The Latest: North Carolina Schools To Remain Closed For Rest Of School Year, Remote Learning To Continue, New Budget Proposal Announced
North Carolina Schools To Remain Closed For Rest Of School Year, Remote Learning To Continue, New Budget Proposal Announced
Governor Roy Cooper announced on Friday that public schools will remain closed for the duration of the school year, with remote learning continuing, along with a $1.4 billion budget proposal to help the state with coronavirus relief.
The decision to keep schools closed was largely expected. Cooper originally closed K-12 schools in all 115 districts in mid-March for two weeks, then extended his executive order through May 15.
“Today, we’ve had to make another tough choice,” Gov. Cooper said. “Together with Superintendent Johnson and Chairman Davis, we have decided to continue remote learning for the rest of this school year for our K-12 public schools. School classrooms may be closed, but the learning is not over.”
While the schools remain closed the governor has also announced a partnership with AT&T which will provide 100 hotspots for use in school buses to help students without home internet access. The state also has a partnership with Duke Energy Foundation which will provide 80 school bus hotspots.
Gov. Cooper also praised public school workers and teachers for their continued work to educate and help service students during the pandemic.
“Those of you who know me know that teachers have always been my heroes, starting with my mom. Most of them already go the extra mile for their students and now, they’re running a marathon,” Gov. Cooper said.
When reopening the school buildings for the next school term there will be new measures in place to protect the health of all individuals. The opening of schools in the summer and fall, along with the availability of summer camps, are dependent on meeting health guidelines.
In addition, Gov. Cooper released a proposed budget for the state that directs $1.4 billion in federal funds to help the state from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The budge package is intended to fund immediate needs in three main areas: public health and safety, continuity of operations for education and other state government services and assistance to small businesses and local governments.
Key investments from the proposal include:
- $75 million for rural and underserved communities and health care providers that are particularly hard hit by COVID-19.
- $75 million to support testing, tracing and trends analysis as well as have the Personal Protective Equipment needed to help North Carolina move into Phase 1 of easing restrictions.
- $78 million for school nutrition to continue to serve as many as 500,000 meals a day to children who depend on these meals to meet basic nutrition needs typically met in school.
- $243 million for public schools to enhance remote learning and get ready for the next school year in a “new normal.” Funds are a joint request from DPI and the State Board of Education.
- $52 million to the UNC system and private colleges to help with remote learning and COVID-19 impacts.
- $300 million to assist local governments, distributed based partially on population and partially on acute need.
“We know that people are hurting, businesses are struggling, and local governments are facing severe shortages. That’s why we have to act now to get resources in the hands of people and organizations that provide vital support,” Cooper said.
NCDHHS Has Been Awarded $2 Million Grant To Support State’s Behavioral Health Response To COVID-19
NCDHHS has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the state’s behavioral health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about it HERE.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS), local health departments, plant managers and corporate owners, community health centers and local hospitals are working together to keep workers safe and to help ensure the world’s food supply remains stable. More information about their efforts can be found HERE.
NCDHHS has received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to temporarily waive certain Medicaid policies as part of North Carolina’s response to the COVID-19.
DHHS received temporary modifications to home- and community-based services provided through Medicaid waivers, including the Innovations, Community Alternatives for Disabled Adults, Community Alternatives for Children and Traumatic Brain Injury waivers.
These requests include removing certain dollar and stay limits, expanding the type of location where services can be delivered and easing requirements for reviews of personalized care plans and in-person meetings. Flexibilities are effective March 13, 2020, to March 12, 2021, the end of the public health emergency, or when the State determines the flexibilities are no longer necessary, whichever is first. Temporary modifications to waiver services and requirements will be made on an individual basis.
South Carolina Public Schools Will Remain Closed Through Spring Semester
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has officially taken its public schools virtual for the remainder of the school year, extending a distance-learning environment implemented more than a month ago as the new coronavirus outbreak emerged in the state.
As had been anticipated, Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday that all public K-12 schools will remain closed through the rest of the spring semester. The governor has already called for colleges and universities in the state to stay virtual for the rest of this term, and several have announced plans for delayed or virtual commencement exercises for graduating students.
In mid-March, McMaster initially shuttered public schools for the remainder of that month, setting into motion an e-learning program new to most students and teachers across the state. Food centers and delivery options were set up for students reliant on food provided in schools, as well as any others in need, and hundreds of the state’s school buses were equipped with Wi-Fi to serve as hotspots for students without internet access at home.
Last month, state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman also noted that she had requested a waiver from federally required student assessments administered to the state’s students each spring.
McMaster’s closure decision applies to South Carolina’s public schools. Some private educational institutions across the state have already indicated they will follow suit.
The order comes as the governor is beginning to loosen other restrictions, allowing businesses previously deemed non-essential — department stores, flea markets, florists, bookstores and music shops — to reopen their doors. The governor’s official stay-at-home order remains in place, although that mandate already allowed the patronage of essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores and medical facilities, as well as thousands of others that received waivers from state officials.
The governor has also lifted a mandatory closure order for the state’s beaches, provided that visitors practice social distancing, although some coastal towns have said they’ll stay shut down for now.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Signs Executive Order That Allows Furloughed Employees The Ability To File For Unemployment
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that he signed an Executive Order that will give furloughed employees the ability to file for unemployment.
Currently, the state has issued $580M to unemployment claims in North Carolina, according to Cooper.
Read the full Executive Order HERE.
Gov. Cooper says an announcement will be made later this week in reference to reopening schools and businesses.
Mecklenburg County Has Confirmed Over 1,200 Cases Of Covid-19, 31 Deaths
As of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 20th, there were 1,231 county residents diagnosed with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with 31 related deaths, according to Mecklenburg County Public Health officials.
Public Health officials say many individuals infected by COVID-19 have not been tested because they are asymptomatic or do not meet current CDC recommendations for testing. So, these results are continually changing and may not represent the total number of COVID-19 cases in our community.
Additional information includes:
- About 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old. Three reported cases were among children less than a year old.
- More than half of reported cases have been determined to meet CDC criteria to be released from isolation.
- Twenty-nine deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases. All deaths occurred among adults with underlying chronic illnesses. Almost all were among older adults (≥ 60 years) and hospitalized. Nearly 3 in 5 were male, and half were non-Hispanic Black.
- Individuals who have chronic illnesses like heart disease, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and hypertension are more likely to experience severe complications and death due to COVID-19. Persisting disparities in rates of these chronic illnesses and adequate access to health resources among non-Hispanic Blacks are driving inequities in illness and death related to COVID-19 in our community and many communities nationwide
For more information of Covid-19 in Mecklenburg County, click HERE.
COVID-19 Related Deaths In North Carolina Has Already Surpassed Flu Deaths For The Year
In North Carolina the amount of COVID-19 related deaths have reached 179 as of Monday morning, in less than a month, and has already surpassed flu deaths for this year, according to NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.
“As of this morning there were 6,764 cases in 93 counties. 373 people who are currently hospitalized. And sadly, there have been 179 deaths,” Cohen said.
The novel strand of coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in the United States, Cohen stated.
Just before the 2 p.m. briefing today, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina is one of four states to be approved for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program.
This program will help families purchase food for more than 800,000 children who normally receive free and reduced lunch at school.
“So many families are in need, especially with so many out of work right now. This approval helps people get assistance faster to feed their families,” Governor Cooper said in a news release.
Families will receive $250 per child, provided in two installments, paid for with federal funds. Families will not need to apply those who are eligible and already receiving food and nutrition benefits.
Families who are eligible for this benefit but not enrolled in Food and Nutrition Services will be mailed a new EBT card in the next few weeks with instructions on how to use and activate the card.
NC Governor Roy Cooper Announces More Supplies And Widespread Testing Needed Before Reopening State
Governor Roy Cooper announced strides to reopen the state following President Trump’s Thursday announcement of a 3-phase plan to reopen the economy. Gov. Cooper stated that the President’s guidelines align with what the state has been doing but more supplies are needed before reopening can happen.
“Easing restrictions in our state without masks, gowns and gloves is like setting off on a 3-day camping trip without enough food for one night,” Gov. Cooper said. “We need all of these supplies to collect more test samples and to ensure hospitals and first responders have what they need.
So far North Carolina has conducted at least 73,000 tests and testing is up in the state by 88 percent over the last two weeks but more widespread testing is needed before opening the state will be considered.
“We need testing to be more widespread and we need to use it to give us a better indication of where we are in this fight,” Gov. Cooper said. “Today we announce a partnership with three of our state’s medical universities to use testing and tracing to help us determine how far the disease has spread in the state.”
The three universities announced in the initiative are University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Duke University. This will be a part of the state’s coordinated effort to better understand the true number of COVID-19 infections.
There is no perfect time for reopening but there is health guidance, business guidance common sense, the governor stated. Along with testing, tracing and trends the governor believes the state will make the right decision on when to get people back to work.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Officials Don’t Expect Coronavirus ‘Peak’ Until June
Mecklenburg County public health officials say they don’t expect a ‘peak’ in coronavirus cases in the county until June.
County Manager Dena Diorio and Public Health Director Gibbie Harris held a news conference to provide updates on the coronavirus on April 14th.
Harris told Mecklenburg County’s Board Of County Commissioners that models are showing the peak of the pandemic coming closer to June if resident’s continue to follow social distancing protocols.
Officials are working to figure out when and how to start reopening businesses. However, there is concern that lifting the Stay At Home order at the end of April would cause the amount of confirmed coronavirus cases to spike in Mecklenburg County, according to Harris.
Watch the full news conference below.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Says 561,000 People Have Filed For Unemployment Amid Coronavirus Crisis
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and public health officials held a news conference to provide updates to the state’s response to the coronavirus.
As of April 13th, Gov. Cooper said 561,000 people have filed for unemployment insurance in the state. A total of $66M in unemployment benefits have been sent to North Carolinians.
Click HERE to file for unemployment in North Carolina.
The Director Of North Carolina Emergency Management Michael Sprayberry says the state is doing well getting surgical masks and gloves to hospitals, first responders, etc. but they only have a short supply of other personal protective equipment.
Sprayberry said many food banks across the state are in need of food and that many of the people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus are relying on food banks to have access to food. Learn more about applying for food or health assistance HERE.
North Carolina Officials Say Approximately 500 Inmates Could Be Released From Prison To Reduce Population Due To Coronavirus
During the April 13th coronavirus news conference with North Carolina officials, Secretary Erik Hooks said in an effort to keep staff and inmates safe, the Department Of Public Safety (DPS) has taken numerous steps over the last several weeks to help reduce the opportunity for the coronavirus to spread in prisons.
One of the new efforts is to reduce the prison population slightly, according to Hooks.
DPS is utilizing three primary considerations in determining which inmates are eligible to serve their sentence outside of prison, according to Hooks.
- DPS is not currently considering individuals incarcerated for a crime against a person
- The individuals currently under consideration are near their release date (priority is given to those with release dates in 2020)
- Initial focus is on older population and those with underlying health conditions
Hooks said this is difficult because a majority of inmates over 65-years-old are incarcerated for serious crimes against a person.
Some inmates have already started serving their sentences outside of prison. Hooks said a dozen pregnant woman have already been released from jail.
Hooks said they will also look at reducing the population in their juvenile detention centers.
Since March 1st, Hooks says 16 juvenile offenders were released from youth development centers back to their home or to a community-based step-down program.
Hooks also said they will increase the use of electronic monitoring devices.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Signs New Executive Order Requiring New Social Distancing Policies
Governor Roy Cooper has signed a new executive order on Thursday as the confirm cases of coronavirus in the state reach 3,651 to help continue to reduce the spread while consumers are in stores.
The governor stated that the order will implement three important things. First, it will require new social distancing policies at all open stores. This includes the following:
- Stores may not have a number of people inside at one time that is more than 20% of the stated fire capacity or either five people for every 1,000 square feet.
- Stores must also mark 6 feet of distance at places where people need to gather, like checkout lines, and they must perform frequent environmental cleaning and routine disinfection.
- The order also encourages stores to make hand sanitizer accessible, set shopping times for seniors and at-risk people, use shields at check out and mark aisles as one-way to limit traffic.
“This should make shopping safer for everyone and help prevent stores from becoming flashpoints for virus transmission,” Gov. Cooper said.
The second part of the order requires nursing homes to screen employees and residents for symptoms of sickness while the third part requires additional measures to get more unemployment claims processed faster.
The order will for employers to file a batch of claims on behalf of their employees which is known as an attached claim.
The order will go into effect on Monday at 5 p.m.
North Carolina Officials Identify Coronavirus Hotspot At Skilled Nursing Facility In Orange County
Governor Roy Cooper says a hotspot of transmission has been revealed at a skilled nursing facility in Orange County. A series of tests confirmed 60 positive cases with seven hospitalizations and two deaths. Governor Coopers says that facilities with residents living with the virus will house those residents separately to make sure they are cared for by separate staff members to limit transmission of the virus.
North Carolina Health Secretary Mandy Cohen says there are 21 outbreaks of COVID-19. An outbreak means two or more people have tested positive in a congregate setting. Of the 21 outbreaks, 18 are in long-term care facilities.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Officials Say African Americans Make Up 48% Of Positive Coronavirus Cases In The County
Mecklenburg County Manager Dena R. Diorio, Public Health Director Gibbie Harris, Pastor Jordan Boyd Of Rockwell AME Zion Church, and other local leaders held a news conference to provide updates on the coronavirus.
During the news conference, officials said African Americans made up 48% of the positive coronavirus cases in the county. They went on to say that they were going to start running ads on radio stations that target the African American community to help get information out about testing and care.
Watch the full news conference here:
North Carolina Only Has 805 ICU Beds Available Statewide
North Carolina is reporting 3,426 positive cases of coronavirus across the state. This is 205 more cases than previously reported on Tuesday, April 7th within 90 counties.
According to health officials, there have been 42,987 completed tests in North Carolina. This number reflects the testing that is completed by the NC State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs.
There have been 53 resident deaths caused by the virus in North Carolina.
There are currently 386 COVID-19 hospitalization cases across the state.
For more information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, including the amount of hospital beds and ventilators in our hospitals, click HERE.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Member of the Coronavirus Task Force Provide COVID-19 Updates
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper addressed citizens with an update on COVID-19 Friday after the positive case count in the state rose above 2,000.
“Even as we acknowledge passing 2,000 cases, we are entering the first weekend of my order to Stay at Home. I need you to do that,” Gov. Gooper said.
The governor addressed the importance of staying at home as no one is immune to COVID-19 nor is there a vaccine.
“Even though we don’t yet have medicines to stop the virus, we do have something that can. People. Stopping the spread is in our control,” Gov. Cooper said.
When it comes to fighting the virus, or ‘battle’ as Gov. Cooper called it, there are medical supplies and personal protective equipment needed.
And the lack of equipment has been described as bad by the governor.
“North Carolina has received three shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile,” Gov. Cooper said. “We are grateful for these supplied, but to be clear we’ve gotten just 33% of what we’ve asked for.”
“This pandemic is a war, and we need the armor to fight it,” Gov. Cooper said.
The governor expressed that many North Carolina manufacturers have been encouraged to shift production lines to create masks, gloves and gowns along with other materials that are needed.
According to NC Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, as of April 2nd, it is the 25th day of the State Emergency Operations Center activation in response to COVID-19. During this time 62 counties have activated local emergency operations centers along with 99 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have declared states of emergency.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gets Emotional During Presentation, Says The County Will Need State And Federal Help
Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris apologized for crying during a COVID-19 presentation she was giving on April 2nd in Raleigh. She said Mecklenburg County now has 493 cases and three deaths (as of 9am on April 2nd).
“We have accelerated quickly,” said Harris as Mecklenburg county has had over 190 cases in the last three days, according to her report.
Harris also said more than 80 of the cases are people aged 20-59 and that people who are 60-years-old and older are having more complications from the coronavirus. Roughly 25% of the people were hospitalized, many improved, and got discharged but then had to go back to the hospital, according to Harris’ report.
A lot of these cases are from community spread, according to Harris. She said too many people were at county parks over the weekend and not following social distancing guidelines. Since the weekend, the county has closed all sports related courts at public parks in hopes that it will help reduce the amount of community spread cases in the county.
Gibbie started crying when she talked about doing modeling for the coronavirus. She said, “the numbers I’m seeing now is what’s keeping me up at night.” She went on to say that Mecklenburg County will need help from the state and federal government to fight the coronavirus.
Mecklenburg County has opened hotels to help people who do not have homes to isolate. Right now, Harris said 68 people are staying in hotels and that all of those individuals but one are homeless. She went on to say that Mecklenburg County does have COVID-19 in their homeless population.
Harris believes Mecklenburg County has a decent amount of capacity at area hospitals for local residents but worries about people from other counties and states coming to Mecklenburg County for care.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The White House Projects 100,000 to 240,000 Deaths In U.S. From Coronavirus
The White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United States from the coronavirus pandemic even if social distancing is maintained. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Signs Executive Order To Prohibit Utility Disconnections In Wake Of Coronavirus
RALEIGH, N.C. (News Release) — Governor Roy Cooper today announced another step to help families by prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. Today’s Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days.
The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.
Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules.
“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Governor Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we Stay at Home.”
Additionally, the Order encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged in the Order to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s Order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.
Governor Cooper was joined by Attorney General Josh Stein to announce the order and he thanked companies that have already voluntarily announced policies to prevent shutoffs, including Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, AT&T, and local electric co-ops, among many others. Today’s Order follows the Governor’s Stay At Home order, which is in effect until April 29.
The Council of State concurred with the Order today.
Read the full Order here.
Read an FAQ about the Order here.
The NC Department of Revenue also announced expanded tax relief measures today, waiving penalties for late filing or payments of multiple state tax categories. Learn more about this tax relief here.
Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.
President Donald Trump Says More Than 1M Americans Tested For Coronavirus
President Donald Trump said the peak for the coronavirus in the United States won’t be for another two weeks. He also said more than one million Americans have been tested for the virus.
Only 23% Of ICU Beds Available At North Carolina Hospitals
North Carolina officials say there are currently 1,307 positive cases of coronavirus and 6 deaths in the state, as of 2pm on March 30th. Confirmed cases have been reported in 74 counties in North Carolina. The median age for the confirmed cases is 46-years-old. Right now, there are 137 people hospitalized from the coronavirus in the state. In North Carolina, more than 20,000 tests have been completed and there are still 8,000 tests pending.
The state has 15,000 inpatient beds at public hospitals. Out of those 15,000 beds, there are 6,200 available, meaning 40% of the hospital beds are available. There are 3,220 ICU beds at public hospitals in the state. Out of those 3,220 ICU beds, there are 745 available, meaning 23% of the ICU beds are available.
North Carolina Director Of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry said they are working to register and screen disaster medical volunteers that includes retired doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. Right now, more than 1,600 people have already registered to be medical volunteers, and are currently being vetted prior to getting an assignment. To register, go to terms.ncem.org.
**All these stats came from health officials from the March 30, 2020 news conference on the coronavirus that was held in Raleigh, North Carolina.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Issues Statewide ‘Stay At Home’ Order
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issues a ‘Stay At Home’ order for the entire state. It will go into effect at 5pm on Monday, March 30th.
Cooper said if a city or county already has a ‘Stay At Home’ order in place, whichever order has the most restrictive rules applies.
Violation of this order is a Class II Misdemeanor. Local law enforcement will enforce the ‘Stay At Home’ order.
This is a developing story. More details to come.
Mecklenburg County Now Has 333 Confirmed Cases Of Coronavirus
Mecklenburg County now has 333 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Monday morning, according to health officials. These additional cases brings the states’ numbers to over 1,180. Health officials say approximately half of the cases were contracted by community spread.
U.S. Leads World In Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
NEW YORK (AP) — The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
According to a running count by Johns Hopkins University, the number of people infected in the U.S. topped 82,000 on Thursday. That’s just ahead of the 81,000 cases in China and 80,000 in Italy.
Italy has the most confirmed deaths of any country with more than 8,000. More than 1,000 people have died in the U.S.
North Carolina Hospitals Only Have 18% Of Their ICU Beds Available
North Carolina hospitals only have 18% of their critical care (ICU) beds available, according to State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson.
North Carolina has approximately 3,000 ICU beds in the state and only 566 of those beds are empty, according to Tilson.
Currently, North Carolina has 636 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 57 counties. The average age for people who tested positive for COVID-19, in the state, is 41-years-old. Fifty people are currently hospitalized due to the coronavirus. Two North Carolina residents have died from the coronavirus.
With approximately 75% of our public hospitals reporting, Tilson said there are roughly 10,000 impatient beds. Right now, 5,000 of those beds are empty.
Tilson went on the say that it is very important to stay at home and follow the social distancing guidelines. The confirmed cases continue to rise and the information released today shows that our hospitals are limited in bed availability.
Cabarrus County Officials Issue Stay At Home Proclamation
Officials in Cabarrus County just announced a Stay At Home proclamation for residents. This comes after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that two people had died from the coronavirus in Cabarrus County. One person was a resident of Cabarrus County and the other person was traveling to Virginia but stopped in Cabarrus County for treatment.
The Stay At Home proclamation will begin on Thursday, March 26th at 5pm. As of 4pm on March 25th, there are 18 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Cabarrus County. They had 12 confirmed cases on March 24th. See FAQs and get full details on the proclamation HERE.
Mecklenburg County Officials Issue ‘Stay At Home’ Order
Mecklenburg County officials have issued a “stay at home” order that will begin on Thursday, March 26th at 8am and last until midnight on Thursday, April 16th.
The order was announced Tuesday afternoon by Mecklenburg County Public Health Director, Gibbie Harris during the Board of County Commissioners Budget and Public Policy meeting.
Anyone with questions can call the Stay at Home Order Call Center at 704-353-1926.
This order requires county residents to remain in their homes for the next 21 days as part of an attempt to reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections.
If you violate the restrictions you could be convicted of a class II misdemeanor, according to the City Attorney. The order will be enforced by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
- Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
- Visiting a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first)
- Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
- Care for or support a friend or family member
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise – just keep at least six feet between you and others
- Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
- Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
YOU SHOULD NOT
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites
- Travel except for essential travel and activities
What is the difference between “Stay at Home” and “social distancing”?
Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing.
Stay at home means:
- Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
- Only go out for essential services
- Stay 6 feet or more away from others
- Don’t gather in groups
Essential workers, including hospital and medical staff, pharmacy employees, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS Agency (MEDIC), some government employees and food service and grocery store employees will be allowed to travel to work.
Residents will be able to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s appointments that can’t be done via Telehealth, get take out orders from restaurants, go outside, play golf, hike, walk pets, go to the vet and receive deliveries, according to the City Attorney.
People can not go to work unless it is for a job that has been deemed essential. We are waiting to get the exact definition of this. For now, we know this includes: grocery stores, charitable organizations, the media, gas stations, banks, hardware supply stores, post office/mail, laundry mats, restaurants (for take out only), supply stores for people to purchase work from home materials, child care facilities for first responders and healthcare providers, hotels, motels and funeral homes.
Mecklenburg County Now Has 259 Positive Cases Of Coronavirus
Mecklenburg County now has 259 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, March 27th, according to health officials. These additional cases brings the states’ numbers to over 763.
North Carolina Reports 935 Positive Cases Of Coronavirus
North Carolina is reporting 935 positive cases of coronavirus across the state.
There has been four deaths caused by the virus in North Carolina.
For more information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, click HERE.
March 28th: South Carolina Announces 15 Total Deaths From Coronavirus
As of March 28th, South Carolina currently has 660 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
The state of South Carolina has reported 15 deaths from the coronavirus.
An infant has tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina but officials aren’t saying what county the child resides.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order on March 23rd that allows law enforcement the authorization to disperse any gatherings of people in groups of three or more.
North Carolina Public Schools To Remain Closed Through May 15; All Gyms, Barbershops, Movie Theaters Ordered To Close On March 25th
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that all K-12 public schools will remain closed through May 15th.
He also announced that all gyms, movie theaters, health clubs, hair & nail salons, barbershops & massage therapists must close their businesses beginning at 5pm on Wednesday, March 25th due to the coronavirus.
Cooper stressed for people to continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. He also stressed for anyone in the high risk category (65-years-old or older and people with underlying health issues) should stay home as much as possible.
North Carolina Officials Confirm First Case Of Coronavirus Due To ‘Community Spread’
Gov. Roy Cooper and health officials just announced that the first ‘community spread’ case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Wilson County.
This means the person had not traveled or been around anyone who was showing signs or symptoms of the coronavirus.
Officials are asking the public to follow the social distancing guidelines to help decrease the chances of more community spread cases. Some of those guidelines including staying at home, working from home, and only going out in public for food or medication.
You can read more about social distancing and ways you can protect yourself from the coronavirus HERE.
President Trump: Canada And U.S. Will Close Shared Border For ‘Non-Essential’ Traffic
President Donald Trump just tweeted that the border between the United States and Canada will be closed to ‘non-essential’ traffic. Trump said trade will not be affected. There will be a news conference from the White House at 11:30am.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster Orders All Restaurants And Bars To Suspend Dine-In Services Beginning March 18th
Governor Henry McMaster just announced that all restaurants and bars in South Carolina must suspend their dine-in services beginning Wednesday, March 18th.
Forty-seven confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in South Carolina as of 4pm on March 17th. One person, who officials say was an elderly person who lived at a nursing home and had underlying health issues, died from the coronavirus in Lexington County, according to health officials.
McMaster also extended the state tax deadline to June 1, 2020. This includes filing and paying your taxes.
McMaster said nurses and students in medical school will be able to help at hospitals, if needed. The National Guard is also working with hospitals to make sure they have a plan in case their assistance is needed.
McMaster said he is requesting insurance companies to cover 100% of patient’s medical expenses associated with receiving COVID-19 treatment.
He is also requesting all doctor’s offices to use Telehealth for appointments instead of having patients come into their offices.
McMaster said he is requesting retail and grocery stores to limit customer purchases. This way everyone will have access to things like toilet paper and medicine. He is also requesting retail and grocery stores to allow “senior hours” so older people can shop without having to be around a lot of people.
McMaster is requesting that all elective and non-life threatening surgeries be postponed so those supplies can be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Finally, McMaster is requesting that all businesses allow employees to work remotely, if possible. Watch the video above to see the full news conference.
Below is a map showing the counties in North Carolina that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Gov. Cooper Closes All Public Schools Due To Coronavirus
NCDHHS reports 32 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina with 4 in Mecklenburg County.
Gov. Roy Cooper just announced that all public schools in North Carolina will be closed for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus.
Cooper said that he is issuing an Executive Order to stop mass gatherings of more than 100 people across North Carolina.
The Executive Order directs K-12 public schools across the state to close for students on Monday, March 16th for at least two weeks. Several school districts already decided to close schools for at least a week but this Executive Order makes it mandatory for all schools to close.
The Executive Order does not apply to restaurants, shopping malls or other retails stores, according to Cooper.
Cooper said closing schools will give officials time for further understanding of the coronavirus and its effect on the residents of North Carolina.
Cooper said he knows this Executive Order will hurt people whose incomes are affected by the prohibition of mass gatherings, particularly the people who are paid by the hour. Officials are working on efforts to deal with these challenges, from changes to unemployment insurance to special funding from the state and federal government to help get the citizens of North Carolina through this, according to Cooper.
An Education and Nutrition Working Group is coming up with ways to address child care, meal service and other equity issues, according to Cooper.
At least one school district is using school buses to deliver daily meals to children on bus routes, according to Cooper.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
President Donald Trump declares a national emergency
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as Washington struggles with providing Americans with relief and officials race to slow the spread of the outbreak.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said it would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “’right up to the top.”
Trump said he was giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.
“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available. Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the slow roll-out of testing.
The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.
Still, Trump said that officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “We don’t want people without symptoms to go and do that test,” Trump said, adding, “It’s totally unnecessary.”
Trump said the White House and Congress have yet to agree on a broader aid package, claiming that he doesn’t believe House Democrats are “giving enough.” Lawmakers are preparing to vote on their own measure Friday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the House would approve its coronavirus aid package, imploring the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to “put families first” by backing the effort to provide Americans with relief.
The House Democratic leader spoke from the speaker’s balcony at the Capitol ahead of Trump’s news conference at the White House, as the power centers of Washington were shuttered to visitors.
“Our nation, our great nation has faced crisis before,” Pelosi said. “And every time, thanks to the courage and optimism of the American people, we have prevailed. Now, working together, we will once again prevail.”
Central to the package is free testing for the virus and guaranteed sick pay for workers who are taking time away from jobs, along with an infusion of dollars to handle unemployment benefits and boost food programs for children, families and seniors.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whom Trump tapped to negotiate for the administration, have engaged in around-the-clock negotiations that continued even as Trump was speaking.
But Republican leaders in Congress slowed the deal, wanting assurances that Trump would publicly support the agreement before signing off on it ahead of any vote, according to a top congressional aide unauthorized to discuss the private talks and speaking on condition of anonymity.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader, huddled with Mnuchin and Trump at the White House earlier Friday.
“We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope, so that we can pursue the precise science-based response that is necessary to put families first,” Pelosi said.
The White House is under enormous pressure, dealing with the crisis on multiple fronts as it encroached ever closer on the president.
The virus has swept in alarming ways across American life, sending the financial markets into a dangerous slide and shuttering schools and sporting events and limiting everyday interactions in communities across the country.
And a personal health scare intensified as White House officials worked to determine the level of exposure by the president and senior aides to several foreign officials who have since tested positive for the virus.
Trump said he was gratified that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus, after the pair sat next to each other for an extended period of time last weekend. A senior aide to Bolsonaro tested positive. “We have no symptoms whatsoever,” said Trump, who has not gotten tested but said Friday he would “most likely” be tested “fairly soon.”
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, now in isolation at a hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, had returned to Sydney from Washington, where he met Attorney General WIlliam Barr and Ivanka Trump last week.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Ivanka Trump, who worked from home on Friday, was evaluated by the White House Medical Unit and it was determined that because she was exhibiting no symptoms she does not need to self-quarantine.
Barr, meanwhile, was staying home Friday, though he “felt great and wasn’t showing any symptoms,” according to his spokeswoman Kerri Kupec. She said the CDC did not recommend testing at this point.
In addition, just days after meeting Trump and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the communications chief for Brazil’s president, Fábio Wajngarten, tested positive for coronavirus. Scott said he was isolating himself.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was also at Trump’s club on the weekend, joined a growing list of lawmakers who have chosen to isolate themselves as a precaution. He announced Friday that he also met with the Australian official who has now tested positive. And GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who had previously isolated himself after a potential exposure at a conservative conference in Washington, said Friday he met with a Spanish official and is now self-quarantining.
Pelosi and Mnuchin continued their constant cross-town phone calls throughout a tense day of negotiations to firm up and salvage the emerging deal that has widespread support from Democrats and some in the business community seeking certainty.
Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.
The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people who stay home as a preventative measure or because they’re feeling ill or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship.
Trump’s 73-minute remarks capped a tumultuous week in which Washington strained for a comprehensive response to an outbreak that is testing the nation’s political, financial and health care systems.
Hospitals welcomed Trump’s emergency declaration, which they and lawmakers in Congress had been requesting. It allows the Health and Human Services Department to temporarily waive certain federal rules that can make it harder for hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to an emergency.
Such rules include a Medicare requirement that a patient spend three days in the hospital before the program will pay for care in a nursing facility. Waiving the rule would make more inpatient beds available. Another rule requires doctors and other clinicians to be licensed in the state in which they are providing services. It can be waived if the physician is licensed in another state.
The American Medical Association said the emergency declaration would help ensure America’s health care system has sufficient resources to properly respond to the ongoing outbreak.
Trump’s actions were also viewed favorably on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1,985 points, or 9.4%, its best gain since October 2008. Stocks doubled their gains in the last half-hour of trading as Trump made his remarks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to be over it.
Trump has struggled to show he’s on top of the crisis, after giving conflicting descriptions of what the U.S. is doing to combat the virus.
The House aid package builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week.
Pelosi promised a third coronavirus package will follow soon, though the House is leaving Washington on Friday for a previously scheduled recess. That measure will include more aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, which economists fear has already slipped into recession.
But there’s little appetite within either party for Trump’s proposal to suspend collection of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax. States are already clamoring for fiscal relief from Washington as the virus threatens their budgets.
Lawmakers from both parties expressed alarm at the U.S. response, and especially over how few patients have been tested.
“We’re basically, in my opinion, flying blind,” said Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, said more tests would be available over the next week, but that officials should not wait before trying to mitigate the virus’ effects.
“We still have a long way to go,” he said Friday. “There will be many more cases. But we’ll take care of that, and ultimately, as the president said, this will end.”
Full coverage on the coronavirus:
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in North Carolina due to coronavirus concerns.
Read the Executive Order HERE.
Gov. Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force held a news conference Tuesday, March 10th to make the announcement.
Gov. Roy Cooper says declaring the State of Emergency will activate the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate from one location and make it easier to purchase needed medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and increase county health departments’ access to state funds.
This should help encourage insurers to make testing available for little or no cost.
“The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that North Carolina is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do that,” said Governor Cooper. “Though we are still in the early stages in North Carolina, time is a valuable resource and we must work together to slow the spread while we can.”