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.  

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.

Jones Price-O'Neil, looks through the window of his home in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, April 24, 2020. Jones and his older sister Prestyn, like many children, are staying home and being home-schooled by their parents, TJ and Justine.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

These last few weeks have tested many North Carolinians, as work and school, parenting and extra-curricular activities have moved from in-person settings to virtual spaces. For many, it's been an opportunity to explore a new, albeit temporary, way of living.

Governor Roy Cooper is eyeing next weekend for a move into the first phase of re-opening the North Carolina economy, even as the key metrics and trends on COVID-19 in the state offer mixed messages.

We talk with Rose Hoban, the editor of North Carolina Health News, about the trends and numbers, the crisis in meat-processing plants, and what kind of help hospitals can expect from the General Assembly.


State officials and members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 2 p.m. Friday. Watch live here:

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The nation’s meat supply was declared ‘critical infrastructure’ by the White House Tuesday. The order detailed that ‘the closure of a single large beef processing facility can result in the loss of over 10 million individual servings of beef in a single day.’ 

David Boraks / WFAE

People in Gaston County are debating the need for a continued statewide stay-at-home order as some county leaders say they'll support any businesses that want to reopen. Gov. Roy Cooper says reopening too early could cost lives. 

In the NC House, Donnny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) reads from notes, as Speaker Tim Moore stands behind. At left (masked) is Principal House clerk James White.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are still working on a compromise COVID-19 relief package.

On Thursday, House lawmakers approved a $1.7 billion dollar package. GOP Representative Perrin Jones praised the bipartisan effort, and noted that the profound impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have not been equally felt.

NASCAR announced Thursday that it will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with the premier Cup Series racing three more times in a 10-day span.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
N.C. Department of Agriculture / Twitter

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said he fully supports President Trump's decision to declare meat processing facilities essential and mandate them to stay operational.

Holden Thorp
Washington University in St Louis

Recent polls have shown that a strong majority of Americans trust the most prominent scientists during this pandemic, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.

Their ability to communicate complicated scientific topics has helped them gain the public trust, for the most part. But that doesn't mean there's not a lot of misinformation put out every day; some of it extremely harmful.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina coronavirus response team will hold a public briefing at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Watch Live here:

Talking Science

Apr 30, 2020

There's perhaps never been a time where effective and accurate science communication has been more crucial. It's become, quite frankly, life and death for tens of thousands of people.

We talk with Holden Thorp, the editor-in-chief of Science, one of the leading scientific journals in the world.

Before taking that role, he was a chemist, the provost at Washington University in St Louis, and the chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill.


A banana with a condom on it.
Pixabay

Can you do condom demonstration over Zoom? What about teaching comprehensive sexual education? In the midst of a pandemic, the answer is unclear. On this segment of Embodied, host Anita Rao talks with Elizabeth Finley about gaps in sex ed brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wall crouched on the street wearing a mask surrounded by protestors.
The News & Observer Staff

As death tolls rise, new testing information surfaces and doctors race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, breaking news is not in short supply. 
 

Courtesy of Justin Catanoso

When in-person classes were cancelled for the semester at Wake Forest University, Professor Justin Catanoso knew he would have to break some of his own rules. 

Protestor holds a sign that reads 'end the tyranny.'
Kate Medley / For WUNC

State lawmakers are working out details − and their differences − on legislation to distribute more than $1 billion dollars in coronavirus relief funds.

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