Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 18

May 18, 2020

A sign at the Eno River State Park advising visitors of safe social distancing recommendations after a period of closure for COVID-19.
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 11.

May 22, 2020

7:30 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper has lifted a statewide stay-at-home restriction. Restaurants, hair salons and other personal care businesses across North Carolina are now allowed to reopen under limited capacity. Some local governments are imposing more stringent rules. Orange County is limiting the capacity at restaurant tables to no more than six people from different households rather than the state limit of ten. Meanwhile Durham City restaurants may only provide carryout or curbside takeout until June 1, while salons and barbershops must remain closed until then. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:20 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper is calling for all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to remain lowered to half-staff through Sunday evening to honor those killed by the coronavirus. COVID-19 is connected with more than 700 deaths in North Carolina. Flags had been lowered Thursday in memory of civil rights activist Andrea Harris. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:10 p.m. - Activists in five North Carolina cities on Memorial Day plan to protest Governor Roy Cooper's restrictions on businesses and movement during the coronavirus epidemic. The ReOpen NC Facebook page says demonstrators in Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington, Charlotte and Asheville are losing income and will demand action from elected officials on Monday. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

7:00 p.m. - YMCA of the Triangle will cancel its overnight summer camps in connection with COVID-19. This includes Camp Kanata's Winston-Salem day camp will move forward. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

 

4:10 p.m. - Durham won't open its outdoor pools this summer. The city parks and recreation department says it would be unable to train enough lifeguards over a shortened time-frame or ensure equitable access to smaller facilities while also limiting crowds. Officials said in a news release the needs for social distancing, face coverings and increased sanitation given ongoing concerns about COVID-19 were too much to overcome for this season. The city's indoor pools are also closed until further notice for similar reasons. - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

4 p.m. - At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Cooper said more than 3,500 people representing 1,500 businesses across the state have already completed a training aimed at protecting diners and restaurant staff. The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association is also inviting patrons to take the "Count On Me" pledge to wear a mask, wait six feet apart from others, wash their hands often, and utilize delivery and takeout options if they have symptoms of COVID-19. - Amy Jeffries, WUNC

3:50 p.m. - The state is set to allow restaurants, hair salons and other personal care businesses to reopen with limited capacities as of 5 p.m. today. But while the governor is easing statewide restrictions, local governments can impose more stringent rules. In Orange County, employees at restaurants, personal care, tattoo and retail businesses must wear a face covering while on duty. The county is also limiting the capacity at restaurant tables to no more than six people from different households rather than the state limit of ten. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

12:52 p.m. - Some North Carolina faith leaders say they will not reopen their houses of worship to congregants this weekend because of the risk of spreading COVID-19. That's despite Governor Roy Cooper's plan to lift a stay-at-home order today. Members of Durham Clergy United and the North Carolina Council of Churches are among those who say their faith can better be enacted without subjecting congregants to higher risk of disease. However, some churches have already resumed in-person services, after a federal judge blocked Governor Cooper's restrictions of church gatherings. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

11:40 a.m. - The number of people hospitalized in North Carolina due to COVID-19 decreased by 10 people in the last day, according to the state Department of Health and Human services. The total number of lab-confirmed cases rose only slightly,  increasing by just 20 from yesterday. 728 North Carolinians have died from COVID-19. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

9:39 a.m. - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reported the state's first case of a serious inflammatory disease affecting children that may be related to the coronavirus. The department says MIS-C can cause a fever for days in kids and teenagers. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, rash or pink eye, cracked lips, and swollen hands and feet. Health officials say that anyone whose child has a persistent fever and another MIS-C symptom should call a doctor. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

8:45 a.m. - The State Board of Education has approved a policy that requires districts to make remote learning plans for the next school year. Districts are required to address how they'll train educators, share expectations and ensure that students with disabilities have equal access. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

7:10 a.m. - North Carolinians who've already used up their state unemployment benefits can apply for a new extension of up to $600 a week starting today.  The benefits come through the federal CARES Act, in a program called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.  The PEUC provides up to thirteen weeks of additional assistance.  - Cole del Charco, WUNC

6:35 a.m. - East Carolina University has ended four of its athletics programs including men's and women's swimming and diving, and men's and women's tennis.  In a news release, the University said the athletics budget was already unsustainable, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the deficit to grow quickly.  ECU says ending the sports and other cost-cutting in athletics should save about $4.9 million. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

 

May 21, 2020

8:50 p.m. - NC State University and UNC Chapel Hill say they'll start the fall classes early this year and forego a fall break in favor of wrapping up the semester before Thanksgiving. The measures are meant to eliminate travel  and guard against a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases starting in late fall. Other universities including UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T have announced similar plans for the fall. Duke University's president sent out a message this afternoon saying that campus would also be open in the fall but that further logistics will be determined in June. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:40 p.m. - Durham's city and county governments will not allow restaurants, hair salons or pools to open until June first. The local stay-at-home goes beyond Gov. Roy Cooper's order, which allows those businesses to reopen at 50% of their capacity starting tomorrow evening. Durham Mayor Steve Schewel has said his city's more restrictive policies were put in place to protect public health. - Will Michaels, WUNC

8:30 p.m. - Wrightsville Beach is scaling back its social distancing restrictions in advance of the Memorial Day weekend. News outlets report sunbathing, fishing and games are now permitted. Previously, it only allowed beach access for exercise. The town is also allowing short-term rentals to resume and has opened six of its public parking lots to beachgoers. Governor Roy Cooper is lifting a statewide stay-at-home order Friday, citing COVID-19 trends remaining largely stable. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

4 p.m. - NASCAR returns to Charlotte this weekend. No fans will be in the stands, for the televised Coke 600 event. Sunday's race starts at 6 p.m. During the two-month break, NASCAR staged a series of virtual races, where drivers on racing simulators competed on video-game-style ovals modeled on real-world tracks. - David Boraks, WFAE

3:50 p.m. - Raleigh-Durham International Airport reports a 96% drop in passengers during the month of April. RDU says just 40,000 people came through the airport last month compared to more than a million in April of last year. Airlines have massively scaled back their operations. RDU expects capacity to be down by close to 80% in May and June. - Will Michaels, WUNC

1:42 p.m. - At least one nurse has died in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak at Caswell Correctional Facility. State Prisons Commissioner confirmed that the nurse died after prison staff experienced a shortage of personal protective equipment. State Department of Public Safety Records show that of the 10 tests performed on inmates at the Caswell prison, all 10 were positive. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

12:55 p.m. - North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is postponing jury trials until August. Her new order also further extends some filing deadlines to limit face-to-face contact in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court system is also asking everyone still needing to go to courthouses to wear face masks, and will provide masks for anyone who doesn't have one. Courts will have to be cleaned throughout the day, provide hand sanitizer, and mark seating for six-foot spacing. "Until this public health threat has passed, it cannot be business as usual for our court system," Beasley said. "It would be irresponsible and it simply cannot happen." New maximum occupancy limits for courtrooms will also be established based on social distancing standards. Beasley says dockets will be smaller and many hearings will continue to be conducted online. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

12:07 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports nearly 21,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 716 people have died. 578 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19. The state is reporting almost 800 more confirmed cases since yesterday, but has completed around 13,000 tests since then. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:27 a.m. - The state of North Carolina is receiving approximately $189 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase testing for COVID-19. The funding from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act will provide support to purchase, administer, and analyze COVID-19 tests. The funding will also go toward conducting surveillance and contact tracing. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

9:31 a.m. - The High Point Market Authority is expanding its Fall Market dates to spread out attendance and account for expected reduced capacity requirements. The event will now take place over nine days in October instead of five. Organizers say although they anticipate less restrictive guidelines for large gatherings in the fall, the need for increased safety measures will still exist. The fall event will have safety measures including increased sanitation and social distancing requirements. The Market Authority had to cancel its Spring Market event because of the pandemic. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:22 a.m. - Tyson Foods says 570 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at a poultry processing plant in Wilkesboro. The company says all 2,200 workers who work at the facility were tested, and the majority did not show any symptoms. Tyson says any team members who test positive can receive paid leave while staying home. Tyson says it's put safety measures in place at the facility, including providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members and installing physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:56 a.m. - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar plans to visit Charlotte today. He's scheduled to visit a testing site run by Atrium Health at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. Azar is also expected to meet with local health care leaders about efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 and re-open North Carolina. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:41 a.m. - Guilford County Schools has announced it plans to host drive-thru graduation ceremonies next month for high school seniors. The school system says it also plans on holding in-person ceremonies toward the end of July if it's safe to do so at that time. The system says more information will be shared as plans are finalized. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC
 

May 20, 2020

6 p.m. - Gov. Roy Cooper has announced he's moving the state into Phase 2 of his plan to reopen North Carolina amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At today's briefing, Cooper said he will lift the stay-at-home order in favor of a "safer at home" order, which still promotes social distancing, face covering and hand washing. On Friday at 5 p.m. restaurants and personal care service businesses, such as hair salons, will be allowed to open to 50%  capacity. Bars, nightclubs and gyms remain shuttered. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:20 p.m. - The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has voted to allocate $20 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds to create small business grants. A work session plan outlines grants of up to $10,000 for businesses with 25 employees or fewer. It would also earmark $2.5 million for the Greensboro and High Point United Ways to distribute to nonprofit agencies. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

3:10 p.m. - The Dare County Board of Commissioners has approved temporary provisions easing restrictions on restaurants. The temporary measures allow restaurants to operate food trucks on vacant property. Normally, food trucks are only permitted to operate on sites with other existing businesses. This move comes after the town of Kill Devil Hills issued an emergency order last week that allows food trucks to operate on existing restaurant sites. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

3 p.m. - Students across North Carolina's public colleges and universities will see no rise in their tuition or fees this fall. The UNC System Board of Governors approved tuition and fees for the coming academic year today. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most UNC system schools were seeking approval for 3% tuition hikes. The decision applies to in-state and out-of-state students at the graduate and undergraduate level. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

2:50 p.m. - In a school board planning session Tuesday, Wake County Schools staffers recommended that students scheduled to go back in late July should resume classes the first week of August instead. The start date for traditional-calendar students would also move up a week. The Board is expected to vote on final changes in early June. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

2:40 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 20,122 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's up about 400 cases from yesterday. 702 people have died. 554 people are in the hospital with COVID-19. Around 12-thousand more tests have been completed since yesterday. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2:30 p.m. - The City of Greensboro is canceling all in-person summer programs, including summer camps and swimming lessons. The city says some programs will be moved online, such as book clubs, poetry meet-ups and theater production. Greensboro is the latest city to cancel summer programs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2:20 p.m. - North Carolina optometrists are being allowed to resume routine eye care. This comes after the state's COVID-19 stay-at-home order halted services except for emergency treatment. Dr. Rachael Wruble, president-elect of the North Carolina Optometric Society, says optometrists can open up for normal hours with limited capacity. They're asked to screen patients, implement physical distancing and increase hygienic measures. Wrubel says many optometrists are continuing to offer tele-health checkups. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

2:10 p.m. - The NC State Fair will be hosting drive-thru fair food days. This weekend and next, fair food will be available at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. The menu includes funnel cakes, deep fried snickers, cotton candy and candy apples. To maintain social distancing, organizers are asking people to stay in their cars when they arrive. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

2 p.m. - The annual Carolina Blues Festival will be held in partnership with the North Carolina Folk Festival in September. The 34th Carolina Blues Festival was originally scheduled to take place last weekend. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:52 a.m. - Many outpatient clinics from the Wake Forest Baptist Health system are now resuming in-person visits, while still offering virtual visits. The health care system says clinics are implementing safety measures, including minimizing wait times in waiting rooms and screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms. The health care system is also asking patients to wear masks when at a clinic. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:25 a.m. - Raleigh has canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show. Thousands of people typically attend the celebration, which would have been held at the PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. This is the latest of several Fourth of July celebrations to be canceled because of the pandemic. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

 

May 19, 2020

5:40 p.m. - The University of North Carolina System says it has received $700,000 in donations to allocate to student emergency funds across the system. The UNC Association of Student Governments, The John M. Belk Endowment, The CD Spangler Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and an anonymous donor contributed to the fund. Students experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for assistance through their school's student emergency fund. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:35 p.m. - State lawmakers will soon unveil legislation making provisions for elections during the coronavirus pandemic. Elections officials in North Carolina expect to see more absentee-by-mail ballot requests this year from voters concerned about close contact with others at polls. And for those who do show up at polls, county elections officials need money for hand sanitizer as well as masks for each voter. A bipartisan bill that could be filed in the House tomorrow would reduce the number of witnesses needed for submitting an absentee ballot to just one. And the measure would allow for poll workers to come from outside a given precinct in case fewer people are willing to volunteer amid fears of contracting COVID-19. The legislation would also provide for state matching funds to get up to $20 million in federal elections support. The House would vote on the bill next week before sending it to the Senate. - Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

 

5:30 p.m. - Today, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $5 million in federal funds to create a relief program for local small businesses that have lost revenue because of COVID-19. Wake County businesses with fewer than 100 employees can apply for loans of up to $50,000 from the Wake Forward program. Loan recipients will have 4 years to pay back the loans with 5.5% interest. Funding for the loan program comes from the federal CARES Act, which gave Wake County $194 million for COVID-19 response. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

 

5:25 p.m. - Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year tops $500 million. It's more than a $26 million increase from the current year's adopted budget. A city news release said most of that rise is due to the anticipated refinancing of debt. The plan includes a $5 million COVID-19 response and recovery fund. Bonfield proposes freezing the city property tax rate this year, and cutting back on infrastructure investments. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

 

5:20 p.m. - A restaurant in Lincoln County was issued a citation for opening despite an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper that prohibits dining inside restaurants. Mitchem's Kitchen in Vale, a small community outside of Charlotte, opened this week. Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam issued the citation after receiving complaints and conducting an investigation. Beam says while he may not personally agree with all of the orders issued by Cooper, it's his responsibility to enforce the rules. The owner of Mitchem's Kitchen has a court date scheduled for September. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC 

5:10 p.m. - Nearly 90 faith leaders from across North Carolina are asking Congressional delegates to intervene on behalf of 12 residents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Georgia. More than 1,000 detainees at Stewart Detention Center face an outbreak of COVID-19. News outlets are reporting about deficient medical care and violent retaliation by ICE officers there. A letter from the North Carolina Council of Churches urges lawmakers to demand an investigation into operations at the center, transparency about the spread of the virus, and prevention measures being implemented. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

4:40 p.m. - National Guard recruiters in some states say they're seeing a surge in interest from people hoping to join. Some applicants say they're inspired by the Guard's role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic while others are looking to make some money in a tough economy. Guardsmen are running mobile testing teams in Florida, sewing face masks in Indiana, even planting cantaloupe, peppers and squash on a nonprofit farm in North Carolina whose regular volunteers have been forced to stay home. - Jennifer Brookland, WUNC's American Homefront Project

4:30 p.m. - A senior state health official said he hopes North Carolina lawmakers will reconsider Medicaid expansion in the wake of COVID-19. About 1 million people in North Carolina have no health converage. During today's briefing from UNC's Kenan Institute, deputy secretary Kody Kinsley said the cost of testing and treating uninsured North Carolinians fall on state and local entities. Kinsley said the general assembly's decision not to expand Medicaid under the Obama administration prevents the state from accessing $4 billion in federal funds and creating 4,000 jobs. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

11:10 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports about 19,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's about 400 more cases from yesterday. 682 people have died. 585 people are in the hospital sick with COVID-19. The state completed approximately 10,000 more tests from yesterday. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

10:07 a.m. - Major entertainment venues across North Carolina have joined together to create a group that will provide guidance to ensure the safe return of concerts and musicals. The newly formed NC Live Coalition includes the Carolina Theatre of Durham, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, and the PNC Arena in Raleigh. Specific plans of how to safely re-open are still in the works, but will include modifications such as cashless transactions, staggered fan arrival times, and temperature checks. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:36 a.m. - The city manager of Durham is proposing a city budget for the next fiscal year that does not increase property taxes and creates a $5 million COVID-19 recovery fund. Under the proposed budget from city manager Tom Bonfield, city employees would not receive a pay increase. The city expects a $7 million revenue loss related to COVID-19. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:26 a.m. - UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T University have announced changes in scheduling for the fall semester. The universities say they are canceling the usual two day Fall Break in order to end any in-person classes by Thanksgiving break. Students will return home for the remainder of the semester after Thanksgiving break. Final exams will be online. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

6:30 a.m. - The state Department of Transportation is telling its employees they have until the end of June to take 20 hours of unpaid time off. This measure is meant to help the department save money as part of cost-cutting measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The department expects a budget shortfall of at least $300 million. The News & Observer reports the furloughs will save the department about $7 million. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

May 18, 2020

6:10 p.m. - Wake County Manager David Ellis has proposed a $1.46 billion dollar budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It's a 1% decrease from the current year's adopted budget. In a news release, Ellis announced that COVID-19 has left Wake with a $29 million shortfall. He recommends eliminating 100 jobs, cutting services and delaying capital investments. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

6 p.m. - COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed in all 100 North Carolina Counties. Lone holdout Avery County announced the first local case on the Health Department's Facebook page today. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5:50 p.m. - The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced its COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group to support the collegiate athletic league's discussions around return-to-play options. The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group includes one representative from each of its 15 institutions and is chaired by Dr. Cameron Wolfe. Wolfe works in the infectious disease division at Duke University Medical Center. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

5 p.m. - The North Carolina General Assembly is starting its short session with a budget shortfall looming and the prospect of spending cuts without more help from the federal government. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger told reporters at a press conference today that, barring any unforeseen snags, the session could wrap up by the end of June. Then again, nobody really foresaw a deadly coronavirus pandemic that would halt the economy and trigger close to 500,000 jobless claims in North Carolina in a month's time. Berger says state lawmakers need more guidance from Washington before using the remaining $2 billion from a federal coronavirus relief package. 

"We will need to have those dollars in order to make sure that we don't see the kinds of layoffs and freezes that occurred before," said Berger referring to cuts in education spending due to the 2008 recession. - Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

4:40 p.m. - North Carolina saw a spike in COVID-19 cases this weekend. In today's press briefing, Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Saturday saw the largest single day of increase, with nearly 900 new cases.

"We continue to dig into this data to understand this increase but one of the things we know is related to the fact that we are increasing our testing effort," said Cohen.

Gov. Roy Cooper said more than 7,500 tests are administered each day in North Carolina. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

2:30 p.m. - Durham County has more than 1,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. That's according to the North Carolina Department of Human Services. It's the third county after Wake and Mecklenberg to reach that threshold. Mecklenberg County has more than 2,600 cases. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

2:40 p.m. - A recent industry poll reports that more than 100 North Carolina tech leaders are warming up to telecommuting as the new normal for employees. That's according to the trade association NC TECH. Although the CEOs and board members polled said that nearly all of their organizations’ employees are working from home but that 75% believe that will become more common in the long term. NC Tech says that percentage has increased monthly since the March poll, which coincided with the first COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

2:30 p.m. - Elon University is making the SAT and ACT exams an optional part of its admissions process. According to a press release, this three-year pilot program is intended to prevent disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and to see whether this change impacts student performance. Meanwhile, students applying to UNC System schools must still submit their standardized test scores. However, the system has said these scores alone will not be a barrier to acceptance. Wake Forest University has notably been test optional since 2008. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

1:03 p.m. - COVID-19 is changing the way state agencies offer internships this year. A North Carolina Department of Administration press release said students are only interning on state agency assignments where teleworking is an option. That narrows the original number of summer projects for students this year from 100 to 44. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

11:20 a.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports over 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's about 500 more cases from yesterday. The state reports 6,800 more tests were completed from yesterday. 661 people have died. Over half of those deaths involve nursing homes. Around 500 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

11:01 a.m. - The city of High Point has announced that the Uncle Sam Jam and Fireworks Celebration has been canceled. The city says the pandemic is creating too much uncertainty surrounding large social gatherings, and canceling was in the best interest for the safety of the community. This is the latest of several Fourth of July events to cancel. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

9:07 a.m. - State lawmakers are returning to Raleigh today. It's unclear how long legislators will keep the session going. Two weeks ago the lawmakers approved a $1.6 billion dollar COVID-19 relief package. The Legislative Building is re-opening to the public. The building's capacity will be capped and members, staff and visitors should expect temperature checks when going inside. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

8:15 a.m. - The City of Raleigh has announced it will not plant the 2020 summer sunflower field at Dorothea Dix Park. The city says the decision was made because social distancing is still recommended into the summer and there's no way to limit the number of people visiting the sunflower field at any given time. Dix Park’s annual SunFest summer festival that was planned for July has also been canceled. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

7:01 a.m. - As part of a national study, doctors at Vidant Health and East Carolina University are using plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat patients who currently have the illness. The therapy is reserved for patients who are very sick, often only those who are hospitalized and have pneumonia. Patients receive a one-time shot of the convalescent plasma and are then evaluated for 30 days. ECU Dr. Paul Bolin warns it's too early for definitive results, but so far it's promising and the national scope of the study is key.

"That's why this study is so important, Bolin said. "Because it may be the first time we have enough patients to actually prove that this works." There are about 16,000 patients participating nationally. Bolin said the biggest challenge for the study at this point is that there isn't enough plasma. He urges anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating.  - 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
Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of May 11