COVID-19


Three women wearing white lab coats, masks, face shields and gloves stood around a table on a recent afternoon at LabCorp's Burlington headquarters, using box cutters to open packages. Inside each package was a box containing a plastic sample tube.

These are the company’s at-home coronavirus test kits. They’re among the tens of thousands of coronavirus test swabs from across the U.S. that the North Carolina lab location receives daily.

NC National Guard Covid Mask
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/349yfMJ

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 Sept. 21.

5:30 p.m. - A student at Appalachian State University has died of complications of COVID-19. Chancellor Sheri Everts gave her condolences in a press release today, confirming that student Chad Dorrill had died.

Dorrill lived off campus in Boone and was taking all online classes. After he started feeling unwell, his mother encouraged him to come home to the Winston-Salem area to isolate. According to the Wautauga Democrat, he died Monday night at Forsyth Medical Center. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Camp Kanata, a YMCA overnight camp, would normally be empty during the week this time of the year. Instead, the camp outside the town of Wake Forest has been transformed. 

wileydoc / Flickr

North Carolina State University announced a return to in-person classes and on-campus living for the spring semester yesterday. The school closed in late August after a rise in COVID-19 cases. School reopenings led to spikes in cases across the country, according to a new study co-authored by two North Carolina-based professors — as many as 3,000 cases per day. 

Charles Jacocks, rear, along with his wife Carrie and incoming freshman Ann Grace, right, carry their belongings as college students begin moving in for the fall semester at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, July 31, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

A new study links college reopenings to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country. The study is co-authored by UNC Greensboro economics professor Martin Andersen, Davidson College education professor Chris Marsicano and others. Marsicano is also the Director of the College Crisis Initiative.

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. faces challenges within his own party this week in advancing the Republican health care bill.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force are briefing a Senate panel on the federal response to the pandemic. Witnesses include Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

When a COVID-19 outbreak hits a community, one of the first responses is to perform contact tracing to pinpoint the outbreak's origin and inform people at risk to quarantine. But defenses against the virus can only go so far without consistent support from the public. 

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WFAE reporter David Boraks about the effectiveness of contact tracing around Charlotte, NC.

Dave also speaks with Meera Viswanathan, a fellow with RTI International and director of the RTI-UNC Evidence-Based Practice Center, about a recent analysis of coronavirus health screenings.


COVID coronavirus mask kids bikes police greenville
City of Greenville, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2RONEMk

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 Sept. 14.

3:40 p.m. - The state is adding data on antigen testing to its COVID-19 dashboard. The new information will include cases and deaths diagnosed with an antigen test, and the number of antigen tests completed daily. Formerly the health department only reported tests confirmed with a molecular test that detects the virus's genetic material. Antigen tests, which account for roughly 2% of COVID-19 tests in North Carolina, look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. The department says it can add the antigen testing data due to improved reporting processes, and is joining 31 other states in doing so. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A COVID-19-related workplace dispute is brewing between a former lottery host and Raleigh-based television station WRAL.

Side photo of a North Carolina Public Schools bus.
NCDOT Communications

North Carolina elementary schools will soon be allowed to return to daily, in-person classes, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday.

School districts will be allowed to welcome back kindergarten through fifth grade students at full capacity, if they choose.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the state Coronavirus Task Force will deliver a public coronavirus briefing at 3 p.m., followed by questions from the media.

Watch live, beginning at 3 p.m.:

Charts and graphs of COVID-19 surveillance reports
Hertford County Government

Though COVID-19 struck North Carolina’s suburban and urban communities earliest, the virus has begun to sweep through the state’s rural communities at an alarming rate. 

North Carolina has been in some version of a statewide shutdown for nearly six months. Throughout that time, COVID-19 has demanded a never-ending list of challenges and risks, especially for communities of color. Since the beginning of the pandemic, African Americans have accounted for a disproportionate number of coronavirus-related deaths due to long-standing systemic racial health disparities.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Whitney Robinson, an associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health, about ways the virus could have been more mitigated, and the efforts communities of color are making to keep themselves safe.

Dave also discusses how the North Carolina Forest Service is providing aid to western states as raging wildfires continue to burn millions of acres.
 


Kim Chandler / AP Photo

As COVID-19 swept through the South, Mel Prince watched with alarm as some of the HIV positive patients she helps in the rural Black Belt stopped showing up for lab tests and doctor's visits.

Students sitting on the North Carolina State campus wearing masks and socially distanced.
N.C. State University

Students at universities across North Carolina are struggling to maintain a normal campus life. For one particular group of students, the pandemic has created some special challenges.

Robert Willett/The News & Observer / via AP, Pool

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 Sept. 7.

4:20 p.m. - North Carolina's unemployment rate declined in August. The seasonally adjusted rate was 6.5%, which was down two percentage points from July's revised rate. North Carolina's unemployment rate in August was 2.7% higher than the same month last year. Unemployment in North Carolina has remained lower than the national average since the pandemic struck in March. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

 

Walking through the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s campus, some things feel like a normal fall semester, with familiar sights like student volunteers running a voter registration drive.

Other things look very different.

Over 120 COVID-19 Cases At North Carolina’s Only Immigration Detention Facility

Sep 10, 2020
Anthony Crider, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2ZloXeM

 North Carolina Health News

Nehel Gaya’s father has traveled so much during the pandemic, she’s having trouble keeping up.

The South Carolina resident had received calls from Georgia, Texas, Louisiana -- whatever immigrant detention facility her father, a Pakistani citizen, happened to be transferred to next.

Well into the pandemic, one of those places was a local North Carolina jail.

Donald Trump, Winston-Salem, Rally
Evan Vucci / AP

A crowed political rally hosted by President Donald Trump put people’s health at risk, but was legal under state pandemic rules that exempt certain gatherings where people exercise free speech, a spokeswoman for North Carolina's governor said Wednesday.

McKenzie County Sheriff's Office

Hundreds of inmates have been released from state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus. But the same is not true in the state’s jails, which housed just under 16,000 people statewide in the first five months of 2020, according to data from the University of North Carolina School of Government. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety oversees the response to the coronavirus in the state’s prisons, but jails around the state do not have the same accountability or oversight. 

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 Aug. 31.

5:20 p.m. - The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill is anticipating even more financial losses due to COVID-19. Already, the university has lost an estimated $54 million in revenue from on-campus activities. Nate Knuffman, the university's interim finance chief, said during a meeting with faculty and staff today there could be more losses from hospital operations and athletics.

"When including these impacts, structural issues, and potential spring 2021 losses, we could see a financial impact of $300 million dollars this fiscal year," said Knuffman, adding it's important to note that this estimate doesn't include potential impacts in the event of a state budget shortfall as economic activity has fallen off during the ongoing pandemic. - Cole del Charco, WUNC

This week: State legislators gaveled in for a brief two-day session and don't intend to return until next year — that is, until after the elections are over. Their singular charge was to allocate North Carolina's remaining pandemic relief funds from the federal CARES Act.

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss the good – and the bad – in the latest relief package. And they react to President Trump's visit to Wilmington, where he tacitly encouraged people to vote twice.
 


NASCAR covid masks martinsville
Steve Helber / AP Photo

NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 relief during the playoffs, meaning a positive coronavirus test will end a driver's championship bid.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is holding briefings Thursday regarding COVID-19. At 3 p.m., Dr. Viviana Martinez-Bianchi will announce updates and the new campaign in Spanish, and answer questions from the media in Spanish.

Watch here, live:

Panthers Owner Frustrated Over Not Having Fans At NFL Opener

Sep 3, 2020

Panthers owner David Tepper expressed frustration with government officials over not allowing fans in the stadium for the team’s Sept. 13 home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Sitting at home and from her cellphone screen on July 24, Ana Chagoyán, a Mexican mother who lives near Charlotte, said her last goodbye to her brother Juan. He was just 40 years old.

Playgrounds throughout Durham, N.C. city parks were closed March 26, 2020 after Mayor Steve Schewel issued a stay-at-home order for the city in an effort to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that North Carolina will enter the next phase of reopening, dubbed “Phase 2.5,” starting Friday at 5 p.m.

Beer cans, beer bottle and red solo cups on a table
Melissa O'Donohue / Flickr / CC

“Colleges may want to blame student partying for not allowing them to reopen successfully, but they have forfeited the moral authority to do so,” writes former Tar Heel Chancellor Holden Thorp in “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” Alternately decrying and advertising the party scene during his time in university leadership, Thorp confesses that fraternities and sororities play a key role in school finances. 

Stephanie Wilder of Durham, Protest
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

It’s the first of the month. For many, that means September’s rent is due. But because of Covid-related unemployment, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians may not be able to pay, and could face eviction.

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is ready to make changes to his orders prohibiting certain retailers from opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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