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.  

Sara Fearrington is a Waffle House worker and married to a husband with a chronic lung condition. She advocates for higher pay and better health benefits for frontline workers.
Sara Fearrington / Contributed

In order to make it to her first shift at Waffle House, Sara Fearrington gets up at 5 a.m. to be out the door on time to catch the first bus into the downtown Durham terminal. She then transfers to the No. 12 line out to the restaurant on Highway 55, which usually gets her there at about 6:45 a.m. – enough time to get ready and clock in by 7 a.m.

UNC Chapel Hill Counseling and Psychological Services staff. Doctor Allen O'Barr is kneeling farthest to the left in white shirt and beard.
UNC Counseling and Psychological Services

Some universities are expanding their mental health services to reach students remotely.

Doctor Allen O'Barr is director of UNC Chapel Hill's Counseling and Psychological Services. He's been seeing students through confidential online conferences. That allows the office to maintain on-going services and help students cope with new stress or grief related to the coronavirus pandemic.

A view of Glenwood South, a normally bustling part of downtown Raleigh, almost completely empty due to COVID-19.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

As Governor Roy Cooper begins easing restrictions on some businesses starting Friday, local retail stores are taking precautions to open safely.

Some stores are limiting the number of people allowed inside or offering shopping by appointment for customers with health risks.

Immunity

May 7, 2020

In making the decision on when to reopen North Carolina's economy, Gov. Roy Cooper says he is being guided by one thing: Data. 

One data point the state is not focused on: The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. An even more unknowable number right now is how many people have had it, and, because they were asymptomatic, never knew it.

Those are two groups that could be vitally important, because their blood may contain antibodies that could provide some immunity.

We talk to Dr. Alena Markmann and Dr. Luther Bartelt about immunity, and the treatments they are utilizing now to treat COVID-19 patients.


Members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 2 p.m. Thurs.

Watch Live here:

When this year’s seniors started their final year of high school, they could not have imagined that their spring would involve canceled proms, drive-thru cap and gown pickups and postponed graduation ceremonies.

The National Guard via Flickr. Photo by Sgt. Michael Baltz.

Five faculty members at the East Carolina University College of Nursing are volunteering behind the scenes to identify nurses across the state who can pick up shifts at long term care facilities.

Ethan Guentensberger

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.

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Three counties on North Carolina's tourist-reliant Outer Banks announced plans Wednesday to lift coronavirus-related visitor restrictions, although they warned of the need to continue to practice social distancing amid the ongoing pandemic.

Carter-Finley Stadium, where the North Carolina State University Wolfpack play home football games.
N.C. State Athletics

Eight of the 14 football-playing members of the Atlantic Coast Conference are making plans for reopening campuses this fall while four others have publicly said they are exploring scenarios for a return following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

It's National Nurses' Day. And this year, nurses - and all medical professionals - have certainly earned a little extra recognition. 

We talk with Rose Hoban, the editor of North Carolina Health News and a registered nurse, about what nurses are experiencing.

Also, we hear from a high-school senior who missed out on his final baseball season.

 

Members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Watch Live here:

https://twitter.com/ncgop

The North Carolina Republican Party has delayed its convention by two months because of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

Phased Reopening

May 5, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper's Phase One Reopening plan begins Friday. The announcement came after Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the COVID-19 data trends in North Carolina are "stable."

Phase One doesn't throw things wide open. Salons, gyms, and dining areas, for example, cannot open. But other businesses can reopen, if they practice certain social distancing measures.

Host Dave DeWitt and Reporter/Producer Will Michaels explain and analyze what people and businesses can do now, that they couldn't do before.


Gov. Roy Cooper says the state can start the first part of a three-phase reopening plan Friday evening — but that doesn't mean North Carolina's stay-at-home order will be lifted immediately.

Student, Classroom, school, class
Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

The pair of COVID-19 recovery bills passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper provide broad relief and numerous funding streams dedicated to K-12 public school students.

Those individual line items - paid for with federal aid - cover a cornucopia of students' needs.

"Today's bills provide for feeding schoolchildren, summer learning programs to help them catch up and funding to purchase computers for students who need them," Cooper said at a press conference.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Since the coronavirus pandemic swept into North Carolina a couple of months ago, Dr. Mandy Cohen has become a familiar figure.

The state health and human services secretary appears in near daily briefings with the governor and other officials leading the response. 

The decisions are hard, she says, especially when the science around COVID-19 is still evolving. 
 
On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, she talks about balancing public health protections with the consequences, how worried she is about reopening the economy, and how much sleep she's getting (hint: not much). 
 


AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Stimulus checks are rolling into bank accounts across the country, but many have experienced confusion about when, and if, their portion of the $2 trillion economic relief package is coming. 

Courtesy of Jenni Lawson

North Carolina’s coastal counties draw millions of visitors each year with their scenic shorelines and festive events. Tourism is the primary economic driver in beach communities like Corolla, in Currituck County, but the coronavirus will prevent hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals and events from operating at full capacity this summer. 

Steven R Shook

She did not expect to be the only person of color in a classroom, and certainly not as the teacher.  Before she was elected mayor of Elizabeth City, Bettie J. Parker taught math for 33 years at the local high school.
 

 

bus stop sign
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

As federal politicians argue about pandemic relief payments for state and local governments, more than 600 North Carolina cities, towns, and counties are trying to develop budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

The COVID-19 relief package the governor has now signed into law includes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid for North Carolina's K-12 public schools. Those dollars will help schools continue to feed students and reach them through remote instruction.

Paying The Rent

May 4, 2020

The National Multifamily Housing Council reported last month that nearly one-third of apartment renters in the country had not paid their rent in April. The numbers were slightly better in North Carolina, but they are on track to be worse this month. Gov. Roy Cooper signed two emergency funding bills today that could help, but the pandemic has forced tenants and landlords to come up with answers mostly on the fly.

Today, we examine how rentals have changed during the pandemic and get a glimpse of how tenants are coping and how landlords are adapting in Durham, a city where the housing market has been booming, but where most tenants were already spending more than 30% of their incomes on rent.

We speak with Peter Gilbert, supervising attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina in the Durham eviction diversion program, and Michelle Ketchum, owner of Acorn and Oak Property Management Company in Durham.


Military recruiting and training has slowed down because of the pandemic. So the Navy is trying other ways to maintain the size of the force.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper hold a press conference on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Courtesy of NC Governor Roy Cooper via Twitter

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a pair of bills on Monday which will provide a $1.6 billion infusion for schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Cooper will share COVID-19 updates and take action on a bill at a public briefing at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Watch live here:

A Whole Foods Market worker gathers grocery carts in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
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 April 27.

3:25 p.m. - The state Department of Health and Human Services reports 14,764 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. 547 people have died. 192,135 tests have been completed. 442 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus. 99 of 100 North Carolina Counties have reported cases of COVID-19 with Avery county as the lone outlier. - Laura Pellicer, WUNC

5:52 p.m. - The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has announced 4 of its detention officers at the Cumberland County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19. In a press release, Sheriff Ennis Wright said currently no cases have been identified among inmates. The detention officers are recuperating at home and the county health department is tracing their contacts. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began last week and continues through May 23. But stay-at-home orders and social distancing are causing Muslims in Charlotte to change how they observe their religion’s most important month. They’re finding new ways to connect, worship, and give back to their community.


Legislators look out the window to see packed protestors.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

The General Assembly on Saturday finalized a relief package to address the new coronavirus pandemic  in North Carolina, agreeing to send money to schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers.

Randall Moore, center with tan pants, spoke with Raleigh police about the rules about openly carrying firearms during a protest.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Nine protesters armed with military-style weapons and clothing gathered at the entrance of Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Raleigh Friday morning. Some of those protesters joined with a slightly larger group Friday afternoon to march around the downtown government district in protest of Gov. Roy Cooper's orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They said the measures infringed on their Constitutional rights.

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