Coronavirus live local updates: Gaston County reports first COVID-19 case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. has more than 7,600 cases across all 50 states and businesses, education, sports and more are being impacted as leaders continue to move to stricter measures to contain the coronavirus.

Officials said 22 states have activated the National Guard in response to the virus.

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

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

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last Friday, opening up more avenues to battle the outbreak. In addition, the federal government has slashed regulations around testing development in order to try and speed up testing.

Live local updates for Wednesday:

11:17 p.m.

The JCSU 2020 Commencement ceremony is postponed.

“We are looking into our options and will have more information on how we will celebrate the Class of 2020 after the immediate threat has passed. Graduating seniors, who fulfill their academic requirements, will have their degrees conferred upon completion of the spring semester,” officials said.

10:26 p.m.

Students at JCSU are required to move out of residence halls as soon as possible. All residence halls will close at 12 noon on Monday, March 30, 2020.

This is subject to government mandates, which may result in residence halls being closed before March 30.

9:52 p.m.

Caldwell County Commissioners officially declared a state of emergency beginning at 8:00 a.m. today, March 18, 2020.

The declaration supports the local municipalities with their needs, implements components of the Emergency Operations Plan necessary to facilitate response and plans for COVID-19, and increases the flow of verified and accurate information to the public and our partners in local government.

The municipalities of Blowing Rock, Cajah’s Mountain, Cedar Rock, Gamewell, Hudson, Rhodhiss, and Sawmills also signed the declaration. The City of Lenoir and the Town of Granite Falls issued a similar declaration also effective on March 18.

“This declaration is another step in our effort to help protect citizens,” said Caldwell County Director of Public Health Anna Martin.

The Caldwell County Health Department opened its Health Information Line to provide about Coronavirus (COVID-19). To access the line, people can call 828-426-8456.

8:48 p.m.

SREE Hotels is providing its employees and their immediate family members with meals indefinitely

The hotel group had to cut employee hours due to COVID-19.

SREE has 12 Charlotte-area hotels including The Aloft and Springhill suites in uptown.

7:46 p.m.

United Way of Gaston County established the Gaston County Virus Relief Fund.

7:30 p.m.

“The health and safety of all Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina constituents, including our wish families and partners, is our priority,” officials said. “At this time, due to current medical and public concerns, Make-A-Wish America has made the difficult decision to postpone all wish travel, as well as wish kid participation in all activities and events related to Make-A-Wish that involve large gatherings (e.g. large scale wish granting events, theme parks, etc.) until further notice.”

On average, 77 percent of wishes involve air travel. The Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina has postponed 49 of the current 379 pending wishes across the state. Nationwide, 970 wishes were immediately impacted with 30 more wishes estimated to be postponed each day.

“As a result, we have adapted our organization messaging to address the current situation and will be launching a new national campaign, PSA and press release on Friday that calls attention to the children waiting for their wishes to come true.”

5:48 p.m.

Beltone Carolina/Virginia wants to assure it’s customers that they can have their hearing aids serviced through “Remote Care” Online and that they do not need to come to one of our offices to have their hearing aids adjusted if they are not comfortable in doing. Download the app to a phone to receive the care.

5:16 p.m.

Iredell County identified its 2nd case of coronavirus.

At this time, the individual is isolating at home and willingly cooperating with public health officials.

5:05 p.m.

NC 2-1-1 is now available 24/7 as a resource for assistance related to COVID-19. Dial 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in your community and text COVIDNC to 898211 to get alerts on the North Carolina’s COVID-19 updates.

4:55 p.m.

4:50 p.m.

The Union County resident who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is a young adult who recently returned from international travel. Our Public Health Communicable Disease team is following up with others who may have been in contact with the individual and monitoring per CDC guidance.

4:48 p.m.

Mecklenburg County cases are now what's called “Community Spread.”


  • Travel Related: Returning with case
  • Close Contact: Family or co-worker
  • Community Spread: Cannot identify source

4:37 p.m.

Effective Thursday, March 19: Atrium Health is enhancing visitor restrictions to include essential visitation only to help protect patients from the spread of coronavirus.

LINK: More information

4:35 p.m.

The city of Charlotte is suspending yard waste and bulk item collection. Trash and recycling pickup will continue.

4:20 p.m.

From the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Joint Information Center:

At this time, the public health order does not direct individuals to “shelter in place.” If a shelter in place order was issued, it would be in close consultation with state and local government officials. Sheltering in place is a more rigorous form of social distancing. There are some differences. Sheltering at place means:

  • Stay home
  • Only go out for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” or for “essential travel,” as would be defined in the Order
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from others. No gatherings

To shelter in place means that individuals would stay in their homes and not leave unless necessary for a designated exception (which would be listed in the Order) and includes things like going to get food, to get a prescription, to see a doctor, to work (if your work is essential as defined in the Order), and to help people you care for get the things they need to live and be healthy and safe.

4:15 p.m.

The Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services is reporting the county’s first positive case of COVID-19.

The individual was tested in Mecklenburg County and the result was reported to Gaston DHHS. The individual is doing well and is self-isolating at home.

“We realize a confirmed case in our community can cause alarm, but this is further proof we need to continue to comply with our social distancing directives and requests,” said Gaston DHHS Director Chris Dobbins. “As testing increases, we anticipate we will see more positive cases and I have never been more confident in our ability to track contacts and monitor individuals to slow the spread.”

Individuals who are sick and worried they may have been exposed to the virus should call their regular provider to review their symptoms. If someone has general questions about COVID-19 or other concerns, they can call our local COVID-19 Call Center at (704) 862-5303.

There are now at least 69 known cases in NC:

  • Wake: 17
  • Meck: 14
  • Durham: 12
  • Harnett: 4
  • Chatham: 3
  • Forsyth: 2
  • Johnston: 2
  • Watauga: 2
  • Brunswick, Cabarrus, Craven, Gaston, Guilford, Hoke, Iredell, Lincoln, Onslow, Sampson, Union, Wayne, Wilson- 1

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has announced 13 new cases of COVID-19.

The state’s total is 60:

New cases:

Beaufort Co-2

Charleston Co-1

Greenville Co-1

Horry Co-1

Kershaw Co-3

Lee Co-1

Lexington Co-1

Richland Co-3

3:15 p.m.

Simon Property Group, which owns Concord Mills, SouthPark Mall and Charlotte Premium Outlets, is temporarily closing all domestic properties effective 7 p.m. Wednesday.

3:00 p.m.

CaroMont Health will begin rescheduling non-essential surgeries, procedures and appointments effective Thursday, March 19.

2:45 p.m.

A resident of Union County has tested positive for coronavirus, health officials said. The North Carolina Division of Public Health confirmed the positive result on Wednesday.

“Union County Division of Public Health and our Communicable Disease team are working with state and federal health partners to follow all protocols and guidance to limit exposure to this respiratory disease,” said director of public health Dennis Joyner. “We know this is a fast-evolving situation and anticipate additional cases. We are working diligently to prevent the spread. We advise residents to take precautions, including staying home when sick.”

Health officials are identifying contacts of the person. The individual is being monitored and following other protocols based on CDC guidelines.

Union County is providing updates here.

2:00 p.m.

North Carolina health officials reminded people to use good judgement by practicing social distancing, washing hands often and using good respiratory etiquette.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said he has received 136 price gouging complaints, half of them relating to groceries.

“We will act to ensure price gouging and scams have no place in our state,” Stein said.

People can call 8448NOROBO to report a scam.

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said people should only dial 911 in emergencies. North Carolinians can call 211 for questions about COVID-19. They can also text COVIDNC to 898211 to get regular updates via text.

12:55 p.m.

Hoke County has reported its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus.

The patient was tested on March 16 and received a positive result on March 18. They are now self-quarantining and isolated at home.

Health officials said they are working on monitoring the patient’s condition and determining if anyone else could have come into contact with the virus.

11:45 a.m.

Burke County Public Schools will reopen select schools as day cares on Thursday for children ages five through 12.

The day cares will be at Drexel, Hildebran, Mountain View, Salem and W.A. Young elementary schools and they will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Officials said children do not need to be enrolled in one of the five schools to attend the day care.

“This will help our parents and others in the community, who work in essential jobs at some of our area agency partners: Carolinas HealthCare Blue Ridge, Broughton Hospital, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Institute, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and many other local businesses," Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said.

11:00 a.m.

Health officials say there are now at least 66 presumptive positive and confirmed positive coronavirus cases in North Carolina.

The NCDHHS reported there are at 63 cases in North Carolina, but with the three new cases from Mecklenburg County, there are at least 66 cases in the state.

Here is the breakdown county-by-county:


Durham: 12

Mecklenburg: 11

Harnett: 4

Chatham: 3

Forsyth: 2

Johnston: 2

Brunswick: 1

Cabarrus: 1

Craven: 1

Guilford: 1

Iredell: 1

Lincoln: 1

Sampson: 1

Wayne: 1

Wilson: 1

Onslow: 1

Watauga: 1

Officials said 430 tests have been completed at the state lab and 1,850 tests have been completed in North Carolina.

The state lab has supplies for 1,250 patients, but this does not include supplies at university and commercial laboratories.

9:15 a.m.

Mecklenburg County has reported three new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to 14.

Authorities did not release any more information about the new cases.

Officials said because of local, state and federal restrictions on mass gatherings, the county has postponed planned public meetings and presentations for large groups until further notice.

8:45 a.m.

Catawba County has declared a state of emergency because of the “rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Although there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Catawba County, significant impacts are occurring and are expected to continue for an undetermined amount of time,” Board Chair Randy Isenhower said. “Impacts include, but are not limited to, closure of public schools, restriction of public gatherings, supply chain interruptions, and increased demands on healthcare facilities and providers.”

By declaring a state of emergency, county leaders will be able to better coordinate response efforts with emergency management and have access to state and federal emergency funds.

6:15 a.m.

North Carolina health officials are investigating at least 66 cases of coronavirus across the state, a big jump from 44 cases reported Tuesday morning.

Durham County increased by 15 cases after 15 people from the Duke University community traveled overseas and tested presumptive positive.

Officials said all members of the group will be in self-quarantine in their off-campus homes when they come back to Durham. Health officials are working to test other people who traveled with the group.

Wake - 17

Durham - 16

Mecklenburg - 11

Harnett - 4

Chatham - 3

Forsyth - 2

Johnston - 2

Brunswick - 1

Cabarrus - 1

Craven - 1

Iredell - 1

Lincoln - 1

Sampson - 1

Wayne - 1

Wilson - 1

Onslow - 1

Watauga - 1

Gilford - 1

5:30 a.m.

The United States and Canada are expected to announce a mutual ban on non-essential travel soon. It’s another effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The join agreement hasn’t been finalized yet but is expected to include a framework to make sure business and trade between the two countries continues.

Leaders are still trying to decide what types of vehicles and people would be allowed to cross the border and how long the ban would remain in place.

Locally, the Matthews Police Department put together a contingency plan to keep officers safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials said until further notice, when officers respond to calls, they will ask a series of questions to determine risk of exposure. Those will include if you’ve had a fever or cough, or traveled out of state in the last 21 days.

Answers will stay confidential.

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