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.  

Black people account for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases across North Carolina. The question is why.  

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

Courtesy of Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Whether passing the peace, the communion chalice or the collection plate, touch is central to many church congregations. But while church members are sheltering at home, pastors and faith leaders have had to find new ways to provide their parishioners with a sense of togetherness.

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.

As Americans flock to gun stores in the face of coronavirus fears, many gun dealers report an influx of new customers, taking home a deadly weapon for the first time. In response, long-time gun owners from across the country are stepping up to help these newcomers get some safety training in the age of social distancing.

Quantifying the number of first-time buyers is impossible, but anecdotally, gun store owners say there are many.

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.


Apr 6, 2020

Hospital administrators across North Carolina are planning for every scenario they might face during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to UNC Health officials, one of those contingency plans is what to do if half of their providers get sick with COVID-19.

A large-scale survey released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General is clear: The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that might keep that from happening is frightening.

We talk with Rose Hoban, the editor of North Carolina Health News, about the type of work health care providers administer in the pandemic, and how that puts them – and their families – at a unique level of risk.

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

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.

3:45 p.m. - Orange County is reporting its first resident death from complications associated with COVID-19. The patient was under Hospice Care at PruittHealth – Carolina Point, one of two nursing home facilities in Orange County where there are outbreaks of COVID-19. Carolina Point has at least 66 residents with confirmed cases of the illness.  Two other residents of Carolina Point have died.  - Celeste Gracia, 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.


Apr 3, 2020

North Carolina's largest city is also the first serious outbreak of COVID-19 in the state. Hospitalizations there are increasing rapidly, and officials are preparing to be overrun.

On Friday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper made it clear that North Carolina, like every other state, is pretty much on its own, as the federal government has only fulfilled 33 percent of the requests for supplies and equipment, and told state officials not to expect anything more.

We take a look at what's happening in Charlotte and what it means for the rest of the state with Rose Hoban, the editor and founder of North Carolina Health News.

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.


Apr 2, 2020

We all have a role to play in this pandemic. For the majority of us, it's to stay home, stay away from others, and do our best to manage our lives through the next few weeks of social distancing.

For some, unanswered questions are a cause of stress, but for others, the stress is more acute and focused - people who have loved ones who are sick, or those fighting the disease on the front lines, in hospitals across North Carolina.

We talk today with Shevaun Neupert. She's a professor of psychology at N.C. State University and researches stress. Neupert explains the difference between regular, everyday stress, and the chronic variety we are feeling now.

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.

Molly Milroy / Chai Pani Restaurant Group

Home cooking is taking a creative turn as folks take fewer trips to the grocery store. Listeners chimed in with their favorite quarantine recipes, including cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez reminding us of the infinite versatility of canned tomatoes. 

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?

canned food at food bank
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.