NC Coronavirus Updates

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

UNC Health set up a medical triage tent in front of its main hospital in Chapel Hill specifically for coronavirus patients.
Jay Price / WUNC

A composite coronavirus forecast from UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University suggests strict social distancing measures may need to stay in place through May. 

Researchers used various models to predict the strain on North Carolina's health care system under two scenarios: keeping current social distancing measures in place through June first, or lifting them entirely when the statewide stay-at-home order expires on April 29th.

Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Home Improvement store Lowes says it will limit the number of customers who can enter a store at one time. That decision comes about a week after Governor Roy Cooper's stay-home order, and after many stores saw large crowds of shoppers.

Carrington Middle School teacher and coach Terry McMillan passes a bag filled with multiple school lunches to a family at Lakewood Montessori Middle School in Durham, Monday, April 6.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Public schools across North Carolina have given meals to thousands of students since in-person classes ended for many three weeks ago, but this week's school meals will be the last in Durham.

UNC Health set up a medical triage tent in front of its main hospital in Chapel Hill specifically for coronavirus patients.
Jay Price / WUNC

UNC Health is planning for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.

Emergency services director Christian Lawson said UNC hospitals have an adequate amount of personal protective equipment available for nurses and doctors right now.

Ivar Lonon holds two boxes containing the cremated remains of his mother and father at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, N.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Ben McKeown for WUNC & AP / For WUNC

Among all the milestones, the key rituals of life being cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — weddings, baby showers, birthdays — is that iconic last one for military veterans, burial with military honors.

Members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.

Student practices wheel throwing in an East Carolina University ceramics class.
Courtesy of East Carolina University

Teachers and college professors have been given a huge challenge this month -- how to quickly adapt their classes for long-distance learning. North Carolina teachers are getting creative to engage their students.

AllenG. Breed / 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 March 30.

12:45 p.m. - Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill are helping test a new anti-viral drug for treatment of COVID-19. The university says it's trying to determine the effectiveness of the drug, which was discovered at Emory University in Atlanta. Scientists say it's had promising results in tests on mice at preventing lung injury from COVID-19. The disease can cause secondary complications like pneumonia, especially in high-risk individuals. Clinical trials on humans are expected to begin later this spring. - Will Michaels, WUNC


Three residents of a central North Carolina nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19, public health officials announced on Saturday as overall cases statewide exceeded 2,400.

Cheri Beasley became North Carolina's first African-American female chief justice.
Paul Woolverton / The Fayetteville Observer

North Carolina's chief justice has pushed most court proceedings back to at least June in order to promote social distancing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced on Friday that she had issued an order that state superior and district court proceedings be rescheduled until June 1 or later unless they meet certain exceptions. Beasley had previously postponed most court proceedings until mid-April.

Dale Folwell, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security, wants job seekers to verify more work searches per week.
NC Commerce

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has been released from the hospital after what his office said was five days of treatment for symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus.

A statement from Folwell's office on Friday said he will continue his recovery from home, following protocols described in his discharge as well as those required by local and state health officials.

The N95 mask made by 3M

North Carolina health officials say they are still prioritizing masks for health care workers as President Trump prepares to release new guidelines that suggest people should wear face coverings whenever they go out in public.

Leoneda Inge / WUNC

As more people adhere to social distancing guidelines, there's one truly essential place where it's tougher to follow the rules: the grocery store.

UNC senior Samara Bie works on job applications from her Chapel Hill apartment. Bie, an international student from China, must secure a job within 60 days of graduating in May in order to extend her F-1 visa.
Courtesy of Samara Bie

Like many graduating college students across the United States, UNC-Chapel Hill senior Samara Bie experienced her last moments on campus without even knowing it.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

State officials are scrambling to catch up with more than 355,000 new claims for unemployment benefits filed over the past two weeks. But even agency officials admit it can't happen fast enough. 

Duke University Chapel
Bill Snead / Duke University

Under the governor's statewide stay-at-home order, religious entities are considered essential, but gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

As a result, many places of worship are now live streaming their services online.
Duke University Rabbi Elana Friedman says that so far, her student congregants seem to like it.

"There's some excitement to being able to join a service in your pajamas and have your pets with you," she said. "There's some time efficiency that some people have noted that has been helpful."

California Air National Guard personnel from the 146th Airlift Wing assist with retrofitting the Los Angeles Convention Center into a federal medical station. The 146th Airlift Wing has been mobilized to provide humanitarian aid across the state of Califo

North Carolina's COVID-19 task force is asking FEMA to provide quarantine shelters as part of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said FEMA's approval would provide thousands of rooms for people who could be infected with COVID-19.

Elaine Thompson / AP

State leaders have not given estimates about how many people across North Carolina they suspect have contracted COVID-19, and instead have focused on the number of positive cases due to the illness.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Grocery clerks and delivery drivers are on the frontlines alongside healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. But, unlike nurses, coming in contact with highly contagious diseases was not included in their job description. Low wages, limited benefits, and now the pervasive threat of illness?

Man unloads truck of canned food and produce.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

WUNC is compiling the following list of organizations asking for support during this unprecedented time. This post will be updated periodically with new information. Are we missing important efforts underway around the state? Please email and we will be happy to review your submission and update this list.


UNC Emergency Department
Courtesy of Diana Dayal

Just a few weeks ago, Diana Dayal was hitting the books hard, preparing for the first of two medical licensing exams. The fourth-year UNC Chapel Hill medical student's clinical knowledge test had been scheduled for March 19.

"That's one not happening," Dayal, who wants to go into emergency medicine, said with a chuckle. "And then the other one was scheduled for mid-April."

The exam sites have been closed to contain the spread of coronavirus. And clinical skills tests, which involve the use of actors posing as patients, have also been postponed indefinitely.

Major the Bull wears a protective facemark in the downtown plaza in Durham, N.C. Friday, March 27, 2020.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Around the Triangle, streets and restaurants, businesses and college campuses have remained largely empty this week, after Gov. Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order directing North Carolinians to shelter in place for a month. The order went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 30 and will last until April 29.

Photographers Chuck Liddy and Ben McKeown captured some of the empty spaces around our community.


Farmers in North Carolina are finding new ways to get produce to customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
NC State Extension / Twitter

Farmers in North Carolina are finding new ways to get produce to customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While there's still a large demand for fresh food, the typical ways of distributing it have been disrupted. Restaurants operating under social distancing restrictions need significantly less produce. Some farmers markets have closed temporarily.

Gun Sales Skyrocket In March On Pandemic Fears

Apr 1, 2020

Americans bought millions of guns in March, apparently driven by fears of the societal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retailers sold more than 2.5 million firearms in March, a year-over-year increase of 85%, according to estimates from industry research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF).

The FBI says it performed 3,740,688 background checks in its NICS database during the month of March, over 1 million more background checks than it performed in March 2019.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper will issue a proclamation today declaring it National Census Day in North Carolina. There is an extra push to get the state’s more than 10 million residents counted while also dealing with COVID-19.

Kevin Fuller
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order went into effect earlier this week. That presents a particular problem for the 9,000 North Carolinians who make up the state's homeless population.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina has seen more than 50 times the typical number of people applying for unemployment in the past two weeks. Nearly 90% say they're jobless because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A sign directs customers to remain in their cars at Trophy Brewing on Morgan Street in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina's restaurant and hotel operators pleaded Tuesday for state financial aid and tax relief as closings and travel restrictions from the new coronavirus have thrown more than 370,000 of their employees out of work.

Speaking to a state House committee on the virus-induced economic contraction, hospitality industry leaders said expanded unemployment benefits and assistance approved in Washington won't come soon enough.