a public briefing at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Watch live here:

A Whole Foods Market worker gathers grocery carts in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

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 April 27.

3:25 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 14,764 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. 547 people have died. 192,135 tests have been completed. 442 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus. 99 of 100 North Carolina Counties have reported cases of COVID-19 with Avery county as the lone outlier. - Laura Pellicer, WUNC

5:52 p.m. - The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has announced 4 of its detention officers at the Cumberland County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19. In a press release, Sheriff Ennis Wright said currently no cases have been identified among inmates. The detention officers are recuperating at home and the county health department is tracing their contacts. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

State officials and members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 2 p.m. Friday. Watch live here:

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Watch Live here:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a coronavirus response briefing at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Watch live here:

Major the Bull wears a protective facemark in the downtown plaza in Durham, N.C. Friday, March 27, 2020.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

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 April 20.

5:00 p.m. - The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority's Board of Directors voted Friday to accept $49.5 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The act provides $10 billion in new funds for all airports that are considered part of the national airport system. Under the CARES act, airports must maintain 90% of their workforce – after making adjustments for retirements or voluntary separations – through the end of 2020. RDU's portion of the funding will be used to help pay for debt service, salaries and benefits. - Jason deBruyn, WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the COVID-19 response team will provide an update at a conference today at 2 p.m. Education leaders are expected to join as well.

Watch live here:

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a 3 p.m. briefing on COVID-19 updates.

Watch Live here:

North Carolina health and emergency leaders are sheduled to hold a coronavirus briefing at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Watch live here:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updated. Watch live in English here starting at 2 p.m.

A pedestrian uses a face cover while walking in downtown Durham, N.C., Friday, April 17, 2020. Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-home orders remain in effect as the coronavirus has not yet reached its peak in the state according to some hospitals.
Gerry Broome / AP

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 April 13.

12:17 p.m. - There are 8,830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. 299 people have died, 451 people are in the hospital with the illness, and 107,894 tests have been completed. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC  

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina coronavirus task force will hold a briefing at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Stream live here:

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 3 p.m.

Playgrounds throughout Durham, N.C. city parks were closed March 26, 2020 after Mayor Steve Schewel issued a stay-at-home order for the city in an effort to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

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 April 6.

The state department of health and human services reports 6,493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. 172 people have died, 465 people are in the hospital from the illness. More than 78,000 tests have been completed. 

Black North Carolinians account for 38% of COVID-19 related deaths in the state — based on the available racial data in lab-confirmed cases. African Americans make up approximately 22% of the state population. - Laura Pellicer

4:29 p.m. - It’s become a competition for the soldiers of 647th Quartermaster Company to see who can crank out the most face masks during a shift to protect against the coronavirus. The parachute rigging unit is essential to Airborne operations at Fort Bragg. On any given day, their shed is filled with paratroopers in red ball caps, busy packing parachutes and readying supplies for jumps. While that work continues, soldiers across the room are laser focused on tiny pins and buzzing sewing machines. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, riggers are now making hundreds of cloth face masks per day to fight the virus for personnel around the sprawling Army base in North Carolina. - Associated Press

3:18 p.m. - A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to more than 250 inmates, prison officials said Friday.  State prisons Commissioner Todd Ishee said during a media briefing that 259 inmates had tested positive as of Friday afternoon at Neuse Correctional Institution, a state prison in Goldsboro. He said none currently require hospitalization and that 98% of those testing positive were asymptomatic. All 700 inmates have been tested but some test results are pending.

Ishee said no coronavirus-related deaths have been reported at any of the state's prisons. Statewide, prison officials have been allowing some nonviolent offenders to leave prison early and complete their sentence under community supervision. - Associated Press

2:00 p.m. -  State emergency officials are continuing to ramp up procurement of healthcare equipment and supplies and distribute it across the state. The Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry said that just yesterday the state ordered $12.8 million worth. Speaking to North Carolina's emergency response commission earlier today, Sprayberry said the state distributed gear to 42 counties yesterday.  

Over the next week, the state is expecting to receive 2.2 million N-95 masks, other protective equipment along with two refrigerated trucks that may be needed to handle the dead. Sprayberry said the state is unlikely to receive any more supplies from the depleted national stockpile. - Cole del Charco
Jessica Whichard with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina says food banks are buying excess produce from local farms that have extra supply due to a lack of sales to restaurants. She says one challenge lately has been sorting through that food with fewer volunteers to help. North Carolina food banks are utilizing delivery and pick up to get food to people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior citizens who receive meals through a federal nutrition program are getting their monthly food boxes delivered at home. Food banks are also pulling food orders together for families ahead of time and loading them into their cars to limit person-to-person contact. - Celeste Gracia

1:15 p.m. - Nearly 150 inmates at a state prison in Goldsboro have tested positive for COVID-19. The spike in cases comes after all 700 offenders at the Neuse Correctional Institution were tested for the illness. Previously the state division of prisons said 30 inmates at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19. Testing was also offered to all staff members at the prison. - Celeste Gracia

11:55: a.m. - There at least 46 nursing homes and residential care facilities with outbreaks of COVID-19 across North Carolina, three more than yesterday. The state department of health and human services reports that includes facilities from Durham, Orange and Johnston counties. There are at least seven correctional facilities with outbreaks of COVID-19, up one from yesterday. - Celeste Gracia

The state department of health and human services reports 5,859 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. That's nearly 400 more than yesterday. 152 people have died, almost 429 people are in the hospital from the illness. More than 72,000 tests have been completed. - Celeste Gracia

11:45 a.m. - The state's unemployment division expects to triple its staff to meet the unprecedented surge in unemployment claims. The division expects to have more than 1,600 people to help process claims and issue payments with the addition of staff from the workforce division and private call centers by the end of next week. Officials say that will be the largest number of people handling unemployment claims in the state's history. Well over 600,000 unemployment claims have been filed since March 15, most attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only about a third of those who've applied have received payments. - Celeste Gracia

The state Department of Health and Human Services is providing additional funding to the state's Medicaid program to support nursing homes with older adult Medicaid beneficiaries at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. N.C. Medicaid will offer expedited hardship payments and enhanced reimbursement rates to facilities with multiple COVID-positive residents. This targeted Medicaid funding is meant to help adult care homes provide the more intensive care needed for residents with COVID-19 and limit the spread of the coronavirus. - Celeste Gracia

11:30 a.m. - Health care workers at UNC Health can participate in a national clinical trial to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in preventing health care workers from getting COVID-19. To enroll, people must first participate in a program that asks health care workers to share clinical and life experiences in order to understand the perspectives and problems faced by those on the COVID-19 pandemic front lines. - Celeste Gracia

North Carolina has received more than $2 billion from the federal government as part of the federal coronavirus relief package approved last month, said N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell. The money is the first disbursement from the federal government of more than $4 billion expected for North Carolina. The General Assembly  will decide how the state’s money will be spent as part of legislation expected toward the end of this month. -  Celeste Gracia

 Greensboro based manufacturer Precision Fabrics Group is supplying material needed to make isolation gowns for healthcare workers in need of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The company has sent more than seven thousand pounds of material to a health care system in Arizona. - Celeste Gracia 

Data scientists who are tracking the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina say state officials should use caution when considering whether to lift social distancing measures. Governor Roy Cooper said this week he would increase efforts to track the virus and determine when the state might see a peak in COVID-19 cases. Aaron McKethan, a data and health policy professor at Duke University, says lifting social distancing measures entirely could still cause a spike in cases that overwhelms hospitals.

"I think of it as not one peak, but a series of peaks, and our job in the public arena is thinking about how to prepare for the second, third and beyond peaks," says KcKethan. McKethan says the state will also need to be prepared to contain small outbreaks of the virus when it does decide to ease social distancing measures. - Will Michaels

11:15 a.m. - Forsyth and Guilford counties have ended their local stay-at-home orders and are now just following the governor's statewide directive. Forsyth County Commission Chair David Plyler says there was a lot of confusion among residents in his county about which order to follow. The governor's stay-at-home order is currently set to expire on April 29th. Plyler says the county is ready to continue observing the guidance from state officials.

Meawhile, Wake County has extended its local order through April 30th with slight changes. The county will allow all retail businesses to operate if they provide delivery or curbside pickup options and will allow faith organizations to hold drive-in services. - Celeste Gracia

 

7:19 p.m. - North Carolina's Emergency Operations Center has now been up and running for 38 days in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That's longer than after hurricanes Matthew or Florence. In a further indication that the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic will continue, state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said at a briefing Thursday his agency has formed a food supply chain working group and that the USDA has assured a shipment would be arriving in mid-May to support school feeding programs. -Amy Jeffries, WUNC

4:23 p.m. - The volume of passengers traveling through Raleigh-Durham International Aiport was down nearly 52% in the month of March compared to a year earlier. Stay-at-home orders and guidelines that limited travel due to the coronavirus curtailed air travel starting in mid-to-late March. The airport says traffic is now hovering around 4% of what it was last year. That's in line with the sharp declines other U.S. airports are experiencing. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

3:30 p.m. - A North Carolina-based chicken processor is selling its products directly to consumers across the south as the coronavirus crisis as interrupted normal food distribution. House of Raeford Farms began sales at a single location three weeks ago and expanded to six of its seven plants in the southeast. Customers can drive to a designated site and wait in their cars as their order is brought to them in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. -Cole del Charco, WUNC

2:02 p.m. - The 2020 REX Hospital Open has been canceled, in response to the evolving coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, title sponsor UNC REX Healthcare said  it was in complete agreement with the decision by the PGA TOUR to cancel additional Korn Ferry Tour events. - Jason deBruyn, WUNC

1:22 p.m. - The ban on tourists in the Outer Banks has caused large piles of uncollected seashells to form during the coronavirus pandemic. A video posted to Facebook by the Cape Lookout National Seashore shows multitudes of colorful shells spread out across the beach as waves splash over them. Park facilities at the Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras National Seashores are closed due to the virus, but the grounds are open to residents. The shells remain uncollected since visitors are the ones that tend to gather them during the springtime.  Cole del Charco, WUNC

12:04 p.m. - Wake County is extending its stay at home order through April 30th with some modifications. Under the updated order, all retail businesses in the county are allowed to operate if they provide delivery or curbside pickup options. It also reiterates the need for employers to conduct basic health screenings and send workers home if they are sick. The order also allows faith organizations to hold drive-in services. Wake County officials point to data to show that social distancing efforts are helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but urge residents to continue practicing social distancing to flatten the curve. Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:30 a.m. - There at least 43 nursing homes and residential care facilities with outbreaks of COVID-19 across North Carolina. The state department of health and human services reports that includes facilities from Guilford, Wake and Cumberland counties. There are at least six correctional facilities with outbreaks of COVID-19. Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:56 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports over 5,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. About 130 people have died. Around 450 people are hospitalized with the illness. Over 70,000 tests have been completed. 94 of the state's 100 counties have identified cases of COVID-19. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 3 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.

AllenG. Breed / AP

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 March 30.

3:45 p.m. - Orange County is reporting its first resident death from complications associated with COVID-19. The patient was under Hospice Care at PruittHealth – Carolina Point, one of two nursing home facilities in Orange County where there are outbreaks of COVID-19. Carolina Point has at least 66 residents with confirmed cases of the illness.  Two other residents of Carolina Point have died.  - Celeste Gracia, Will Michaels, WUNC

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.

A tattoo and piercing shop on Hillsborough Street is closed during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

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 March 23.

12:02 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services says there are now more than 2,500 cases of COVID-19 in the state. 31 deaths from the illness have been reported. Nearly 270 people are hospitalized. 89 of the state's 100 counties have identified cases of COVID-19. The state says over 40,000 tests have been conducted. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

How the spread of coronavirus, and the mitigation efforts to control it, are impacting some schools in North Carolina.

School Districts

Durham Public Schools will close starting on Monday as a measure to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (left) will face Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (right) in the November general election.
Ben McKeown for WUNC / AP

Updated 10 p.m.

Three North Carolina members of Congress with challengers from their own party this year all won primaries on Tuesday.

Caroline Amenabar / NPR

Fourteen states (including North Carolina) and one U.S. territory held presidential primaries Tuesday. The NPR Politics team is spread across the country to cover Super Tuesday.

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