Coronavirus Live Local Updates: CDC recommends no gatherings of 50 people or more for two months

Coronavirus Live Local Updates: Watauga County reports first case; NC total at 32

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. has more than 3,000 cases and businesses, education, sports and more are being impacted as leaders continue to move to stricter measures to contain the coronavirus.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency last Tuesday. Following the statewide declaration, Mecklenburg County declared a state of emergency on Sunday.

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a State of Emergency for the state on Friday.

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday, opening up more avenues to battle the outbreak.

Live local updates for Sunday:

10:22 p.m.

Chick-fil-A announced it is closing dining room seating at restaurants to limit person-to-person contact due to coronavirus concerns.

It said some restaurants may only offer drive-thru service and others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options.

9:40 p.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said all staff should report to schools March 16.

This comes after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced all schools across the state will be closed to students starting Monday for two weeks.

Officials said district leaders continue to review plans for virtual learning and getting food to students while the schools are closed.

9:09 p.m.

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has asked judicial officials to reduce operations in courthouses across the state.

Beasley said that while courthouses must remain open, officials must reduce trips to courts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Put simply, it cannot be business as usual for our court system. Nonessential court functions that cannot be accomplished through the use of remote technology must be postponed,” according to Beasley.

8:14 p.m.

Kannapolis city schools will be delivering meals starting Monday to various sites while schools are closed.

Lunch will be served from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and bagged breakfast for the following day will be delivered at the same time.

Check out the locations here.

7:34 p.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it recommends no gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

It said organizers should cancel or postpone in-person events that have 50 or more people attending.

The CDC said events with fewer than 50 people should still comply with its guidelines, which include protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing.

While school is canceled for kids across both North Carolina and South Carolina, this recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of schools or businesses. This is all being done to slow the spread of infection.

“The worst is, yes, ahead of us,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “It is how we respond to that challenge that’s going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be.”

Another update from the federal government Sunday was testing will be prioritized for seniors and healthcare workers, especially to keep our healthcare systems running smoothly.

The vice president announced over the weekend that in every state there will be new labs set up across the country, capable of testing thousands of people at each site.

“We will have more than 2,000 labs coming online with the high-speed testing and we are connecting states to those testing methods,” Vice President Mike Pence said.

6:20 P.M.

All North Carolina welcome centers are closing until further notice.

Rest area facilities, including restrooms and vending machines, will remain open.

5:35 p.m.

Starbucks announced people will no longer be able to use the seating in the café and patio areas for at least two weeks.

It said customers can order at the counter, through the app or via the drive-thru or use delivery.

The company also said some stores in high dense social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses will close temporarily or reduce store hours.

“As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” saod Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president for U.S. company-operated business and Canada.

4:29 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is investigating nine additional cases of COVID-19.

Three of the cases were reported from commercial labs, and six cases were from DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory.

One new case is from Kershaw County. The person is a middle-aged day care worker who has no identified source of exposure. Their illness started after their last day worked, according to officials. They are being isolated at home.

There are two new cases from Horry County. The cases are elderly people who had a known exposure to a confirmed case of the coronavirus from another state. These people are both is isolation at home.

DHEC said two additional cases are also from Kershaw County and are household contacts of a previously reported case. One case is an elderly person who is in isolation at a hospital. The other case is a middle-aged person and is isolated at home.

According to DHEC, it is investigating another case in Horry County. It is an elderly person, and no other details have been released about their case.

Another two cases are from Anderson County and are middle-aged people. They have no identified source of exposure and are both in isolation at home.

The ninth case is from Greenville County and is a young adult who recently traveled to Spain. They are also at home in isolation.

This brings the total number of cases to 28 in the state.

“We emphasize the importance of practicing disease prevention measures and following recommendations for social distancing to protect our community as a whole,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist.

4:16 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced all K-12 schools in the state will close starting Monday until March 31.

He said this includes universities, colleges and technical colleges.

In addition, South Carolina state officials are working to equip 3,000 buses with WiFi to use as hot spots in more rural areas or for families who can’t afford it.

South Carolina leaders are asking to suspend student testing assessment required by the federal government, which usually takes place in the spring. Districts will also use school buses to drop off learning materials to students’ homes.

The state’s Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said students who qualify for free or reduced lunch can receive two meals a day, either by picking those up at designated sites or school buses will be used to drop off food.

“Principals, superintendents, teachers are working together as we speak to prepare to continue instruction for your children and also to be sure those students who need to be fed will be fed,” Spearman said.

McMaster also said the Medical University of South Carolina has been approved to begin coronavirus testing.

2:05 p.m.

Gaston County declared a State of Emergency, effective immediately.

That declaration includes a mandatory restriction on gatherings of greater than 50 people.

“We recognize we’re asking a lot from our residents,” Board Chairman Tracy Philbeck said. “But we simply cannot risk overrunning our health system if we do not take these precautions now. The short-term inconvenience is worth it if it means we can save lives and lessen this spread of this virus.”

2:00 p.m.

The first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Wilson County has been confirmed by county officials.

Officials said a woman who traveled out-of-state tested negative for the flu and then was tested Friday for the coronavirus. Health officials received the test results Sunday.

She is being hospitalized outside Wilson County.

“There is nothing to indicate this was a community-acquired transmission,” said Teresa Ellen, Wilson County health director. “All indications are that this was travel-related. We are following all protocols for contact tracing.”

This brings the total of cases in North Carolina to 33.

1:40 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will announce temporary closures for schools across the state as cases of coronavirus continue to rise.

The Associated Press has learned the governor will announce Sunday the closure of all schools for the rest of the month of March, beginning Monday.

Sources told the Associated Press food centers would be set up for students who are reliant on food provided in schools.

McMaster is expected to hold a news conference at 4 p.m.

12:45 p.m.

Mecklenburg County has declared a state of emergency after the county’s number of coronavirus cases increased to four Sunday.

Officials said the declaration will allow the county to access state and federal funds to help fight the pandemic.

Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman George Dunlap, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, along with the mayors of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville signed the declaration this weekend.

During a press conference Saturday, Governor Cooper issued a statewide Public Health Order which immediately prohibits mass gatherings of more than 100 people.

Health officials said Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Emergency Management has activated its emergency operations center in order to help organize a community response to the virus. The center will be open until the threat subsides.

The city of Charlotte said it is working on big changes to lower the risk of spreading the virus. This includes staggered staffing for city employees and online alternatives to cancelled events.

Officials said as of now, there are no changes to CATS bus or Light Rail schedules.

10:45 a.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 32 coronavirus cases across the state. This number includes both presumptive positive cases and cases that have been confirmed positive by the CDC.

In the Charlotte region, Mecklenburg County reported two new cases and Watauga reported its first positive case.

  • Wake - 14
  • Mecklenburg - 4
  • Forsyth - 2
  • Harnett - 2
  • Johnston - 2
  • Brunswick - 1
  • Cabarrus - 1
  • Chatham - 1
  • Craven - 1
  • Durham - 1
  • Onslow - 1
  • Wayne - 1
  • Watauga - 1

In Watauga County, officials said the person who tested presumptive positive is a Samaritan’s Purse staff member who had recently traveled overseas. The patient came back nine days ago from countries that at the time were considered low risk.

A spokesperson from Samaritan’s Purse said the individual did not come back to work, but immediately self-quarantined after coming home. They have experienced mild symptoms and are recovering well at home.

“We have been preparing should we see a positive case of COVID-19 in our community. Now that we have a positive case, we will continue to work diligently to protect the public’s health. It is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” Jennifer Greene, Health Director for AppHealthCare, said.

Samaritan’s Purse said they began to restrict travel when the virus first started, but they continue to up restrictions as necessary based on federal and local recommendations.

“At Samaritan’s Purse, we are in the business of helping people in crisis. We are continuing the Lord’s work with diligence and want to share with a world that is frightened the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on us to meet their basic needs, and though we are taking necessary precautions, we remain focused on our work to serve hurting people in Jesus’ Name.”

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said both of the new cases that tested presumptive positive are both being isolated at home. Harris said family members are also being quarantined and health officials are working to identify people who may have come into contact with the virus.

7 a.m.

The number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina still stands at 26, as of early Sunday morning.

Here is a breakdown of where the cases are:

  • Wake- 11
  • Forsyth- 2
  • Mecklenburg- 2
  • Harnett- 2
  • Johnston- 2
  • Brunswick- 1
  • Cabarrus- 1
  • Chatham- 1
  • Craven-1
  • Durham- 1
  • Onslow- 1
  • Wayne- 1

In South Carolina, health officials are investigating 19 cases across the state. Here is a county breakdown:

  • Kershaw - 11
  • Beaufort - 3
  • Lancaster - 2
  • Charleston - 1
  • Lexington - 1
  • Spartanburg - 1

5:30 a.m.

American Airlines made changes overnight Sunday for certain travelers flying in and out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The airline is suspending more international flights because of the new travel ban. Flights to the United Kingdom and Ireland will be suspended after Sunday.

Flights from those countries to Charlotte will be suspended after Monday. The suspensions will last through May 6.

President Trump added the UK and Ireland to the travel ban Saturday.

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