Coronavirus in the Carolinas: South Carolina city passes state’s 1st mask requirement

Coronavirus local updates -- June 22 morning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here is a roundup of what’s happening so far today, June 22, surrounding COVID-19 in both North Carolina and South Carolina (click here for yesterday’s coverage). Scroll below for live, local real-time minute-by-minute updates.

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Live, local updates from Monday:

A South Carolina city has become the first in the state to require people to wear masks in grocery stores and pharmacies to help fight COVID-19. Greenville City Council voted unanimously for the mask requirements Monday.

All employees in restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores and pharmacies will have to wear masks.

Customers in grocery stores and pharmacies will need coverings over their noses and faces. Anyone convicted of breaking the mask rule will be fined up to $25.

Anyone who can’t wear a mask because of age or underlying illness is excluded. Greenville has had some of the highest COVID-19 rates in the state in recent weeks.

NC reports less than 1,000 new cases for first time in 6 days

North Carolina health officials held a news conference as coronavirus cases continue to increase across the state.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen reiterated that the trends are moving in the wrong direction.

She said the number of people showing up at the emergency room with COVID-19-like symptoms has been going up, cases continue to climb, the percentage of positive tests remains high and hospitalization are at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Cohen also said that most of the new cases are in younger people under the age of 49.

She encouraged people to continue to practice the 3 W’s -- wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet apart and wash/sanitize your hands often.

“This is a moment where our individual actions will determine how we fare as a state,” she said.

The state also announced the nation’s first statewide technology platform NCCARE360, which coordinates whole-person care by uniting traditional healthcare settings and organizations that address non-medical drivers of health, such as food, housing, transportation, employment and interpersonal safety.

Unite Us Network Director Georgina Dukes said the network has helped 2,400 people so far.

NC reports less than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time in nearly a week

With 73% of hospitals reporting, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported less than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in nearly a week. After a one-day decrease, hospitalizations have gone back up.

Currently, 870 people are in the hospital with severe symptoms due to the novel coronavirus -- an increase of 25 from the day before.

NCDHHS reports 24% of hospital inpatient beds and 21% of Intensive Care Unit beds are currently available across the state, and 70% of ventilators are available.

The state reported at least 804 more positive COVID-19 cases and 3 more deaths, for a total of 53,605 cases and 1,223 deaths since the pandemic began.

The state exceeded its testing goal, with 11,570 more tests reported Monday. Currently, 9% of tests are positive, a number which has remained roughly stable since increasing slightly earlier this month.

Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in cases and deaths, with 8,956 and 137 respectively.

Lab-confirmed cases: 53,605

Completed tests: 757,345

Currently hospitalized: 870

Statewide deaths: 1,223

Confirmed cases by age:

0-17 (10%)

18-24 (12%)

25-49 (45%)

50-64 (20%)

65-74 (7%)

75 or older (7%)

COVID-19 deaths by age:

25-49 (5%)

50-64 (14%)

65-74 (20%)

75 or older (61%)

Cases by race:

White: 55%

Black: 25%

Cases by gender:

Women: 50%

Men: 50%

(Men account for 53% of deaths)

Cases and deaths in congregate living settings:

There are 107 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, resulting in 4,232 cases and 625 deaths.

There are 60 outbreaks at residential care facilities across the state, resulting in 1,159 cases and 103 deaths.

COVID-19 relief program available starting July 1 for Catawba County residents

Families or individuals that are experiencing financial troubles with paying their mortgage, rent, utilities or other expenses because of the pandemic may apply for help through the COVID-19 Relief Program.

Officials said the program and applications are available through the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry starting July 1.

To be eligible for assistance, you must have experienced some form of hardship from COVID-19 such as job loss, illness, childcare challenges or unable to find a job.

You must be a resident of Catawba County to apply.

For more information, click here.

All eyes turn to NC governor as state heads toward Phase 3

All eyes will be on North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper this week as he decides if the state will move into Phase Three of it’s reopening plan.

But, with all the new cases of COVID-19, there is a concern that it’s too soon.

Here’s what’s included in Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan -- Private bars and gyms could reopen, restaurants and businesses could have higher capacity and larger gathers would be allowed.

Tuesday, two Charlotte restaurants plan to open their doors after being closed due to coronavirus.

Waterman in South End and Stagioni’s in Myers Park both closed last week after employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Owner of Stagioni’s Bruce Moffett said the restaurant was sanitized over the weekend and all staff members have been tested. So far, tests have come back negative.

The owner of Waterman’s Paul Manley said they were notified on Wednesday about a staff member who tested positive. They said they isolated everyone who has been in contact with that person and are requiring certain people to get tested.

As of right now, there is no requirement for a restaurant to let the public know an employee tested positive.

SC health officials report 907 new confirmed cases of COVID-19

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 907 new confirmed cases and 1 new probable case of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and 9 additional confirmed deaths.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 24,661, probable cases to 32, confirmed deaths to 653, and zero probable deaths.

The total number of people tested Saturday statewide was 5,622 and 16.1% of the tests came back positive.

Officials said six of the deaths were elderly people from Chester (1), Colleton (1), Florence (2), and Richland (2) counties, and three of the deaths were middle-aged people from Richland (1), Spartanburg (1), and Sumter (1) counties.