Coronavirus Live Local Updates: NC officials urge residents to avoid large crowds, work from home

NC officials urge people in the state to avoid large crowds, work from home

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. has more than 1,000 cases and businesses, education, sports and more are being impacted as leaders continue to move to stricter measures to contain the coronavirus.

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for North Carolina on Tuesday.

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Health Officials announced Thursday two people in Mecklenburg County tested presumptive positive for coronavirus. The tests will be sent to the CDC for official positive confirmation.

Live local updates for Thursday:

10:52 p.m.

American Airlines announced additional adjustments to its schedule in response to decreased travel demand due to coronavirus. The company plans to:

  • Reduce international capacity for the summer season by 34% versus the previous selling schedule, including a 50% reduction in April trans-Atlantic capacity.
  • Continue to operate flights to and from Europe for up to seven days to ensure customers and employees can return home.
  • Reduce service to South America, including a suspension of flights to Argentina.
  • Suspended flights are expected to resume as early as May 7.

Click here for new schedule changes.

Americans traveling back to the United States from Europe will need to fly into an approved airport and the closest one to Charlotte is Atlanta. Officials said Americans arriving back in the country will need to be screened. Once they land, anyone with symptoms will need to get medical attention or be quarantined for 14-days.

The travel restrictions will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday. These restrictions are scheduled to last for 30 days, but it could be extended.

8:03 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections suspends visitation statewide for 30 days.

7:20 p.m.

Panthers staff has been instructed to work from home and travel has been limited for coaches and scouts until further notice.

7:10 p.m.

Wake County has learned a resident tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus at a private laboratory following a visit to the doctor’s office.

This brings the total number of presumptive positive test results in Wake County to eight.

Through contact tracing, Wake County has determined the person did not come into close contact with anyone, and there is little risk the person exposed others to the virus.

6:04 p.m.

Urban Ministry is shutting down Room in the Inn 2.5 weeks early due to COVID-19 concerns. The last night of service will be Friday.

People who are homeless will be notified of the change tonight.

They now will be without a place to stay earlier than expected.

6:15 p.m.

Providence Day is planning on distance learning.

Charlotte Country Day has not moved to online classes.

5:55 p.m.

In Cabarrus County, a student at Cox Mill Elementary had contact with an individual who tested presumptive for the coronavirus.

The family is being monitored and quarantined until health officials allow them to resume their normal, daily activities.

The student is not communicable, health officials said.

5:46 p.m.

Effective immediately and until further notice, Charlotte Water will not disconnect water for non-payment of any account type. Those currently disconnected will be re-connected.

5:16 p.m.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has directed all health benefit plans licensed by the N.C. Department of Insurance to allow for extra prescriptions as a result of the state of emergency declared by Governor Roy Cooper.

This means covered persons may obtain one refill on a prescription if there are authorized refills and not contrary to the dispensing authority of the pharmacy.

This emergency authorization is in effect until April 9 or 29 days after NCDOI issued a bulletin March 11 to all insurance companies, the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, and any optional plans or programs, and other stand-alone prescription medication plans issued by entities licensed by the Department.

CVS Pharmacy has announced it will also waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications to encourage people at a higher risk for the coronavirus to stay home as much as possible.

Causey reminds consumers the largest health insurer in the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, has agreed to waive copays for coronavirus services and NCDOI is encouraging other health insurers in the state to do the same.

Many insurers have also agreed to cover telemedicine or virtual visits to allow people to remotely speak to their doctors.

The Department understands the coronavirus public health emergency is changing daily and encourages the public to visit their insurer’s website for the most up-to-date information pertaining to their health coverage.

4:55 p.m.

American Airlines just sent reporter Elsa Gillis a statement saying in part: “We have canceled flying from our CLT hub to FRA and MUC effective March 13. The last departures from FRA and MUC to CLT will be the westbound flights tomorrow”

4:30 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper gave an update Thursday. All recommendations will start Friday.

State officials recommend that employers and employees across the state use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules and consider canceling non-essential travel. In addition, to hold larger meetings virtually if possible.

State officials recommend that organizers cancel events that include large gatherings where people are in close contact less than 6 feet, for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.

The state attorney general is asking organizers of those big events to cancel, reschedule or refund customers’ money.

The state is also not recommending preemptive school closure right now.

They do recommend schools and childcare centers cancel or reduce large events including gatherings such as assemblies, field trips and limit inter-school interactions.

Some school closures may be needed in specific circumstances during this epidemic. School dismissals may be necessary when staff or student absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. The good news is children appear to be at lower risk of serious infections.

Officials are preparing for the need to expand capacity at hospitals so they can add beds temporarily as needed.

Cooper is working to make sure cost is not a barrier to getting tested.

“We know some people will be hurt by this economically: want to find every way we can to help those people.”

4:20 p.m.

NCAA cancels remaining winter and spring championships

4:15 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is in self-quarantine waiting for a coronavirus test and will work from home.

4:03 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is investigating two new possible cases of the novel coronavirus from Kershaw and Lancaster counties.

This brings the total number of presumptive positive cases to six in South Carolina, along with six confirmed cases.

  • The case from Lancaster County is a household contact (family member or close friend) of a previous case. He was evaluated at a healthcare facility and is currently isolated at home.
  • The case from Kershaw County is a Camden man who is currently hospitalized and in isolation. DHEC is working with the healthcare facility and taking routine measures to prevent possible spread.

While the samples tested positive at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory, the results are required to be confirmed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

3:55 p.m.

1 presumptive positive case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Cabarrus County, officials say.

It needs to go to the CDC to confirm that it is positive.

2:42 p.m.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has made the decision to postpone the 2020 Men’s and Women’s Basketball State Championships indefinitely.

“As much as we would like this opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches, and their communities, we know that ultimately any decision we make must err on the side of caution,” said Commissioner Que Tucker in a statement.

The Board of Directors also moved to suspend interscholastic athletics beginning Friday, March 13, 2020, through April 6.

2:30 p.m.

Governor Henry McMaster requested that lawmakers pass a joint resolution to make $45 million from the 2019-2020 Contingency Reserve Fund immediately available to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to help with coronavirus response.

“DHEC protocols and procedures require the agency to prepare for a variety of contingencies and situations,” McMaster wrote in a letter. “This requires that the agency identify and secure - in advance - the necessary resources, equipment and personnel to successfully address these contingencies.”

2:15 p.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools provided an update, saying the health department said there is no need to close schools at this time.

1:50 p.m.

Wingate University has suspended on-campus instruction effective Friday at 5 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

The Mexican National Team game at Bank of America Stadium that was scheduled for March 26 has been canceled.

1:20 p.m.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte said 90 students have reported as self-quarantined based on quarantine guidelines provided by the university.

12:18 p.m.

The ACC has announced that they are canceling the rest of their basketball tournament amid growing coronavirus concerns.

They join the SEC, the Big 10 and the American Athletic Conference, who all made their announcement Thursday as well.


11:30 a.m.

Wells Fargo confirmed one of their employees had been in “prolonged, close contact” with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Officials said they were notified on Wednesday and a deep clean of the location took place Wednesday night.

The employee is at home while they are being monitored for symptoms.

Wells Fargo said they have asked any employee who may have had close contact with this employee to work from home.

FULL STATEMENT FROM WELLS FARGO:

"On Wednesday, March 11, Wells Fargo was notified that an employee who works on the 6th floor at One Wells Fargo in Charlotte has been in prolonged, close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is at home while their health is being closely monitored.

Our first priority remains keeping Wells Fargo employees and customers safe and well-informed. We performed enhanced cleaning at the location, and out of an abundance of caution, we have asked employees who have been in close proximity with this employee to work from home in accordance with public health guidance. This situation does not impact other Wells Fargo locations in Charlotte.

We continue to follow all public health guidance, and we remain focused on meeting the needs of our customers while reducing the risk to our employees and customers."

11:20 a.m.

A spokesperson for the Rich and Bennett’s St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno the event has been rescheduled for June 27.

This comes just minutes after Mecklenburg County health officials announced two presumptive positive coronavirus cases in the area.

“We have concluded that hosting this year’s event at this time poses an undeniable risk to the public and we’re not willing to take that risk.”

People who cannot attend the pub crawl on June 27 can get refunds by emailing info@richandbennett.com.

The pub crawl is a huge event and annually attracts at least 20,000 people to uptown Charlotte.

The organizer of Charlotte’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade told Channel 9 as of now, the event is still on as planned.

11:18 a.m.

Winthrop University said it will be moving to remote instruction, starting March 23 and lasting through April 3.

Officials said this is out of an abundance of caution so the work of the university can continue.

11:05 a.m.

Gardner-Webb University will transition from face-to-face classes to online delivery for the rest of March.

Officials said the school has extended Spring Break until March 18 in order to give professors time to transition to online classes.

The university will decide on or before April 1 if they will go back to face-to-face classes.

11:00 a.m.

Mecklenburg County health officials say two people have tested positive for coronavirus in Mecklenburg County.

The health department doesn’t know if both are from Mecklenburg County, but at least one is.

“We are now in a situation where we could potentially have community spread,” Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

Officials said one of the Mecklenburg County cases was tied to out of the country travel and the other was possibly tied to out of the state travel. Both people are in isolation at home and are doing well.

“They’re isolating at home. They’re not severely ill. We need to be supportive as a community of individuals who have been exposed and are at risk of becoming ill from this infection,” Harris said.

This brings the total number of cases in North Carolina to 14.

Harris said she is calling for senior living facilities to restrict visitors and for people over 65 to avoid mass gatherings, including church services. It is also not known how long the virus lives on surfaces so health officials are recommending cleaning devices and surfaces regularly.

Harris said discussions are happening about how to approach large gatherings and Governor Roy Cooper is expected to address this Thursday afternoon.

10:52 a.m.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced that the boys and girls basketball state championships, which are scheduled for this weekend, will be played without spectators.

Officials said members of the media are not allowed to attend and it will be limited to essential staff and limited family.

Local teams that are playing in the tournament are Newton-Conover, Shelby, Vance High School and North Meck High School.

9:00 a.m.

During a meeting for Governor Roy Cooper’s Novel Coronavirus Task Force, officials announced three new cases in North Carolina, bringing the total to 12.

Cooper said two of the new cases are in Forsyth County and the third is in Johnston County. All three are doing well and are in isolation at home, officials said.

According to health officials, the two patients in Forsyth County are a couple and they were on a cruise where other passengers tested positive for coronavirus.

The exposure of the third case in Johnston County is still under investigation.

“We are all in this together,” Cooper said. “We will have to make some tough decisions. We will have to take critical actions. Lives are at stake.”

Cooper said he understands there is a great deal of concern about testing. The state is working with several agencies to get more tests and new testing methods. The governor said this is a top priority.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, one coronavirus case has been confirmed by the CDC while the other 11 cases are presumptive positives.

5:30 a.m.

Thom Tillis, a US senator for North Carolina, released a statement early Thursday morning voicing his support for President Donald Trump and his approach to coronavirus.

Tillis said Trump displayed decisive leadership and praised his decision to temporarily ban travel from Europe.

FULL STATEMENT:

“President Trump displayed decisive leadership in outlining steps he is taking to protect the physical and economic health of our nation against the threat of the coronavirus. The President previously made the right call to immediately ban travel from China, and he has made the right call to temporarily ban travel from Europe.

It is incumbent on our nation’s leaders to cease the political posturing and set aside our partisan differences in order to do what is best for our nation to address this public health crisis. I will continue to do my part to make sure we put the health and safety of North Carolinians first and make sure our state is prepared and ready to respond.”

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