NC Coronavirus Updates

News coverage and resources related to the spread and response to the coronavirus in North Carolina and beyond.

WUNC is also compiling a list of organizations asking for support during this unprecedented time.  

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

According to a recent poll from Elon University, Governor Roy Cooper has way more support among Democrats for his mandate to wear masks in public.

Ninety-one percent of Democrats who responded to the survey -- versus 57% of Republicans -- support such a policy. But the poll results are less clear when it comes to reopening schools this fall.

study by Wake Forest Baptist Health has found that between 12-14% of people tested in North Carolina have antibodies for the coronavirus -- meaning they have been exposed to the virus -- with most of them showing little or no symptoms. 

Members of the Coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to hold a media briefing on COVID-19. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Illustration of a calculator and exam answers sheet.
WikiHow Images

School board meetings are buzzing with suggestions of segmented days, converted spaces, private-public partnerships and other ideas for a managed reopening of public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and the state’s Black and Latino populations are being hit the hardest. Black citizens comprise about 22% of the state’s population, but they account for a third of deaths. And nearly half of the people who have tested positive identify as Hispanic, even though the group makes up less than 10% of the state’s population. 

Chris Seward, File / AP Photo

  The U.S. Army has quarantined 90 soldiers and instructors in the Special Forces school who tested positive for the coronavirus during a survival course at Fort Bragg.

NC Department of Commerce

In 2013, North Carolina’s legislature voted to cut unemployment benefits, shortening the number of eligibility weeks and capping the amount of funds workers could draw. 

In this Dec. 5, 2008 file photo, a rack with forms to assist the unemployed and job seekers is seen at a New York State Department of Labor career center in Albany, N.Y.
Mike Groll / AP, File

This story was originally published by ProPublica.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

North Carolina residents have lived under various rules and policies throughout the gradual reopening, and last week Governor Roy Cooper added a new one to the list: a statewide mandate to wear face coverings.

Growing evidence shows that face masks can help reduce the spread of the virus. Yet some people, like President Donald Trump, are still reluctant to wear one.

Public Domain pxhere.com

All North Carolinians living and working in nursing homes will soon receive a one-time coronavirus test, the state announced Tuesday.

Thierry Raimbault/Flickr / https://bit.ly/2YH4TU6

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 22.

2:44 p.m. - Hopscotch organizers have canceled this year's Raleigh-based music festival. Dates have been scheduled for mid-September 2021. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

As Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations continue to endure a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related deaths, state and local health departments are working to increase access to testing and other health care services for communities of color.

Host Leoneda Inge travels to a free testing site in a predominantly Black community in Tallahassee, FL, and talks with Dr. Cardra Burns, senior deputy director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, about our state’s efforts to bolster testing and break down systemic barriers to health care.

Cooper at a lecturn.
UNC-TV

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of reopening until at least July 17. Governor Roy Cooper also announced a mask requirement that goes into effect today at 5 p.m. 

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina is not meeting the health trends required to move to the next phase of reopening, explained State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen in Wednesday's coronavirus briefing.

A group of women sit around a table. A sign behind them reads "Think Babies."
North Carolina Early Education Coalition

Even before COVID-19 began to impact childcare center operations across the state, half of North Carolina was a childcare desert — a geographic area where three or more working-parent families vy for every available childcare slot. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services reports three clusters of COVID-19 at childcare centers across North Carolina. A “cluster” is defined as five or more cases, with links between cases, at a licensed or regulated childcare facility.

As state health officials try to mitigate these clusters, parents and childcare directors must grapple with what’s best for kids’ safety. About a third of all childcare centers in the state have remained closed since March, while advocates predict around a third of facilities could close permanently.

Andrew Harnik, File / AP Photo

Landlords in North Carolina can begin filing evictions this week, after a statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings lifted Monday. That means a wave of North Carolina tenants could soon face eviction hearings in court.

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 June 15.

5:05 p.m. - North Carolinians must now wear a mask in public where it is difficult to maintain physical distance from others. Governor Roy Cooper's executive order went into effect at 5 p.m. The mandate relies largely on the honor system although law enforcement will be able to issue citations to businesses that do not require employees and customers to wear masks. However, several sheriffs have said they will not enforce the governor's order. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is warning that "mask exemption" cards circulating on the Internet are fraudulent and do not carry the weight of law. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

North Carolina lawmakers this week approved a plan to provide teachers with a one-time bonus. Meanwhile temperature checks at the General Assembly building were halted — albeit briefly — as the capital city moved to require masks to curb COVID-19. And a group of lawyers sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders arguing Confederate monuments violate the state constitution. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, and two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.


As state officials continue to heed the call for social distancing and face coverings, researchers and health experts have been busy examining the trends and forecasting possible scenarios for the pandemic’s future.

We talk with Kim Powers, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about her work modeling the projection of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

Courtesty of Cassandra Brooks

 

Cassandra Brooks owns and operates The Little Believer's Academy, with daycare centers in Clayton and Garner. After working a corporate job at IBM, it was her dream to start her own business caring for children.

The next phase of North Carolina’s gradual reopening is in jeopardy as many of the state’s health trends continue to move in the wrong direction. Hospitalizations on average are on the rise, while 1,154 people have died from the virus.

We talk with Rose Hoban, editor and founder of North Carolina Health News and a registered nurse, about the positive test rate in the state and other alarming trends that could influence the next steps.  Host Dave DeWitt also reflects on the special experience of his son’s high school graduation.


Senior Airman Ian Beckley

 
As businesses reopen and summer weather lures people into public spaces, health officials in North Carolina worry about the pandemic’s increasing toll on the population. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000 this week. 

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 Gov. Roy Cooper said on Monday he'll announce early next week whether businesses still shuttered because of COVID-19 will be allowed to reopen.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

High school graduations across the state have taken a different form due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as drive-throughs and virtual celebrations became the norm. Instead of walking across a stage, shaking hands and throwing caps into the air, the class of 2020 had to find new ways to celebrate.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to hold a media briefing on COVID-19. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/2Cac52r

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 8.

6:30 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would have allowed gyms and bars to reopen immediately amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  Public health restrictions ordered by the governor has kept those businesses closed for months.  Just two weeks ago, Cooper vetoed a similar bill that would have opened bars. The governor will announce next week whether he'll modify his current executive order to let more businesses reopen. – Cole del Charco and Amy Jeffries, WUNC

There have been more than 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than a dozen outbreaks at state correctional facilities. Five inmates at state prisons and one person on prison staff have died from the virus.

State officials say they’ve been following CDC guidelines for testing and treatment, but some argue officials aren’t doing enough for inmates. On Monday, a state judge sided with civil rights groups, and ruled that state prisons must come up with a plan to test every inmate for COVID-19.

We hear from Elaine White about her experience being incarcerated during the pandemic, and why she is concerned for the health of people at correctional facilities. And we check in with WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn about testing at state prisons.


furniture on the street
70023venus2009 via Flickr

Updated June 19, 3:30 p.m.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s moratorium against evictions ends on June 21. Those living in federally-subsidized housing — also called Section 8 — have until July 25.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry will be available today for a briefing regarding COVID-19.

Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.:

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