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.  

Once North Carolina’s gradual reopening shifts into Phase 2 Friday afternoon, more places like restaurants, salons, and pools will be given the green light to open up again.

While some business owners are anxious to reopen as fast as possible, others are more cautious. How customers will balance feeling safe and resuming their pre-pandemic lives remains an open question.

We check back in with Christina Pelech, owner of the Fuss & Bother hair salon in Durham, about her next steps as a small business owner, and how she anticipates life in her shop to look during Phase 2.


Kristy Dactyl

As colleges across the nation deliberate over whether to continue holding classes remotely in the fall, UNC system schools — including North Carolina A&T State University, NC State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — have already announced their tentative plans for campus reopening.

A tattoo and piercing shop on Hillsborough Street is closed during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina's unemployment rate ballooned to just over 12% in April as the state dealt with a coronavirus-related economic slowdown, state officials said Friday.

Nurse's COVID-19 Death Raises Questions About Delayed Testing At NC Prison

May 22, 2020

Barbara Anne Stewart died at a hospital in Danville, Va., on May 7 at age 57.

Five weeks earlier, she had come home from her job as a nurse at the Caswell Correctional Center complaining she didn't feel well.

The Old Well and flowers on the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Universities in the UNC System are beginning to release early plans for how they might reopen their campuses to students and faculty in the fall.

NASCAR is one of the first U.S. sports to return to competition amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it comes with big changes. No fans are allowed, and, at least for now, all the races are at or near the sport's hub in Charlotte. Officials hope excitement around the return to live racing will bring new fans. 

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

Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.:

Rudell leans against a white wall while holding a mug.
Yuri Vaysgant Photography

As a holiday weekend typically celebrated with travel and social gatherings approaches, Governor Roy Cooper announced the state’s plans for proceeding with Phase Two of reopening. 

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

Gov. Roy Cooper is letting North Carolina restaurants, barber shops and salons welcome patrons inside starting this holiday weekend, reporting on Wednesday that the state's COVID-19 trends remain largely stable.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. 

Watch live here starting at 5 p.m.:

Courtesy of Trey Roberts

Over one million North Carolinians have student loan debt, and the average borrower owes about $25,000. Even under normal circumstances, education debt can be prohibitive. 

Tables sit vacant and pollen-covered at Kabab and Curry, a restaurant on Hillsborough Street during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

With the state considering whether to allow dining in restaurants again as soon as this weekend, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association has unveiled a new training program aimed at protecting diners and restaurant staff from the coronavirus.

Some dental offices in North Carolina are starting to reopen with enhanced precautions due to COVID-19.
Quang Tri Nguyen / Unsplash

Some dental offices in North Carolina are starting to reopen.

The CDC and the American Dental Association recommend that patients wait in their cars and are asked about travel history and possible COVID-19 symptoms before going in for their appointments. Dental staff are encouraged to wear more personal protective equipment, including disposable gowns and face shields.

Retired couple Pat McAulay (left) and Margaret Roesch on their front porch.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Before the shelter in place rules came into effect and businesses shut down, retired couple Pat McAuley and Margaret Roesch were forging ahead with a bold idea, to build a community where LGBTQ seniors feel at home.   

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Among the political disputes playing out in North Carolina these days is how best to hold elections this November. 

There are safety concerns for casting ballots in person, and financial considerations for elections officials expecting a significantly larger contingent wanting to vote by mail because of the coronavirus. 

Author David Daley joins the WUNC Politics Podcast to talk about the perils for democracy during a pandemic. And he discusses his 2016 book about gerrymandering, "Ratf**ed". 
 


In some states, recruiters are reporting an uptick in the number of people who are expressing interest in joining the Guard.

Andrea Circle Bear was eight months pregnant and serving a two-year sentence for a drug charge when she became the first female federal prisoner to die from the coronavirus. Her death sparked questions and conversation about what placed her in prison and why she was held there under the circumstances. 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will be available for a dial-in media briefing regarding COVID-19.

Watch live here starting at 2 p.m.:

Forrest Mason Media

North Carolina is known for its barbecue and its bustling food scene. But the state’s restaurants and bars have grown quiet and empty over the last few months. Some eateries have been able to offer takeout, delivery or curbside pickup — but not all dishes work well in a box. 

 

Emergency Management Coordinators Conor Bake (left), Taylor Jones and Catherine Hughes listen to a webinar presented by Division Director Don Campbell from his office in Greensboro during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, May 14.
Scott Muthersbaugh / Guilford County Emergency Services

North Carolina is no stranger to emergencies. When severe weather moves in — be it an ice storm or hurricane — there's a predictable path, an event that's relatively short, and a recovery that's pre-planned based on years of experience.

This is different. A stealth raider moves across the state in invisible waves. And for the first time, all of North Carolina is under a federal state of emergency as a global pandemic takes root. The state has recorded more than 19,400 cases (as of Tuesday May 19) and the virus has spread across all 100 of the state's counties. There have been 682 deaths from COVID-19, according to DHHS figures.

calculator with the word college
Jake Rustenhoven / Flickr Creative Commons

Josmell Pérez has a master's degree and has gone through the process of buying a home - more than once - but he says it's still hard to wrap his head around student loans.

'The mortgage system, credit cards, other parts of finance make a whole lot more sense," Pérez said.

www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

The North Carolina legislature resumed its annual session on Monday after a two-week break prompted by COVID-19, with lawmakers returning in part to address a state economy and government revenue socked by the pandemic.

Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a COVID-19 response team briefing at 2 p.m. 

The state's nursing homes and elder care facilities are improving, according to a new study.
SalFalko / Flickr

Operators of long-term care facilities say their staff members are quitting at a higher rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Eno River State Park was packed with visitors on Sunday as it reopened to the public after a period of closure for COVID-19.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

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 May 11.

7:30 p.m. - Governor Roy Cooper has lifted a statewide stay-at-home restriction. Restaurants, hair salons and other personal care businesses across North Carolina are now allowed to reopen under limited capacity. Some local governments are imposing more stringent rules. Orange County is limiting the capacity at restaurant tables to no more than six people from different households rather than the state limit of ten. Meanwhile Durham City restaurants may only provide carryout or curbside takeout until June 1, while salons and barbershops must remain closed until then. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

Christopher Holliday

The pandemic has had an especially harsh impact on high school seniors in North Carolina. They've missed events they can't get back, like final performances, sports seasons, proms and graduations. Still, many have shown resilience and hopefulness.

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

A federal judge in North Carolina on Saturday sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Keri Brown / WFDD

  The Tyson Foods Plant in Wilkes County is closing temporarily. This is the second time in a week the facility has shut its doors after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

Triplet sisters Brooklyn, Kayla, and Taylor August listen to a surprise musical performance by Paula Snyder on their sixteenth birthday at their home in Raleigh, N.C. on Thursday, May 14, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

These days, Friday and Saturday night Facebook Live streams are the biggest shows of the week for Travis Gales. In the pre-coronavirus world, the Durham DJ typically performed three times per week at bars, clubs, and restaurants.

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

A North Carolina city is keeping a stay-at-home order in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic in effect indefinitely, the mayor announced Friday.

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