coronavirus

Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of July 27.

4:50 p.m. - Administrators at UNC Chapel Hill say students can still opt out of their housing contracts without penalty if they have not already moved in. In a press briefing today, Provost Bob Blouin said the university is accepting opt-out requests from students through tomorrow at 5 p.m. for any reason, including instances in which their classes have moved online because of the pandemic. But if students have already moved in or decide to opt out after tomorrow, they'll be charged cancellation fees.  Students started moving in on Monday. - Will Michaels, WUNC

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Amanni King sits at the front desk of a residence hall at Fayetteville State University, killing time while she waits for students. She's a resident assistant and her first move-in day of the pandemic feels slow compared to the usual welcoming.

This week:  North Carolina played host to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, David Lewis, a powerful state legislator, will not be on the ballot, as previously expected. And with the State Fair canceled for the first time since the second World War, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield ponder whether college athletics can realistically take place this fall. 

Photo: Ferris wheel at the N.C. State Fair
Flickr, Kevin Oliver

The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled.

Organizers of the annual fair in Raleigh announced in a statement Wednesday morning that the decision to cancel the 2020 event was based on the safety and health of visitors, vendors, competitors and staff, current COVID-19 statistics in the state, North Carolina’s pause in Phase Two of reopening, contracts and the long-term financial health of the fair.

Zhang / Flickr/Creative Commons

Alcohol sales hours at restaurants, breweries and distilleries in North Carolina will have a curfew starting Friday night.

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump is coming to the Triangle on Monday to visit a facility involved in work to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus N.C. State prep mask
Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of July 20.

6:10 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency as Hurricane Isaias threatens to become North Carolina’s first test in responding to a hurricane in the midst of the pandemic. Forecasts differ, but the storm could reach the coast Monday as it tracks north. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are near peak levels in the state. Cooper said social distancing means shelters won’t be able to hold as many people. So if evacuations are necessary, coastal residents should plan to stay with friends or family inland, or at a hotel. Those who need a shelter will be screened for COVID-19 and some may be housed in hotels for more isolation or, if they have symptoms, at a medical facility. - Jay Price, WUNC

This week in state politics: The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in wide and various ways. From touchscreen voting machines to an annual bar exam, there are questions about risk and necessity.

In their weekly review of state politics, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss remote learning, elections preparations, and President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back plans for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.

Cheesecakes by Alex
Cheesecakes by Alex / Cheesecakes by Alex

With indicators of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Carolina trending in the wrong direction, Governor Roy Cooper hit pause on the state's reopening last week.

Some restaurants and eateries in Guilford County, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, are closing their dining rooms again.

A Grubhub delivery driver picks up two boxes of pizza
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

A report from UNC Chapel Hill says there's a higher probability of death from COVID-19 in some of North Carolina's rural counties.

For American families with children, the pandemic has meant lost income, increased child care responsibilities, worry and stress. But a majority are not eager for schools to reopen this fall, given the health risk.

photo of drive-thru coronavirus testing in Chatham County
Staff Sgt. Mary Junell / U.S. Army Photo

Much of the scene at this drive-through testing site in Kenly has become familiar. Health care workers asking for last names, telling folks which tent to pull up to.

Hal Goodtree, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2OJVNQH

The Wake County School Board voted Tuesday to proceed with its "Plan B Transitional" plan for this fall.

That means students in all grades will start the year remotely.

Electric meter
Kevin Harber, via Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/30ykzck

The North Carolina Utilities Commission says nearly 1.5 million customers in the state have been delinquent in payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utilities Commission says the unpaid bills amount to nearly $260 million.

President Trump took to the White House briefing room on Tuesday to praise his administration's response to the virus that has killed more than 140,000 Americans so far. In a reversal of his recent statements and tone, he acknowledged the severity of the pandemic and urged Americans to comply with preventative measures.

"It will likely unfortunately get worse before it gets better," Trump said in uncharacteristically somber remarks, encouraging Americans to social distance, practice good hygiene and wear masks.

Congress returns from a summer recess Monday as many states experience spikes in confirmed coronavirus cases.

State governments face a precipitous drop in revenue, parents and teachers are debating how kids will return to school in the fall, and millions of unemployed workers face the prospect of their pandemic assistance running out at the end of the month.

covid
LM Otero / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of July 13.

2:50 p.m. - A temporary waiver giving people extra flexibility in preparing Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney is set to end next week. These two directives have traditionally required notarization and the signatures of two witnesses. In response to the pandemic, the General Assembly passed a law in May waiving the the witness requirement until July 31. The Secretary of State's office says emergency video notarizations will be available to people preparing their advance directives until March. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

This week in state politics: More remote learning became a reality this week when Gov.  Roy Cooper announced North Carolina public schools will not return like normal next month as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise.

Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss the governor's choice to recommend a mix of online and in-person schooling for K-12 students. 

Meanwhile, the latest campaign finance reports show Democrats are building a financial advantage. And in Asheville, city council members unanimously voted to provide Black residents with reparations.

 


Just as the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 approaches new highs in some parts of the country, hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing.

The Missouri Hospital Association reports that it no longer has access to the data it uses to guide statewide coronavirus planning, and the Kansas Hospital Association says its hospital data reports may be delayed.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration directed hospitals to change how they report data to the federal government and how that data will be made available.

Is it just us…or have animals been acting different lately?

CREEP is an unexpected audio documentary for these challenging times. Journalists Elizabeth Friend and Laura Pellicer team up to tell the story of how the COVID-19 pandemic changed our relationship with the animals.

This half-hour special takes listeners on a virtual nature walk – one that makes some unplanned stops throughout history to examine how one species in particular has started showing up in unexpected ways since we humans started social distancing.


Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

In a swift reversal, the Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump spoke in the White House Rose Garden on a broad range of topics on Tuesday, pitching himself as the stronger competitor over rival Joe Biden to manage the deadly coronavirus pandemic and steer the U.S. economy to prosperity.

His remarks come amid mounting concerns raised by public health officials about his administration's aggressive pitch to return the United States to normalcy, including pushing guidance for schools to reopen for in-person classes this fall.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina teachers, parents and students — as well as gym and bar operators — are anxious to know what Gov. Roy Cooper will say about the path ahead with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ben Finley / AP Photo

When Hurricane Dorian pounded the wisp of earth that is Ocracoke Island, a wall of Atlantic seawater flooded Bob Chestnut’s home, surf shop and four vehicles.

Medical personel handle testing at a community coronavirus testing site operated by Cone Health and the county Health Department in Burlington, N.C., Thursday, July 9, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of July 6.

4:15 p.m. - With coronavirus infection rates setting new records across much of the country, medical troops from Fort Bragg have been deployed to help in one of the worst-hit states. Seventy-one soldiers with the 44th Medical Brigade have flown to McAllen, Texas. According to an emailed statement from the Army, they’ll help civilian hospitals in that area deal with critical care COVID-19 cases. Infection rates are so bad  in parts of Texas — including McAllen — that intensive care units are full, hospitals are adding beds in temporary facilities and refrigerated trucks have been ordered to help with overflow at morgues. The state hit a new single-day record for Covid-related deaths this week. - Jay Price, WUNC

Cardboard beds. Urban farms. Roving mariachi bands.

These are some of the ways that regular folks are solving problems and spreading happiness during the pandemic.

The solutions aren't perfect — public health experts have some critiques and suggestions. But at the same time, they applaud the ingenuity and positive vibes.

Read the stories of six grassroots change-makers — then nominate your own at the bottom of this story.

This week in state politics: North Carolina lawmakers failed to override the governor's vetoes so that gyms and skating rinks that were shutdown because of the pandemic could reopen. But in court, a group of bowling alleys won their argument that they're no riskier than resturants operating at limited capacity. 

Meanwhile, the tension over how Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is calling the shots during the COVID-19 emergency brought an abrupt end to a meeting of top state elected officials. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss those developments, plus record-breaking fundraising in the U.S. Senate race, and one early outcome of protests over police misconduct. 
 


Flickr / https://bit.ly/2ZdjmaX

A “Top Chef” contestant's restaurant in North Carolina has permanently closed down due to revenue losses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowling
https://bit.ly/38BZy3X / LibraryatNight via Creative Commons

A state judge has ruled that dozens of bowling alleys can reopen in North Carolina, provided they adhere to capacity limits and rules for sanitation and face coverings.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have helped spur an increase in gun sales. New preliminary research suggests those additional sales could be linked to higher rates of gun violence.

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