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