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.  

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.

A large yellow house with black shutters and a tree in the foreground.
Courtesy of Monica Edwards/Morehead Manor

In Durham, small businesses have been the backbone of downtown revitalization. But since COVID-19 forced the closures of most non-essential businesses in mid-March, brick-and-mortar shop owners have struggled to stay afloat. 
 

Creative Commons / PxHere

Back in January, Joyce McKinney had things all worked out for her 10-year-old daughter, Amelia.

Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr
Kara Lynne Wiley / WUNC

Updated at 4:50 p.m.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI served a search warrant for his cellphone as part of an investigation into a well-timed sale of stocks tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jay Price / WUNC

As the year began, news was emerging from China about something called a coronavirus. At the same time, nearly 3,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team left Fort Bragg on a short-notice deployment.

WASHINGTON  — A Republican senator with access to some of the nation's top secrets became further entangled in a deepening FBI investigation as agents examining a well-timed sale of stocks during the coronavirus outbreak showed up at his home with a warrant to search his cellphone.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

A judge on Wednesday rejected requests of several offenders and civil rights groups exhorting him to tell North Carolina corrections leaders to reduce the prison population further to protect inmates from COVID-19.

Karl Fredrickson / Unsplash

A sheriff in North Carolina said his department won't enforce state guidelines limiting church attendance during the coronavirus pandemic.

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

State health officials say early results from antibody tests show a small percentage of North Carolinians have been exposed to the coronavirus.

N.C. Department of Corrections, Division of Prisons office on West Morgan Street in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Hundreds of North Carolina state prisoners with COVID-19 are now deemed to have recovered based on government health guidelines.

The state Department of Public Safety calculated that more than 500 of the over 640 offenders testing positive for the new coronavirus meet criteria to be released from medical isolation.

Drew Shindell, Duke University Professor of Earth Science
Duke University

Environmental experts at Duke University say the COVID-19 pandemic could have wide-ranging implications for the way the world produces and consumes energy.

Courtesy of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

The Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority has been mass testing asymptomatic residents and visitors to territories held by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In restricting EBCI borders and closing businesses, Principal Chief Richard Sneed preempted most counties and Gov. Roy Cooper.

Courtesy of UNC Libraries

Work-arounds are his specialty. In the Bull City, ID cards are available to undocumented residents, and a chunk of property tax revenues recycle back into affordable housing initiatives. But Steve Schewel’s use of establishment power to bend establishment norms took some practice. 

Hi Wire Brewing

Little Brother Brewing is a small, boutique brewery owned by the Collie and McCoy families. Located in downtown Greensboro since 2017, the brewery has a regular menu of about nine beers, including "Jim's Lunch" - a stout American brew - and "The Big Slow" - a smoke bacon porter.

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

Stating “pandemics cannot be partisan,” North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday defended his eased stay-at-home order as criticism mounted from elected Republican officials and demonstrators who gather weekly outside his home.

As people return to North Carolina's stores and parks during Phase 1 of the gradual reopening, there are growing concerns about the health and safety of workers at meat and poultry processing plants across the state.

Last month, President Donald Trump deemed meat processing plants essential infrastructure, and ordered them to stay open for the sake of the country's food supply chain. But working shoulder-to-shoulder on an assembly line poses serious risks for workers, as health experts have repeatedly urged people to keep at least 6 feet apart.

We talk with WUNC's Celeste Gracia and Laura Pellicer about the conditions at two specific plants in North Carolina, and how workers are coping with the decision to go to work despite possible risks to their health.


Flooding in a small town street
North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency

The Atlantic hurricane season begins in less than a month. Researchers predict an active season with as many as 22 named storms, a small portion of which may become major hurricanes. But it takes only one storm to cause major damage, and emergency managers are preparing for the worst.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

Hospitals in North Carolina are ready to start seeing more non-COVID-19 patients as state public health restrictions are slowly being eased.

Hospitals paused certain elective procedures and clinic visits back in mid-March. All part of the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to conserve limited supplies of personal protective equipment, like gowns and masks.

View of Western North Carolina from Clingmans Dome
Jim Renfro / National Parks Service

The reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a little too tempting of a draw Saturday as scores of nature lovers from dozens of states crowded trails and trekked into blocked-off areas, a spokeswoman said.

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