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.  

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.

We talk with Dr. Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, about the rhetoric tied to wearing a face mask and how public health messaging can adapt. We also hear from a hygiene expert about a possible future for sports fans.


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.

We also make a big announcement about the podcast and hear from musician Shana Tucker about her experience performing “America the Beautiful” on the cello as a Confederate monument was recently disassembled in Raleigh.

Our thanks to the News & Observer for supplying some of this episode’s audio.

Correction: a previous version of this story misidentified Dr. Cardra Burns as the senior deputy secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

We talk with WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer about the obstacles childcare owners and parents are facing. We also hear about a camp that’s adjusting to a different kind of summer.

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.

We also hear about the work of a historic site to celebrate Juneteenth, while social distancing.

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.:

The Republican National Committee has tentatively decided to move much of its political convention to Jacksonville, Florida, while leaving some of the business aspects of the convention in Charlotte, according to a story in the Washington Post.

Robert Willett / The News & Observer via AP

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's administration has ordered the closure of a small stock-car track that's allowed large crowds to gather repeatedly for weekend races, declaring it an “imminent hazard” for COVID-19's spread.

Since the start of Phase 2, some of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics haven’t been trending in the ways North Carolina’s leaders had hoped. On Tuesday the number of hospitalizations hit a new high, with the state Department of Health and Human Services reporting 774 people in the hospital with COVID-19. This peak comes after North Carolina also saw its single highest day of new cases reported over the weekend.

We talk with Dr. David Wohl, infectious disease physician at UNC School of Medicine, about the upticks in hospitalizations and what it means for the road ahead. We also hear about a memorial for George Floyd this past weekend in Raeford, North Carolina.
 


Barbed wire perimeter fence.
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

North Carolina has failed to protect inmates from COVID-19, according to a ruling from a Wake County Superior Court judge. The litigation against Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety highlights evidence and affidavits that contradict DPS’ claimed safety measures. 

Charlotte 2020 Host Committee
Charlotte Regional Vistors Authority

As President Donald Trump plans to move his presidential nomination acceptance speech to a different venue, the city of Charlotte continues its plan to host the Republican National Convention this August. 
 

 

 

After a week of protests against police brutality in Asheville and across the country, local educators are using history to make sense of what feels like an unprecedented moment. 

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

  Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are planning to vote this week on a measure that would allow President Donald Trump to speak in front of a packed Republican National Convention without some of the restrictions officials have required elsewhere to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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

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 1.

6:30 p.m. - Opponents of the Governor's order banning mass gatherings plan to rally in Alamance County tomorrow. An announcement from ReOpen NC says it is sponsoring a fundraiser for Ace Speedway's legal defense. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the racetrack, which had been hosting crowded stock car racing events the past three weekends. Since April, ReOpen NC has held repeated rallies in the state capitol to protest restrictions on business and activity meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

Pages