Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of June 8

Jun 8, 2020

North Carolina continues to slowly reopen from the coronavirus pandemic as the year creeps into June.
Credit Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/2XGdqGz

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 June 1.

June 12, 2020

6:30 p.m. - Opponents of the Governor's order banning mass gatherings plan to rally in Alamance County tomorrow. An announcement from ReOpen NC says it is sponsoring a fundraiser for Ace Speedway's legal defense. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the racetrack, which had been hosting crowded stock car racing events the past three weekends. Since April, ReOpen NC has held repeated rallies in the state capitol to protest restrictions on business and activity meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

6:20 p.m. - Kill Devil Hills has anounced a plan to postpone its Independence Day fireworks event amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kill Devil Hills plans to set off their fireworks Labor Day weekend instead. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

6:10 p.m. The governor has signed a bill to make absentee-by-mail voting easier this fall and polling places safer amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new law pays for hand sanitizer and masks for in-person voters and allows voters to request absentee ballots by fax, email or online. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

 

6 p.m. - Ten percent of North Carolina's tests for COVID-19 are coming back positive. That's among the highest rates in the U.S. right now. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen discussed the acceleration of the outbreak at a briefing today.

"I don't think this is our second wave. I think this is our first. And it's on us to make sure we can live with this virus and make sure we don't overwhelm our healthcare system and we save lives."

Cohen said North Carolinians responded to the state's initial outbreak by taking precautions to flatten the curve. She encouraged individuals to continue  following distancing and hygiene guidelines get tested for COVID-19 if they've been in high-risk situations and to answer calls from local health departments working to trace the spread of the disease. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:50 p.m. - Gov. Roy Cooper says he has not decided whether to sign or veto a bill from the General Assembly that would allow bars and gyms to partially reopen immediately despite an acceleration of confirmed COVID-19 cases. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:40 p.m. - A class-action lawsuit has been filed against an Outer Banks real estate company. The Virginian-Pilot reported Surf or Sound Realty allegedly refused to issue refunds for people who couldn't visit because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Earlier this year, Dare County had closed its borders to prevent the virus's spread. And the North Carolina Real Estate Commission had ruled that renters who could not reach their beach houses were due a refund. Company CEO Dale Petty disagreed, saying many owners of the beach homes are struggling financially. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:30 p.m. - Starting Friday, restaurants in Raleigh can expand outdoor seating to sidewalks or parking lots. The city began taking applications from restaurants, breweries and wineries for temporary outdoor seating licenses at the beginning of this month. For businesses that already have a license, those are being extended for the next year. Moore says the city is also willing to consider closing streets to allow for more outdoor seating. Restaurants must arrange outdoor tables at least six feet apart. The temporary licenses will last until all COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:50 a.m. - The City and county of Durham have amended two items to the local safer-at-home order. Outdoor exercise classes may now be conducted in accordance with state and local guidelines. Classes cannot have more than 25 people and participants must be socially distanced. Realtors can now host open houses of homes for sale as long as there are less than 10 people inside at a time. While allowed, the order still strongly discourages open houses. The amendments go into effect today at 5 p.m. All other rules in Durham's order remain, including a requirement for people to wear face coverings in public settings when social distancing is not possible. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:41 a.m. - The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has identified an outbreak of COVID-19 at the county's detention facility. Two employees at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The sheriff's office says it's working with the New Hanover County health department to ensure the facility is following safety guidelines. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:33 a.m. - The Supreme Court of North Carolina will hear oral arguments remotely on Monday for the first time in the court's history. The arguments are scheduled for next Monday through Wednesday and will be conducted via Webex. The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently held remote oral arguments via Webex. The public can watch the oral arguments live online. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:27 a.m. - The city of Raleigh will offer select, modified in-person summer camps starting June 29. The city had previously canceled summer camps through June 26. The city says they have identified which camps can successfully be modified to meet new safety guidelines, and are prioritizing camps that provide all day care for working families. No new registrations for camp are currently being accepted. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

9:56 a.m. - A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a real estate company on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after it allegedly refused to issue refunds for people who couldn’t visit because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that the suit was filed against Surf or Sound Realty. Earlier this year, Dare County had closed its borders to prevent the virus's spread. And the North Carolina Real Estate Commission had ruled that renters who could not reach their beach houses were due a refund. Company CEO Dale Petty disagreed with the commission's ruling. He said many owners of the beach homes are struggling financially. – The Associated Press

8:07 a.m. - The state House and Senate has approved legislation that defers the behind-the-wheel tests for teenagers seeking a limited provisional license. The Division of Motor Vehicles is not currently offering those tests due to social distancing concerns. The measure allows young people to obtain a limited license without the test, but requires them to take the test within six months to receive their full license. The bill now goes to Governor Roy Cooper. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:56 a.m. - The General Assembly has approved a bill to make it easier for voters to access absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic this fall. The legislation received bipartisan support on Thursday in final votes in the Senate and House. The measure now heads to the governor. The bill also ensures in-person voting sites will be clean and safe. The measure would provide money to purchase hand sanitizer and masks for in-person voters and would allow voters to request absentee ballots by fax, email or online. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:49 a.m. - COVID-19 is having an outsized impact on Durham's Latinx population. Durham County Health Director Rodney Jenkins said during a briefing Thursday that Hispanic and Latinx people make up nearly 73% of the cases recorded in the county this month, but they're only 14% of the county population. Jenkins said most of those cases are associated with construction sites, which have been considered "essential" since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Carolina. Jenkins said the Health Department has been working with partner organizations to make information about the disease and prevention measures more effective and accessible to Durham's Latinx residents. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:43 a.m. - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been granted a temporary restraining order against an Alamance County racetrack. Ace Speedway has been hosting thousands of spectators at stock car races over the past three weekends in defiance of Governor Roy Cooper's order barring mass gatherings to stem the spread of COVID-19. Alamance County Superior Court Judge D. Thomas Lambeth says COVID-19 still poses an "imminent health hazard" in the state and the county. Attorneys for the health department and the speedway will head back to court next week. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:38 a.m. - Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest cast the only "no" vote against the State Board of Education's plan for reopening schools in the fall. Forest put out a statement that said, “Our schools should be full of students, not fear.” Forest criticized Governor Roy Cooper for using a "one size fits all" approach. Forest is the Republican candidate for governor in this year's election. An official with the department of Health and Human Services backed the plans that were adopted, citing the need for flexibility as COVID-19 metrics change over the summer. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

June 11, 2020

4:10 p.m. - The State Board of Education today approved coronavirus safety plans for schools to reopen this fall. School districts will need to prepare three levels of safety procedures. Minimal social distancing, moderate social distancing and remote learning. In addition to the state's operational guidelines, Chief Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Susan Gale Perry  gave an update on health guidance. 

"These are the requirements and recommendations now, just like the DPI operational guidance, these things may evolve."

The Board held a tense discussion over whether or not cloth facemasks should be a requirement or a recommendation. No final decision was made. Further guidelines will be updated in July based on the state of the COVID-19 outbreak. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

3:50 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper tweeted today that he has tested negative for COVID-19 and has no symptoms. Cooper sought testing after speaking with a crowd protesting recent police killings of black people. He encourages anyone who has been in a large crowd, works at a high risk-job, or has been exposed to someone with the virus to get tested. The Department of Health and Human Services website has a directory of more than 400 COVID-19 testing locations. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:40 p.m. - East Carolina University is furloughing employees for up to 90 days. Several sources of revenue for the university have been drastically reduced during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees being furloughed work in different departments, including student affairs, athletics and administration and finance. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

3:35 p.m. - The Carolinas could face another blood shortage as hospitals resume elective surgeries. In March, there was a critical shortage because dozens of blood drives were canceled as businesses and schools shut down because of the pandemic. However, demand for blood dropped as hospitals began canceling elective surgeries. Now that hospitals are resuming more surgeries, demand for blood has sharply increased by at least 30% yet the number of blood drives has not. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:16 p.m. - An Alamance County Superior Court Judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a local racetrack prohibiting it from hosting stock car races that drawn big crowds over several weekends.

The State Department of Health and Human Services had sued Ace Speedway for flouting a statewide order against mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Judge D. Thomas Lambeth said the disease is an "imminent health hazard."

"Our grandparents and our great-grandparents, they went off to Europe to fight Hitler and they went off to save the world," Lambeth said. "All we're being asked to do right now is to try to stay home and try to stay safe and not spread a disease.". Lambeth has scheduled a follow-up hearing for June 19.  - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

1:28 p.m. - Part of the federal relief funding the North Carolina General Assembly allocated for COVID-19-related research will now go to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The NC Policy Collaboratory announced Thursday it will grant $1 million to each of the six minority serving institutions in the UNC System. That's out of the $29 million the Collaboratory received in relief funding for research. The universities' projects will help address racial disparities in the disease's impact. For example, Elizabeth City State University will use its funds to deploy mobile testing and develop a drone program to deliver medical supplies. – Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

1:21 p.m. - The State Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 39,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's more than 1,300 more confirmed cases since yesterday. 1,064 people have died. 812 people are in the hospital, the highest number yet. This is the fourth straight day of record-breaking number of hospitalizations. -  Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:23 a.m. - The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is re-opening next Monday. The zoo has been closed since mid-March because of coronavirus-related restrictions. Capacity will be limited in the zoo. All guests must reserve a spot for timed-entry and purchase tickets online. Walk-up entry will not be available. Some parts of the zoo will be closed for the time-being, including indoor habitats, public feeding and seasonal attractions like the butterfly garden. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:16 a.m. - Leaders of the Republican National Convention voted Wednesday to greatly reduce convention business that will be held in Charlotte. News outlets report only 336 delegates will be going to Charlotte, compared to the party's total of over 2,500 delegates. The convention is bound by contract to host some events in Charlotte. President Donald Trump is expected to give his acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:09 a.m. - Cumberland County Schools will resume athletic activities on July 6. High school sports teams will be allowed to return to campus for voluntary workouts. Student-athletes will be subject to frequent screening for COVID-like symptoms. The school system says the state date of July 6 is subject to change if necessary. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:04 a.m. - The state house and senate have both passed a bill that would allow gyms and bars to re-open. Bars would be allowed to serve customers outdoors. The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Roy Cooper. Cooper vetoed legislation last week that would have allowed bars to re-open. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:59 a.m. - A bill to make absentee-by-mail voting easier this fall and polling places safer amid the coronavirus pandemic has passed a crucial vote in the state senate yesterday. It would provide money to purchase hand sanitizer and masks for in-person voters, and would allow voters to request absentee ballots by fax, email or online. But Democrats slammed a Republican-backed provision that adds public assistance cards to the list of permissible voter IDs. North Carolina's current photo ID law has been blocked by a federal court pending litigation. The bill could head to the governor after a final vote in the senate Thursday and agreement by the house. – Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

7:52 a.m. - State Health Director Dr. Mandy Cohen says COVID-19 trends are going in the wrong direction. The number of cases has jumped by more than 1,000 on four separate days in the past week, and the rate of hospitalizations continues to break records. Cohen said the state has tripled its testing infrastructure in the past month, and has now administered 15,000 tests per-day. After consulting with a White House task force, Cohen said the state will increase testing in Mecklenberg, Durham, Wake, Forsyth, Duplin, Lee, Johnston and Alamance Counties. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

June 10, 2020

6:10 p.m. - The state House and Senate have both passed a bill that would allow gyms and bars to reopen. Bars would be allowed to serve customers outdoors. The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Roy Cooper. Cooper vetoed legislation last week that would have allowed bars to reopen. -  Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

6 p.m. - Cumberland County Board of Education voted to establish a K-12 Virtual School that will 'open its doors’ to students for the coming school year. That's if the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction approves it. A statement from the Cumberland County Board says the virtual school would provide an alternative for families who do not feel safe sending their children back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:50 p.m. - The Durham City Council has created a Small Business Recovery Fund program for small businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The city and Duke University have each put $1 million into the fund, which can be disbursed as grants or loans. The Carolina Small Business Development Fund will administer it. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:40 p.m. - UPDATE: The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking a temporary restraining order to shut down the Alamance Speedway. The speedway has staged events each of the past three weekends and has more racing scheduled June 19th. - Jay Price, WUNC

4 p.m. - North Carolina is reporting the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations yet. Today is also the fourth day in the past week where the number of lab-confirmed cases has jumped by more than 1,000. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says she's concerned.

"Many of our neighboring states in the Southeast are seeing similar trends. It is a reminder that COVID-19 is still a powerful threat and that this virus is going to be with us for some time."

Cohen reported that 15,000 tests on average are being administered in a day. After consulting with a White House task force, Cohen said the state will increase testing in areas with outstanding infection rates: Mecklenberg, Durham, Wake, Forsyth, Duplin, Lee, Johnston and Alamance Counties. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:50 p.m. - State health officials are seeking a temporary restraining order to shut down an Alamance County race track that's been defying Governor Cooper's ban on large crowds. Ace Speedway near Burlington has held stock car races for each of the past three weekends, drawing crowds estimated at more than two thousand people.  Current state guidelines limit outdoor gatherings to no more than 25.

More racing was scheduled for June 19, and the state health department gave the owners until 5 p.m. Tuesday to say they would  close, or begin work on a plan to follow the public health restrictions on things like crowd size and social distancing. A spokeswoman for the department said they missed the deadline. A hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for Thursday morning in an Alamance County court. - Jay Price, WUNC

12:18 p.m. - The State Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 38,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's just over 1,000 more reported cases since yesterday. 1,053 people have died. 780 people are in the hospital, another record number of hospitalizations. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:07 p.m. - UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz gave the university's employee forum more details Wednesday about the plan to reopen campus this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will distribute masks and may set up large tents across campus to spread out study and dining areas. Students will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms – but not necessarily tested – before they return. Administrators are developing training for employees as well as protocols for supervisors to determine which employees will work remotely. Most faculty, students and staff are expected to return to in-person operations in early August. – Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

11:59 a.m. - Orange County has extended its COVID-19-related state of emergency through the end of August. The county is mandating the use of face coverings in situations where people cannot maintain a six-foot physical distance from others. The face covering requirement goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday. Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart says face coverings are a part of the new normal until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:39 a.m. - The city of Durham has canceled its annual Fourth of July celebration to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The city says the large crowd that the baseball game and fireworks display draws to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park every year would be a public safety hazard. Major and minor league baseball are still suspended due to COVID-19. Durham is the latest of several cities across the state to cancel Independence Day activities because of the pandemic. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:27 a.m. - Vacationers are suing a realty company in Dare County for allegedly not returning refunds for vacation rental properties booked during the county's coronavirus-related closure. Dare County prohibited visitors from entering the county from mid-March through mid-May. Customers allege that Surf or Sound Realty originally told them they would receive either a full refund or a credit for their payments. Rental customers say the refunds never arrived. The state Department of Justice and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission are investigating these allegations. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:21 a.m. - Sports at East Carolina University are beginning a phased return. The school says approximately 30 members of East Carolina's football team returned to campus this week to begin the first phase of athletic activities. Student-athletes from other ECU sports will be integrated with remaining members of the football program in groups as the return phasing progresses over the next three to four weeks. Student-athletes will be required to test for COVID-19 before being cleared to begin workouts. The university says equipment will be thoroughly disinfected after use by each group, and student-athletes will be subject to daily temperature and symptoms checks. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:13 a.m. - The state senate has passed a bill that would allow gyms and bars to re-open. Bars would be allowed to serve customers outdoors. The measure now heads to the House. Governor Roy Cooper vetoed legislation last week that would have allowed bars to re-open. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:07 a.m. - Members of the North Carolina General Assembly's GOP majority are working on legislation that would allow the Republican National Convention to be held in Charlotte at full capacity this August despite any public health restrictions on such large-scale gatherings. The bill could put the event on a collision course with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's executive order aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus. At a media briefing on Monday, Cooper called such a move irresponsible, saying, “The public health and safety of North Carolinians and everybody at that convention should come first." The bill has yet to be filed. Backers are crafting their argument for the economic benefits of hosting the full convention. - Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

June 9, 2020

3:20 p.m. - Real estate activity in Wake County in May was down almost 20% compared to May of last year. However, there was little change from this April to the following month. Wake County Register of Deeds Charles Gilliam says that's interesting because activity in April included closing transactions initiated in February or March before coronavirus restrictions were put in place. Activity in May included closings contracted under the restrictions. Gilliam says that means the residential real estate market was largely undeterred by the pandemic-related shutdowns. This real estate activity shows there continues to be a high demand for housing in Wake County. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

1:44 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services is ordering an Alamance County race track to shut down immediately, citing its operations as a health hazard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ace Speedway has hosted stock car races with thousands in the stands over the last three weekends in defiance of Governor Roy Cooper's order against mass gatherings. It is estimated the crowds were between 2,500 and 4,000 people. The state health agency says the recent events "constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19, an acute threat to North Carolinians which must not continue." The DHHS abatement order allows speedway operators to propose a new plan to resume races while adhering to mass gathering restrictions. – Rebecca Martinez and Jeff Tiberii, WUNC

7:46 a.m. - A state Superior Court judge has ordered the state to take action to stop the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons. The ACLU of North Carolina and several other civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit in April against the state, arguing that the state's failure to protect people in state custody from mass outbreaks of COVID-19 amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution. The judge ruled in favor of the civil rights groups Monday. The judge ordered the parties to return to the court later this month with a plan for ensuring that people across its state prisons will be kept safe. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:42 a.m. - Elon University has announced plans for students to return to campus in the fall semester. Classes will start earlier than scheduled. Fall break will be reduced to one day and the university will be closed on Election Day. In-person classes will finish before Thanksgiving and final exams will be conducted remotely. The university plans to maintain social distancing inside classrooms. More time will be allowed between classes. The university also plans to minimize visitors to campus. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:38 a.m. - Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson says he will not cite a stock car speedway for violating the state's prohibition against mass gatherings after another large crowd gathered there for races. The decision appears to open the door for Governor Roy Cooper to seek legal action against the owner of Ace Speedway, which has held racing each of the past three weekends. Media outlets have reported crowds at the speedway exceed 2,000 people. Cooper called it a reckless decisions for the owners of the speedway to continue hosting the races. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:33 a.m. - State Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are planning to vote this week on a measure that would allow President Donald Trump to speak in front of a packed Republican National Convention. The measure would allow the convention in Charlotte to operate without many of the restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The first vote could be held as early as Tuesday. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:29 a.m. - Burial ceremonies at state and national cemeteries for veterans are starting again this week. State and national officials say they believe the right measures — like social distancing and face masks — are in place now to protect families, VA staff and the honor guards. The VA says the size of groups allowed will still fall under any local restrictions. In North Carolina, outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people. – Jay Price, WUNC

7:25 a.m. - North Carolina health officials say the state's COVID-19 metrics are going the wrong way since Governor Roy Cooper initiated Phase 2 of his reopening plan two weeks ago. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said that's the typical incubation period for the disease. The state recorded nearly 1,400 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday – the highest number of new cases reported in a single day. And on Monday, hospitalizations reached a new high. Cohen urged consistent social distancing, hand-washing and face covering, and said that anyone who has attended a mass gathering or works at a job with a high risk of exposure be tested for COVID-19.   – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

June 8, 2020

4:30 p.m. - State Education leaders announced plans to reopen schools in the fall in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. At a briefing, State Superintendent Mark Johnson said in the best case scenario, the metrics for COVID-19 in North Carolina will be improved by then. But there will be contingency plans. If COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to communities, schools will follow even more stringent social distancing guidelines. The plans were created with help from the state Department of Health and Human Services, leadership of the Department of Public Instruction, and the Governor's office.  More details are expected to be made public soon. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

4:20 p.m. - North Carolina's COVID-19 case count has jumped in the two weeks since Gov. Cooper announced the state was entering Phase 2 of his reopening plan. Now, N.C. Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is urging widespread testing.

"If you attended a mass gathering or a protest, get tested. If you work in a setting with a higher risk of exposure like a grocery store or a child care program or a restaurant, get tested. If you work in a high risk setting like a food processing facility, get tested," said Cohen. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

4:10 p.m. - Whether a protest, a vigil, a worship service or a stock car race thousands of North Carolinians attended mass gatherings over the weekend. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now encouraging anyone who has attended a gathering of more than 25 people or has been in close proximity to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to get tested themselves. The state health department has launched two web sites "Check My Symptoms" and "Find My Testing Place" to help residents determine next steps. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:30 p.m. - A report from Raleigh's hospitality industry says the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of 170 meetings, conventions and sporting events. Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance says industry tax revenues hit historic lows in April. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:20 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services has now designated child and adult protective services workers as first responders. According to a news release, today's reclassification will help these workers access Personal Protective Equipment needed while working face-to-face with individuals and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:10 p.m. - An initiative launching today aims to distribute up to 100,000 free face coverings in the county and city of Durham. "Cover Durham" is focused on providing face coverings for essential workers, transit workers and people of color who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The group is also working to encourage the culture of wearing face coverings. The county, city and school board of Durham provided $67,000 of unused travel funds to support this initiative. Durham's "safer-at-home" order requires people wear a face covering where it isn't possible to maintain social distance from others outside their household. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:31 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 36,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Over 1,000 people have died from COVID-19. 739 people are in the hospital sick with the illness, the highest number of hospitalizations yet. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:26 p.m. - Wake County will be hosting a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site later this week in Wendell. Free testing will be available at Hephzibah Baptist Church Thursday to Saturday. People must reserve an appointment online. People with COVID-like symptoms, with underlying health conditions or those who work in high-risk settings like nursing homes are encouraged to get a test. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:21 p.m. - The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is lifting the dead period on high school sports on June 15. Local superintendents and boards of educations will decide when to allow activities to resume. The association has released guidelines under Phase One. The guidelines include limiting workouts to no more than 90 minutes, and screening all coaches and students for COVID-like symptoms every day. Gatherings in outside venues are limited to no more than 25 people, while gatherings in inside gyms are limited to no more than 10 people. Guidance for Phases Two and Three will be distributed soon. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:44 a.m. - On Monday, Novant Health is beginning to lift some visitor restrictions that were implemented in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19. In acute care facilities, patients can have one visitor accompany them. In clinics, one visitor will be allowed to accompany patients if the patient is over 65 or under 18. Visitors must still wear masks and practice proper social distancing. Novant Health says it will continue to limit entrances and exits to centralize foot traffic. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:39 a.m. - Ace Speedway in Alamance County drew a crowd of more than 2,000 spectators Saturday in defiance of the state's coronavirus restrictions after declaring the race a protest. News outlets report a sign from management outside the speedway said, “This event is held in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere.” The Alamance County Sheriff's Office said it is evaluating the events. On Friday, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson had agreed to enforce the governor's order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of 25 or more people. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC

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

Previous weekly updates:
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of March 9
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of March 16
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of March 23
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of March 30
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of April 6
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of April 13
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week Of April 20
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of April 27
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 4
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 11
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 18
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 26 
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of June 1

Correction: A blog update posted at 3:50 p.m. on June 10 incorrectly cited Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson saying ACE Speedway will close immediately.