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.  

Nina Jones Mason, the manager of Ellis D. Jones & Sons Funeral Directors in Durham, NC, seats funeral attendees with six feet distance as a precautionary measure during COVID-19.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

North Carolina's stay-at-home order includes a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. In Durham, that restriction is no more than five people. Even though health experts say social distancing is critical in saving lives during this pandemic, it's been difficut for people not to gather at funerals.

"I feel like over the course of a weekend the whole world changed"

Name: Katie Button, of Asheville, 37-years-old. Married with two children.
Job Status: Self-employed; Owner of two restaurants and an event space
Current revenue: $0
Savings: "I don't have anything. I am looking for some smart ways to have some funds available to us. Our lender/banker recommend we look into a home equity line. I'm lucky to own my own home and I feel fortunate to even have that option."
Entrepreneur: Button is a three-time finalist for the James Beard Award. In partnership with her parents and husband she owns popular Asheville restaurants Curate Tapas Bar and Button & Co. Bagels.

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

The Outer Banks is opening up to at least some outsiders again after barring visitors for weeks.

Local officials are opening Dare County's part of the barrier islands to non-resident property owners in phases beginning May 4. This will let them prepare houses for the summer rental season.

Empty public space in downtown Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Wake County has lost an estimated $47.2 million as tourism has come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report from Visit Raleigh, more than 85 large scale events have been canceled or rescheduled. Hotel occupancy rates this month are down almost 70% from usual levels. As a result, the county has postponed planned projects including expansions at the Marble Kids Museum or Dorothea Dix Park.

Protesters rally in downtown Raleigh, calling on Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the state.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

County commissioners in several North Carolina counties are urging Governor Roy Cooper to give them the authority to ease stay-at-home orders. Various news outlets report local officials in Gaston, Lincoln and Wilkes counties have reached out to the governor's office.

FLICKR/CC, Ronnie Pittman

In North Carolina and across the nation, black communities are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates. But there has been little consensus about why that may be the case. 

Protesters rally in downtown Raleigh, calling on Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the state.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

A few hundred people gathered Tuesday in downtown Raleigh for a "ReOpen NC" rally. They were protesting Governor Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order, which was put in place to limit coronavirus infections in North Carolina.

Courtesy Dan Epstein

"It just seems like the whole system was set-up to fail us."

Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham

The weeks of stay-at-home orders have created space for some families to spend more time together than ever before. This could mean more bonding, family meals and joyful activities. But for others it makes for a dangerous situation.

Courtesy Bevin Strickland

Bevin Strickland is an ICU nurse, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a single mother of three. Two weeks ago, she started a temporary position at Mount Sinai hospital, in New York City, one of the nation’s coronavirus hot spots.

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

More North Carolinians have died from COVID-19 in a matter of weeks than of the flu during the entire flu season, which started in September.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen noted at a briefing Monday afternoon that North Carolina's first COVID-19 death occurred on March 24.

"So in less than a month, we've already surpassed flu deaths for this year," she said. "COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States.

The Nash Printing Plant produced posters for the prisons from the CDC.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

A large COVID-19  outbreak at an eastern North Carolina prison has led officials to shutter a nearby facility and transfer its offenders elsewhere so guards can help relieve staff at the beleaguered Neuse Correctional Institution.

Artist Shana Tucker looks out her apartment window.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

 

Red-tipped hair swept to the side, Shana Tucker bites her lower lip before looking back at the camera. 

“I learned today that someone that I grew up with is fighting for her life as a result of COVID-19,” she says through tears. “That's the first time that it sat me down and took my breath away.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updated. Watch live in English here starting at 2 p.m.

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Like much of North Carolina’s economy, the $25-billion-a-year tourist industry has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus. And on the Outer Banks, where the economy depends almost entirely on visitors, the timing could scarcely be worse.

Alli Shofe
Courtesy of Alli Shofe

"You spend the majority of your life with the people you work with, and we haven’t seen each other in weeks."

Name: Alli Shofe
Age: 40
Hometown: Wilmington
Marital Status: single
Job Status: furloughed dental hygienist
Current savings: $4,000
Healthcare: employer is paying for it, for the time being

A pedestrian uses a face cover while walking in downtown Durham, N.C., Friday, April 17, 2020. Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-home orders remain in effect as the coronavirus has not yet reached its peak in the state according to some hospitals.
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 13.

12:17 p.m. - There are 8,830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. 299 people have died, 451 people are in the hospital with the illness, and 107,894 tests have been completed. - Elizabeth Baier, WUNC  

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

Governor Roy Cooper is responding to the new guidelines for reopening the country announced by President Trump. 

In a state briefing Friday afternoon, Cooper said he was glad to see that the president's criteria largely mirror what North Carolina is doing. And the governor said decisions about easing restrictions will depend on testing.

WATCH: Gov. Cooper Holds Coronavirus Briefing

Apr 17, 2020

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

Watch live in English here starting at 2 p.m.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to approximately 150 inmates, health officials said Friday.

Ethan Hyman / ehyman@newsobserver.com

Across the nation, governors are facing grassroots pressure to lift their stay-at-home orders. More than 100 protesters gathered in Raleigh Tuesday to demand that the state reopen for business.

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

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging North Carolinians to utilize telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Agency Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said keeping chronic conditions under control could be especially important to prevent serious complications from COVID-19. And she urged residents who don't have insurance coverage to pursue it through Healthcare.gov.

Courtesy of Ty Meyer

For students and educators around the state, this year’s learning is in a state of flux. Public schools are holding out hope that they will reopen their doors before the school year ends. 

Collin Parker

Has anyone checked on the huggers? As weeks of social distancing wear on, many are missing the comforts of a warm embrace — especially those who live alone. Touch has always been an essential emotional and physiological need. In its absence, more people are seeking out creative solutions. From self-massage and weighted blankets to pet fostering and adoption, those sheltering in place are finding new ways to connect with their bodies and their inner selves.

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

The state is considering how and when residents and businesses will be able to return to life as normal, even if normal will be forever changed. 

While officials in the Cooper administration point out the coronavirus will be a threat until there's a vaccine, they acknowledge current social distancing policies can't go on forever.

Dairy farmers are struggling due to lower milk consumption because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dairy Alliance

Dairy farms in North Carolina are dumping excess milk because of a lack of demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

About half of dairy sales come from food services, including schools, restaurants and hotels, according to Stephanie Ward of North Carolina State University Extension. Those sales are essentially gone because of stay-at-home orders. Ward says milk sales at grocery stores have gone up approximately 20%-25% in the Southeast region of the U.S., but not enough to offset the losses.

A rendering of the ExpressVote machine manufactured by Election Systems and Software.
Election Systems and Software

The threat of hand-to-hand contamination from the new coronavirus while voting entered arguments in a lawsuit seeking to stop the use of touch-screen ballot-marking machines in North Carolina.

In a statewide special, public radio stations from across North Carolina join together to examine the impact of Coronavirus on our health, schools and economy.

A " mall closed" sign is shown at an entrance of City Creek Center Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer / AP

The $2 trillion coronavirus aid package approved by the federal government is far from enough to help struggling families, according to Duke University professors.

Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh has seen far less traffic than normal as retail businesses, including bars and restaurants, are closed to dine-in traffic.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Business optimism fell to a low point not seen since the Great Recession. But tucked in the latest survey of chief financial officers are breadcrumbs of hope for reviving the economy after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

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