Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 11

May 11, 2020

Grace Knaus, left, of Apex, NC, visits with Polly Payne of Greensboro, NC, on Saturday, May, 10, 2020, in the parking lot of Southpoint Mall in Durham, NC. "Polly and I grew up together and often meet one another midway. Since the mall is closed, we decided to catch up in the parking lot," said Knaus. As the state of North Carolina transitions from the Stay At Home order to Phase 1 of easing certain COVID-19 restrictions, people around the Triangle enjoy reopened state parks and open spaces.
Credit Kate Medley / 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 May 4.

May 17, 2020

1:17 p.m. -  The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 18,512 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up more than 500 cases from yesterday. 659 people have died and 493 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC

 

May 16, 2020

11:53 a.m. -  The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 17,982 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up more than 800 cases from yesterday. 652 people have died and 481 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC

10:45 a.m. - Organizers have cancelled the 2020 Dreamville Festival in Raleigh because of the ongoing uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic. Festival organizers say they made the decision to cancel the August festival for the safety of fans, artists, and staff. All 2020 event ticket holders, including those that previously requested a refund, will be automatically refunded on or before May 22. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC

May 15, 2020

5:50 p.m. - The General Assembly will resume session in Raleigh on Monday and the Legislative Building will partially reopen to the public. Upon entering, legislators, reporters and visitors will have their temperatures taken and be urged to keep their distance from one another but they will not be required to wear masks. At today’s press conference, North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen urged them to cover up anyway. Cohen acknowledged that masks are not appropriate for people with certain medical issues, but that collective face covering might help protect them from the virus. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:40 p.m. - The North Carolina National Guard is distributing personal protective equipment at sites in Martin and Franklin Counties for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in 10 counties. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said at a briefing today that licensed facilities can pick up a two-week allotment of face shields, masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer. Sprayberry said PPE distribution will expand in the coming weeks to serve 3,800 facilities across the state. - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

5:30 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services says overnight summer camps could operate in Phase 2 of Gov.Roy Cooper's plan to ease social distancing measures. The department issued guidance today that says camps should limit participation to campers from North Carolina and neighboring states only, and have staff quarantine for two weeks before campers arrive. It also says the camps should only allow activities in which campers can practice social distancing. Phase 2 could begin at the end of next week if health trends remain stable. - Will Michaels, WUNC

3:20 p.m. - At this afternoon's briefing , State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said in addition to anyone who is showing symptoms, she now recommends tests for people who may not show symptoms but live and work in high-risk environments like health care workers, first responders and essential employees. And because of the disproportionate impact from COVID-19 that we're seeing among communities of color, testing is also recommend for those who come from these historically marginalized populations. Cohen said there are between 8,000 - 9,000 tests now being conducted daily, but she believes the actual capacity is higher and will continue increasing. The State Health Department has a list online of about 200 sample collection and testing sites in North Carolina. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2:50 p.m. - The mayor of Durham says the stay at home order for the city and county of Durham will be in effect until further notice. Mayor Steve Schewel says officials want to stop extending the order every so often, so instead the order will be in effect until it is rescinded. The strict order has some provisions that go beyond the statewide stay-at-home order like requiring face masks in any instance that social distancing is difficult or not possible, and ordering employers to do basic health screenings at the beginning of every workers' shift. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2:40 p.m. - Johnston County Public Schools will host modified in-person graduation ceremonies for high school seniors at the end of July. The ceremonies will be held on school campuses and will follow guidance from state and local health officials at that time. Possible safety measures include limiting the amount of guests and holding multiple ceremonies. The school system says they are committed to students walking across a stage to receive their diplomas. But if the in-person plan is not possible, the school system says it will hold drive-through graduation ceremonies instead. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:41 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports over 17,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up more than 600 cases from yesterday. 641 people have died. Almost 500 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19.  -Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:12 a.m. - The Raleigh City Council will reopen the application period for a police advisory board after only 10 people applied.  The council created the board earlier this year, but the application period began about the same time the COVID-19 outbreak started in North Carolina.  City council members agreed this week to reopen applications at the end of this month. - Will Michaels, WUNC

10:37 a.m. - The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office reports 13 more inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Cumberland County Detention Center. This comes after one inmate tested positive earlier this week. All inmates have been immediately quarantined after being identified positive. A total of five staff members at the county jail have tested positive for COVID-19. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:29 a.m. - A drive in movie theater in Eden is re-opening this evening. Eden Drive-in received permission from the Governor's office to re-open as long as people follow social distancing guidelines. Parking will be limited. All parking spots will be marked and there will be six feet between each parking space. Lines for concession and bathrooms will also be marked to maintain six feet between each person. Bathrooms will be monitored to limit the number of people in there at one time. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:30 a.m. - Tyson Foods is temporarily closing a second poultry processing plant in Wilkes County for deep cleaning and sanitizing. The company has two plants in Wilkesboro. One plant was cleaned last weekend and resumed operations this past Tuesday. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the other plant began cleaning this week and will stay closed until next Tuesday. Wilkes County health officials say the majority of its 274 COVID-19 cases are linked to the plants. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

 

May 14, 2020

4:55 p.m. - The state's commissioner of prisons says he's rolling out a plan to test every prison staff member in North Carolina. Commissioner Todd Ishee said today the Department of Public Safety would provide free tests for the more than 21,000 staff members in prisons, juvenile justice and community corrections. More than 600 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. It's not clear how many staff members have contracted the virus. - Will Michaels, WUNC

4:45 p.m. - State health officials say they continue to see encouraging trends in the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina as they determine when to ease more public health restrictions. At this afternoon's briefing, State Health Secretary Doctor Mandy Cohen said data show cases and hospitalizations remain stable nearly a week after North Carolina moved into the first phase of reopening. That's despite the state reporting 691 new cases today, the largest daily increase during the outbreak.

"We've been doing a lot more testing, so the fact that we're seeing a slight increase in cases is expected. So while we're seeing slightly more positive cases overall with the increase in testing, the percent positive continues to look good," said Cohen.

Governor Roy Cooper has said if the trends remain stable, the state could move into phase two of reopening in a little more than a week. - Will Michaels, WUNC

2:10 p.m. - Senate Leader Phil Berger is now pushing for Gov. Roy Cooper to let counties decide whether to reopen restaurants. Berger released a statement today that says 23 other states have allowed restaurants to reopen. It comes a day after Berger also called for salons and barbershops to be able to reopen. Cooper's plan to reopen the economy would allow those businesses to reopen with limited capacity in as early as a week and a half if trends like the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable or decrease. - Will Michaels, WUNC

2:00 p.m. - A North Carolina Christian group has filed a federal lawsuit challenging restrictions on church services during the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of people gathered in Raleigh this morning to protest an executive order that limits gatherings, including indoor church services to no more than 10 people. At the protest today, the group's president Pastor Ron Baity, said if retail businesses are allowed to operate at 50%  their usual capacity, churches should be too. Governor Roy Cooper's office has said there can be rare exceptions for churches if it's impossible for them to hold services outdoors. Cooper has said the restriction is in place because people are more likely to spread the virus if they're close to each other in an enclosed space and not moving around. - Will Michaels, WUNC

1:50 p.m. - U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is stepping down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee while authorities investigate stock trades he made before the market started falling due to the pandemic. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying he agreed the decision is in the best interests of the committee, and will take effect at the end of the day tomorrow. Burr sold hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of stocks in February. - Will Michaels, WUNC

1:45 p.m. - Another flyover salute is scheduled to honor healthcare workers in the Triangle tonight. A private group of pilots called the Bandit Flight Team plan to fly over hospitals including UNC Rex, WakeMed Cary and Duke Regional starting at 7 p.m. The team of pilots based in Raleigh plan more flyovers in the coming days in Moore County, Charlotte and the Triad. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:05 p.m. - Seven hospitals in North Carolina have received an anti-viral drug that has shown promising results in treating patients with COVID-19. The company that produces Remdesivir shipped 400 vials of the drug to hospitals in mostly urban parts of the state. The producer is sending out limited supplies based on how many cases of COVID-19 each state has. A recent study of Remdesivir showed in some cases, it reduced the amount of time that it takes to recover. - Will Michaels, WUNC

11:17 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 16,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up about 690 cases from yesterday, the largest daily jump in cases so far. 615 people have died. Around 500 people are in the hospital sick with the coronavirus. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:32 a.m. - The state Ferry Division is adding more trips between Hatteras and Ocracoke as the Outer Banks communities start to lift visitor restrictions during the pandemic.  The state DOT says there are now 15 departures per day to and from Ocracoke and Hatteras. Ocracoke plans to lift its restriction on visitors next week, ahead of Memorial Day, which is the unofficial beginning of the tourist season. - Will Michaels, WUNC

9:37 a.m. - The Town of Cary has canceled summer camps through July 3. Full refunds will be issued to families for these camps. Summer camps for July and August are still under assessment. The Town had previously canceled all classes, camps, and programs through May 31. Earlier this week, Raleigh canceled the city's summer camps through at least June 26. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

9:30 a.m. - The state legislative building will partially re-open to the public on May 18 when the General Assembly reconvenes in Raleigh. The building will be open at 50% capacity. State legislators, reporters, and visitors will have their temperature checked upon entering the building. Social distancing practices will also be maintained. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:22 a.m. - Duke University President Vincent Price has announced new cost-cutting measures in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the university’s sources of revenue. These measures include temporarily suspending the university’s contribution to the faculty and staff retirement plan for a one-year period and temporarily reducing the salary for employees earning more than $285,000 by 10 percent. Meanwhile Price’s salary will be reduced by 20% and the salaries of other university executives will be reduced by 15%. The new measures are effective July 1. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

May 13, 2020

6 p.m. - The Johnston County Sheriff says his office will not interfere with people who attend indoor church services of more than 10 people. Under the first phase of his reopening plan, Governor Roy Cooper is still prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people with some rare exceptions. Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell released a statement today that says it's wrong to allow some retail businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity, but continue to restrict church services to 10 people or fewer. Cooper has said the restriction is in place because people are more likely to contract the coronavirus in close quarters where people are not moving around. - Will Michaels, WUNC

5:55 p.m. - State Senate leader Phil Berger is pushing for counties to be able to allow salons and barbershops to open ahead of the governor's phased reopening schedule. Berger says those businesses are allowed to open in 25 other states. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said today the virus is more likely to spread in businesses that require close contact. The governor's plan would allow more businesses to reopen in a week and a half if certain trends like the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable or decrease. - Will Michaels, WUNC

5:50 p.m. - State health officials say early results from antibody tests show a small percentage of North Carolinians have been exposed to the coronavirus. Researchers are still developing tests to determine how many people may have had it, but did not show severe symptoms. It's not yet clear how effective or reliable the tests are, but at this afternoon's briefing, State Health Secretary Doctor Mandy Cohen said strict social distancing does appear to have reduced the spread. - Will Michaels, WUNC

5:45 p.m. - Environmental experts at Duke University say the COVID-19 pandemic could have wide-ranging implications for the way the world produces and consumes energy. Overall energy use has been down since sweeping social distancing measures went into effect. Industrial and automobile emissions have decreased sharply, which has improved air quality. Duke Earth Sciences Professor Drew Shindell said that raises questions about how governments will respond when they ease restrictions and people go back to work.

"Do we build back better and get a new society where we put people to work doing things that can help the environment over the long term like retrofitting buildings, installing solar panels and installing EV chargers... Do we put them to work in those kind of industries or do we go back to the old fashioned way?"

Shindell and other professors suggested Congress should consider a carbon tax or another economic stimulus package that includes investments in clean energy. - Will Michaels, WUNC

5:40 p.m. - The state Department of Agriculture has $15 million for animal euthanization if needed. The money was recently appropriated by the state legislature. Meat and poultry processing plants not operating at full capacity can cause a backlog of animals at the facilities. That leads to farms with excess amounts of animals. Farmers then have to euthanize the animals because it can be too expensive to keep feeding them. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says plants in North Carolina are not operating at 100% capacity. But he says there is no backlog currently. Troxler says the state is ready if a backlog develops.

"We have developed very specific ways to humanely euthanize these animals and to an environmentally friendly way to dispose of the carcasses that may remain," said Troxler.

Troxler says he hopes the department won't have to use any of the money set aside for euthanizations. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

5:35 p.m. - Ocracoke has canceled its 4th of July events. It's the latest coastal community to cancel Independence Day festivities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizers have cited CDC guidelines, which warn against events that draw large crowds. - Will Michaels, WUNC

3:07 p.m. - The Town of Kill Devil Hills has issued an emergency order that temporarily allows food trucks to operate on current restaurant sites. Food trucks are not usually permitted in the town. Additionally, once Gov. Roy Cooper allows restaurants to open again, they will be able to serve customers using outdoor dining on established patios or temporary outdoor set-ups. Typically, restaurants have to go through a months-long process to be approved for outdoor dining. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2:30 p.m. - More retail outlets and grocery stores are opening COVID-19 testing sites. Businesses like Walgreens and Harris Teeter are starting to provide drive-through testing at select locations across the state.  Walmart says it will open six more sites by the end of the week. The state Department of Health and Human Services says they are federally funded tests, and are free to people who need them. - Will Michaels, WUNC

2:12 p.m - The state Department of Transportation is suspending operations of the state-operated Piedmont passenger rail service until further notice because of COVID-19's impact on the department’s revenue. The department expects to lose $300 million because of the pandemic. DOT says people traveling between Raleigh and Charlotte can make trips instead on the Carolinian line. Passengers with reservations can modify their trip online. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:30 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports over 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. That's up about 280 cases from yesterday. 550 people have died. More than half of those deaths involve nursing homes or residential care facilities. Around 460 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:26 a.m. - Campbell University has announced that all students living on campus this fall will receive private dorms. The school says this measure is to ensure the health and safety of students when they return to campus. The university will waive its usual private room fee of $800. Students do not need to take any additional steps to get assigned a private room beyond completing the standard housing application. Residence halls will be cleaned and disinfected before move-in. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:51 a.m. - Harris Teeter will start offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing this Friday at stores in High Point and Raeford. The Matthews-based grocery store chain is partnering with Kroger Health and The Little Clinic to offer this testing. People who want to get tested must schedule an appointment online. Testing will be conducted three days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:21 a.m. - The parks and recreation department of Raleigh has canceled the city's summer camps through at least June 26th. City officials are still deciding how feasible it is to offer camps scheduled after June 26th and will provide an update by June 15th. Officials say they are taking consideration the ability to manage camp programs while maintaining small group sizes and following social distancing guidelines. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

May 12, 2020

4:03 p.m. - Gov. Roy Cooper is holding fast to his plan to reopen North Carolina's economy gradually amid more criticism. The 6 Republicans on the Council of State sent Cooper a letter Tuesday pushing the governor to allow businesses like restaurants to open up more quickly and provide clear guidance. Cooper laid out a three-phase plan last week that says restaurants could have limited reopenings as early as May 22nd if the state meets certain benchmarks related to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this afternoon's press briefing, Cooper said he would continue to rely on health data to determine when and how North Carolina reopens.

"I know that people are hurting because of this virus and I know that our economy is hurting because of this virus, but the health of our people and the health of our economy go hand in hand," said Cooper.

State health officials have said there needs to be 14 days worth of data to show that North Carolina's metrics are headed in the right direction. - Will Michaels, WUNC

3:40 p.m. - Duke Energy says it will cut as much as $450 million in expenses this year as it adjusts to a decline in electricity use because of the coronavirus pandemic. That includes a hiring freeze and reductions in overtime and the use of contractors. CEO Lynn Good says if the slowdown continues, Duke may have to consider more drastic measures such as early retirement of older generating plants and sales of real estate. She says Duke may be able to reduce its office space needs due to remote work. About 60% of Duke's employees are now working remotely. - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

3:35 p.m. - The City and County of Durham plan to extend a strict stay-at-home order.  Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said the order will stay in effect beyond its expiration date, which is currently this Friday, but he did not say how long it would be extended. The order has some provisions that go beyond the statewide stay-at-home order like requiring face masks in any instance that social distancing is difficult or not possible, and ordering employers to do basic health screenings at the beginning of every workers' shift. - Will Michaels, WUNC

3:30 p.m. - WakeMed has dismantled triage tents that went up in March as its hospital in Raleigh was preparing for an influx of COVID-19 patients. The health care provider says the tents will go back up if the state sees a spike in cases as it begins to reopen some businesses. WakeMed says it has reconfigured its lobbies to promote social distancing, and anticipates reintroducing all surgery services by June first. - Will Michael, WUNC

3:25 p.m. - Thousands of visitors flooded state parks in the Triangle last weekend as parks started phased reopening. Park officials estimate Umstead State Park saw over 5,000 visitors both Saturday and Sunday, while a total of 5,000 visited Raven Rock State Park over the weekend. The crowds were similar to what the parks see on a typical holiday weekend. Most people did not wear masks, but visitors generally followed social distancing guidelines unless they were passing each other on trails. Current restrictions prohibit people from parking their cars outside the gates to help limit the number of visitors inside the park at once. NC State Parks spokesperson Katie Hall says people waited up to an hour to get a parking spot. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:57 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports about 15,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up approximately 300 cases from yesterday. The state estimates around 9,000 people have recovered from COVID-19. Almost 580 people have died. Over half of those deaths involve nursing homes or residential care facilities. 475 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:37 a.m. - State legislators and sheriffs want Governor Roy Cooper to clarify or remove a portion of his executive order that limits how religious services can convene under his eased stay-at-home order. Cooper’s health and human services secretary said state lawyers are taking a second look at the language designed to provide an exception to the continued ban on mass gatherings. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:26 a.m. - The Blood Connection is now offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for blood donors. An antibody test checks to see if a person contains COVID-19 antibodies, and does not determine if a person is infected with COVID-19. This test is only available to those who complete a whole blood, platelet, or plasma donation. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment first and to maintain social distancing when donating. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:14 a.m. - FEMA has granted North Carolina’s request to extend its sheltering program for COVID-19 through June 6. The program provides housing alternatives, such as hotels or dorms, for North Carolinians with unstable housing who may need to quarantine or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Sixty-four counties are participating in the program. About 600 people have been housed since the program began in early April. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

May 11, 2020

7:10 p.m. - The state is continuing increased food assistance through the month of May. All families that get benefits already will receive the maximum amount allowed for their household's size -- for a family of four that's about $650 per month. The state also maxed out benefits for March and April to help needy families during the coronavirus pandemic.  - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

 6:40 p.m. - Over the weekend, the state shifted into phase one of the governor's plan for easing restrictions and reopening businesses after shutdowns were ordered in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen urged North Carolinians to stay vigilant at this afternoon's briefing. Cohen said it's especially important that as businesses re-open, and people venture out more, they do what they can to lower the chance of spreading COVID-19. The health secretary reminded listeners that people can be infected for days before showing symptoms, so  they should wear face coverings, wash their hands, and stay at least six feet apart. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

 

6:35 p.m. - In response to a court order, state officials have produced details on how prisons are protecting inmates from COVID-19. State prison leaders had to provide answers as to whether incarcerated people are given face masks and sanitizing supplies, and whether living conditions make social distancing possible. They say nearly all prisons are issuing more than one washable cloth face mask per inmate and living conditions in every facility do allow for the spread of the coronavirus to be prevented. Prisons with COVID-19 outbreaks are taking additional precautions like deep cleaning facilities or conducting temperature checks of staff and vendors. Civil rights groups, including the ACLU of North Carolina and the state chapter of the NAACP sued to get the state to take more action.  More than 640 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus and five have died due to COVID-19. - Cole del Charco, WUNC 

6:30 p.m. - As interstates have far less traffic than normal, a number of drivers are going as fast as they want. There are more people driving extremely high speeds in the Charlotte region, according to a state highway patrol trooper who spoke to the Charlotte Observer. However, the Observer reports the number of overall speeding citations is down. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

12:49 p.m. - The reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina drew scores of people from dozens of states this past weekend. However, many people did not wear masks and visitors walked past barricades on one of the park’s most popular trails, Laurel Falls, which was closed off to practice federal social distancing guidelines. Park officials are not policing visitors, but urge people to visit safely and responsibly. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:47 p.m. - Research Triangle Park-based BioCryst Pharmaceuticals has received $82 million in federal funding to support studies into a potential coronavirus treatment, Triangle Business Journal reports. The company is studying an antiviral drug called galidesivir as a potential treatment. The company has been developing the drug since 2013, originally intended to treat Ebola or Marburg viruses. The drug is now being tested on patients in Brazil. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:53 a.m. - The state department of health and human services reports over 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. That's up about 280 cases from yesterday. 550 people have died. More than half of those deaths involve nursing homes or residential care facilities. Around 460 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:29 a.m. - The coastal town of Duck has canceled all town-sponsored summer events through July 5, including the Fourth of July parade and community celebration. The town of Manteo has also canceled its Fourth of July event. Several other celebrations for Independence Day have recently been canceled as organizers and officials say there is too much uncertainty and health risks associated with holding these events. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

9:58 a.m. - North Carolina revenue collections fell dramatically in April, the state's chief bookkeeper says, as tax filing deadlines were delayed and commercial transactions slowed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The State Controller's Office reported that overall revenues for the month totaled $2.67 billion - one-third less than what was collected in April 2019. The revenue decrease means North Carolina has collected $731 million less during the first 10 months of the fiscal year compared to the same period a year ago. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:25 a.m. - North Carolina hospitals are preparing for more patients seeking non-COVID-19 care as an easing of public health restrictions takes effect. Since mid-March just before Governor Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order went into effect to stem the spread of the coronavirus, hospitals halted certain elective medical procedures. And where possible, tele-health appointments replaced clinic visits. Now, hospitals are resuming procedures for patients with non-emergency cases, like hernias or joint repairs. And they're taking precautions to protect non-COVID patients from contracting the virus. "The number of patients we'll have in waiting rooms will be reduced, we've worked out strategies so patients can go and get laboratories and immediately leave," Duke Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Rogers said. Hospitals must also closely monitor limited supplies of masks and other personal protective equipment. - Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

7:21 a.m. - A Tyson Foods poultry plant in Wilkesboro is closing temporarily for deep cleaning after a coronavirus outbreak at the facility. News outlets report that one of the two Tyson plants in Wilkesboro closed Saturday and will reopen tomorrow. Tyson employs about 3,000 people at the two Wilkesboro plants. Officials in Wilkes County said Friday that an outbreak at the plant that's being cleaned is responsible for a majority of the county’s 194 coronavirus cases. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:01 a.m. - Winston-Salem city officials plan to distribute 20,000 free face masks to senior citizens tomorrow. The city's campaign called Mask the City aims to provide every resident with a free or low cost face mask. Tomorrow has been designated as Senior Day. Teams of volunteers will provide the face masks to seniors at nine drive-thru locations throughout the city. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

This post is compiled and edited by Elizabeth Baier, Jason de Bruyn, 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