Coronavirus local updates: Rowan County Health Department reports first death related to COVID-19

Coronavirus local updates - Friday evening

About 596,000 people worldwide -- including nearly 86,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges.

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[FAQ: N.C. Gov. Cooper’s Stay-at-Home Order]

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>> Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina and South Carolina. Scroll below for real-time updates.

  • The number of cases across North Carolina jumped by more than 100 for the fourth-straight day on Friday. North Carolina reported 874 cases statewide.
  • Several counties have a stay-at-home order already in effect or going into effect on soon. A stay-at-home order has already been issued for Mecklenburg County. A stay-at-home order will take effect Friday in Gaston County. Cabarrus County is also already under a stay-at-home order.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force announced a statewide stay-at-home order to take effect Monday

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the United States here.

Important Links & Updates:

Live local updates from Thursday:

10:30 p.m.

SC COVID-19 stats of Friday evening:

Cases: 539

Top 3 counties:

  • Charleston 92
  • Kershaw 70
  • Richland 65

Deaths: 13

9:33 p.m.

Officials said a South Carolina correctional officer is one of the state’s COVID-19 cases, becoming the first SCDC to employee to test positive.

That officer was last at work at Broad River Correctional Institution on March 17 and has been in self-isolation for 10 days.

8:20 p.m.

NC Updates:

  • Cases: 763
  • Deaths: 3
  • Completed Tests: 15,136
  • Currently Hospitalized: 77

Age Group:

  • 0-17:
  • 18-24:
  • 25-49: 33%
  • 50-64:
  • 65+: 67%

Gender:

  • Male: 100%
  • Female:
  • Unknown:

7:45 p.m.

The Rowan County Health Department has confirmed that a patient who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. The patient was in the high-risk category due to age and underlying medical conditions. They were a resident of Rowan County.

Rowan County Health Director Nina Oliver has reported that 312 tests have been submitted to The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. This number includes 298 negative and 14 positive results. These results are from the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all reporting hospital and commercial labs.

7:40 p.m.

Ally Financial, the Duke Energy Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation each announced that they are donating $500,000 apiece to the COVID-19 Response Fund, a community-wide effort to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Also, professional services firm EY and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation – the primary grantmaking arm of FFTC – each committed $250,000, raising total donations to nearly $13.5 million. Foundation For The Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas launched the effort on March 16 to support a range of nonprofit organizations assisting members of the community impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those most vulnerable.

7:20 p.m.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has ordered that premium payments be deferred for residents across the state.

The order started Friday due to President Donald Trump’s March 25th Major Disaster Declaration for the State of North Carolina.

The order applies to all insurance companies, including health insurance, residential property and automobile insurance. This order also applies to collection agencies, motor clubs and premium finance companies licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

“My hope is this deferral will provide policyholders breathing room while they get back on their feet as a result of economic hardships due to the COVID-19 health emergency,” said Causey.

6:05 p.m.

A fifth Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This case had travel history and has been in isolation since being tested. The local public health staff have identified the close contacts, who have been in quarantine.

“We have been preparing to see more cases here. Together, we will be able to move through the days ahead. We have a resilient community. I want to ask the public to remember that this situation is rapidly evolving. We all need to expect things to continue to change in the days and weeks ahead, but we are strong, and we have a lot of capable people from various organizations working to prepare us for more response efforts, ” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.5:45 p.m.

A third case has been confirmed in Cleveland County. The person involved in this third case did not recently travel or have direct contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19. The individual is isolating at home and will remain in isolation until discontinued by local health department personnel, who are also working with the individual to identify close contacts.

“This case is the first confirmation of community transmission of COVID-19 within Cleveland County,” Interim Cleveland County Health Director Deshay Oliver said. “As a result, I am strongly in support of the Stay-at-Home Executive order announced just moments ago. I recommend that residents stay home as much as possible and only go out when it is absolutely necessary.”

5:17 p.m.

Stanly County announces their 3rd positive COVID-19 case. They also say they won’t send anymore press releases announcing additional cases.

5:15 p.m.

Officials have confirmed 259 cases of the coronavirus in Mecklenburg County.

  • 46% of reported cases were adults ages 20 to 39 years old
  • Two cases were under 19 years old
  • About 1 in 5 reported cases have been hospitalized
  • About 11% have been released from isolation.

4:30 p.m.

South Carolina health officials have confirmed 4 more deaths related to COVID-19. This brings the total to 13 deaths in the state.

All the patients who died were elderly and had underlying health conditions, officials said. They were from Richland, Kershaw, Greenville and Florence counties, according to health officials.

Officials have also announced 86 additional coronavirus cases in South Carolina. The total statewide is 539 cases. After investigating, health officials said three previously reported cases were determined to be residents of other states.

County-by-county breakdown on new cases in South Carolina:

• Aiken County: 2 cases

• Beaufort County: 6 cases

• Berkeley County: 2 cases

• Charleston County: 32 cases

• Chesterfield County: 1 case

• Clarendon County: 1 case

• Colleton County: 1 case

• Dorchester County: 5 cases

• Florence County: 6 cases

• Horry County: 3 cases

• Kershaw County: 6 cases

• Lancaster County: 1 case

• Lexington County: 5 cases

• Oconee County: 1 case

• Orangeburg County: 1 case

• Pickens County: 1 case

• Richland County: 5 cases

• Spartanburg County: 7 cases

“It’s never easy to have to report the deaths of members of our communities,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “We express our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of these patients.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has also issued an executive order requiring anyone who comes from a COVID-19 “Hot spot” must self-quarantine for two weeks.

4:05 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is issuing a statewide stay-at-home order to combat COVID-19. Enforcement begins 5 p.m. Monday.

It bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other.

The order allows essential services to continue and directs that those businesses that need to remain open use a strong social distancing policy.

“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Cooper said.

This order directs you to stay home unless you need to leave for essentials, such as your job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise, or to help someone.

03:47 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members from his Coronavirus Task Force will make an announcement at 4 p.m.

3:21 p.m.

Kannapolis is creating a database of nonprofit needs in Cabarrus County.

Officials decided to create a database of nonprofit organizations and their immediate needs during this time of crisis.

Email Sherry Gordon at sgordon@kannapolisnc.gov with the name of your nonprofit, a brief description of your nonprofit and a list of immediate current needs – items needed or volunteers. Include the address, the names of your staff, their phone numbers, hours of operation and their emails.

Your nonprofit must serve Cabarrus County, Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland and Mt. Pleasant residents to be included in this database.

After officials have gathered this information we will share with the public and work to help organizations meet their needs.

3:05 p.m.

The NCDMV Driver License office on W. Arrowood Rd. in Charlotte will be closed Saturday due to health and safety concerns. Online services are available at MyNCDMV.gov.

2:05 p.m.

Starting Monday, Family Planning, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and HIV testing services will be provided exclusively at the northwest Charlotte health department location on Beatties Ford Road.

1:40 p.m.

The U.S. House has voted to approve the $2 trillion stimulus deal. It now moves to President Trump’s desk and he has signaled his support.

1 p.m.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster will hold a news conference at 4 p.m. with Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.

12:20 p.m.

ONE NEW CASE OF COVID-19 IDENTIFIED IN CATAWBA COUNTY

One new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Catawba County, bringing the county’s current total case count to 10.

Public Health is working to identify close contacts who may be affected and is advising them on appropriate monitoring and testing on a case-by-case basis. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer, according to the CDC.

Public Health is assessing the risk of exposure to others and will determine which, if any, additional protective measures are needed. Protective measures may include temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

As of 11:45 a.m., there have been 452 people tested for COVID-19 in Catawba County and 132 negative results have been received. The remaining test results are pending. There have been no deaths associated with COVID-19 reported in Catawba County.

Due to the volume of case contact investigations currently underway in Catawba County, Public Health will be releasing confirmed case numbers without further case details moving forward. Case and testing numbers are updated by 1 p.m. daily on the Catawba County website at www.catawbacountync.gov.

12:17 p.m.

The state of North Carolina is reporting at least 763 positive cases of COVID-19, with three deaths. The number was 636 on Thursday.

NCDHHS said of the cases:

  • 1 percent are under 17 years old
  • 13 percent are between 18 and 24 years old
  • 47 percent are between 25 and 49 years old
  • 24 percent are between 50 and 64 years old
  • 14 percent are 65 years old or older

While 51 percent of reported cases are in women, all three people who died were men.

NCDHHS reported 77 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. Out of 3,223 Intensive Care Unit beds in the state, 724 are empty. Out of 21,222 total hospital beds, 7,184 are empty.

12:15 p.m.

Burke County is reporting an additional COVID-19 case.

12:10 p.m.

Rowan County Releases Interactive Covid-19 Map

Rowan County has created an interactive map that can be found at the top of our COVID-19 webpage. This interactive map allows users to see our current confirmed cases in Rowan County by zip codes. The confirmed COVID-19 case count on this map reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all reporting hospital and commercial labs.

12 p.m.

Albemarle has issued a curfew for minors and Stanly County has declared a state of emergency.

11:45 a.m.

Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that he is working with Amazon to investigate nine North Carolina businesses and sellers over price gouging concerns. Attorney General Stein was notified by Amazon that these sellers had raised prices dramatically for items that have been in high demand during the coronavirus pandemic, including hand sanitizer and N95 masks.

“At a time when North Carolinians are trying to take care of themselves and their families in the face of an unprecedented crisis, some sellers are instead focused on unfairly taking people’s money,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “My office will investigate these cases and take action if we believe they’ve violated the price gouging law. Any other would-be gougers should take note: if you take advantage of consumers during this crisis, we will come after you and hold you accountable.”

Amazon identified these North Carolina-based sellers as having raised prices on coronavirus-related products more than 40 percent between Feb. 10 and March 16, 2020, and as a group having generated more than $100,000 in sales as a result of those higher prices. North Carolina’s price gouging law was triggered by Gov. Cooper’s declaration of a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 10, 2020.

The price-gouging law that protects people from scammers is in effect in North Carolina, and our office has received more than 450 complaints. Attorney General Stein and the North Carolina Department of Justice will be reviewing price gouging complaints from consumers closely and are prepared to take action against any businesses engaging in price gouging activities. Please report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at ncdoj.gov/pricegouging.

11 a.m.

Update from Mecklenburg County leaders:

County Manager Dena Diorio on the stay at home order: “We know the higher level of compliance we get, we the quicker we will get through this.”

Parks, greenways, and boat ramps are open. If you want to golf, you can have one person in a cart at a time or one person in the pro shop at a time. The health clinic on Billingsly Road will close. The one on Beatties Ford Road will stay open.

The call center for questions about the stay-at-home order is still open: 704-353-1926. Diorio is asking people to report nonessential businesses that remain open to 311.

Health Director Gibbie Harris says we now have 259 known cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County, up from 204 yesterday. She says testing continues to be a challenge locally. Testing capacity is still limited and is resulting in delays for receiving results.

Harris says the 259 that have tested positive is a smaller number than we are actually seeing in Mecklenburg County.

“All ages are being affected, all areas of our county,” Harris said. “Community spread is happening across all of Mecklenburg County, in all ages. The health department is not conducting widespread testing. Because first responders, health care workers and those most at risk are priorities, we are not getting a true view of cases.”

Data shows nearly half of the cases were ages between 20-39. One in five cases has been hospitalized. One in 10 cases has been released from isolation.

The county will no longer provide a map showing cases in zip codes because they do not want people to feel a false sense of security. They said COVID-19 is everywhere in the county.

“We are seeing way more cases in this county than any other county in the state,” Harris said.

CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes says most people are following the “stay at home” order. Police are focused on enforcement through education and dialogue. They have received around 1,200 complaints about violations of the order or mass gatherings.

Diorio says there are no plans to cut down any basketball hoops. She says pickup basketball games are not appropriate social distancing. Diorio says there are no plans at this time to close the rail trail.

On boating, Harris says the expectation is that boats are not overloaded with people. People need to stay six feet away from each other. Estes says officers will be patrolling the lake and will enforce the order on the water if they see large boat parties.

Harris says probably around half, if not more, of the confirmed cases are from community spread.

Harris says a large number of hospitalizations are in the older age range and have underlying health conditions. She says she doesn’t want to downplay that COVID-19 is serious for all age groups.

Diorio says there are a lot of things that can happen between now and August and the county is not looking ahead to the RNC at this point.

Harris says they have not made an additional request for ventilators at this point.

10:20 a.m.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants announced the passing of Paul Frishkorn, a Philadelphia-based flight attendant for American Airlines. He’d contracted COVID-19 and passed away earlier this week.

10:10 a.m.

In a news release, Gov. Roy Cooper said parents who need help getting food for their family can text FOODNC to 877-877 to find places nearby that are donating free meals. The service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

Cooper said after parents enter their address, they will receive a text with locations and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru free meal site.

″School closings mean no meals for some of our most vulnerable children. Now families have an easier way to find food during these times of financial stress," Cooper said in a written statement.

Parents can also call 2-1-1 to find meal sites in their neighborhood.

No Kid Hungry has also created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across North Carolina. Those who are not high-risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms can sign up to volunteer to prepare food or help at delivery sites.

Anyone with non-emergency questions about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 to ask about food assistance and family resources, such as rent or utility assistance. Dialing is free, confidential and available in most languages.

You can also sign up for automated text updates about COVID-19 by texting ‘COVIDNC’ to 898211.

9:55 a.m.

A third death due to COVID-19 has been reported in North Carolina. A Johnston County resident in their 60s with an underlying health condition.

“We are saddened to hear of this loss to our Johnston County community and extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones,” Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson said. “Although most people will have mild to moderate symptoms with this virus, some will have a more severe illness. This reminds us all to do our part to decrease the chance of infection and stop the spread of the virus by following social distancing recommendations and staying home to the extent possible.”

9:40 a.m.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will provide nearly $3 million to 14 local nonprofits aiding victims of coronavirus crisis in the first round of grants.

9:15 a.m.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris, County Manager Dena Diorio, CMPD and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management will hold a COVID-19 update this morning at 11 a.m.

We’ll carry the briefing on-air and on wsoctv.com.

8:30 a.m.

Trump says ‘no way’ he will cancel the RNC in Charlotte

President Donald Trump announced on Thursday there was “no way” he would cancel the Republican National Convention in Charlotte this coming August.

Trump made the announcement on Fox News.

“We are definitely planning... it’s toward the end of August,” the president told Fox TV host Sean Hannity. “Somebody was asking today, ‘Will you cancel your convention?’ I said no way I’m going to cancel the convention. We’re going to have the convention, it’s going to be incredible,” Trump said.

The RNC is scheduled to happen from August 24 to 27.

7:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. Johnson’s office says he was tested after showing mild symptoms.

Downing St. says Johnson is self-isolating and continuing to lead the country’s response to COVID-19.

7:15 a.m.

This morning, the United States has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, and the cases continue to climb in the Carolinas as more people get tested.

North Carolina has at least 636, with 204 of them in Mecklenburg County.

Yesterday, the state confirmed that a Raleigh city worker died from the coronavirus. Adrian Grubbs had an underlying health issue that put him at high-risk. He's the second person in North Carolina to die from the virus.

In South Carolina, there are 456 cases statewide and every local county saw an increase in cases on Thursday.

There have been nine deaths in South Carolina.

7 a.m.

People are, once again, social distancing while waiting in line for Harris Teeter in Cotswold. The store opens at 7 a.m.

6:45 a.m.

The critical House vote on the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus plan is scheduled for later this morning. $250 billion of that money would be paid directly to U.S. citizens.

Most adults will get $1,200 each, and kids would get $500.

People with unemployment insurance would get an extra $600 a week on top of what each state gives them. And state and local governments would receive $150 billion in supplemental funding.

The Senate unanimously approved the plan late Wednesday night.

6:30 a.m.

There's new help for North Carolina residents struggling to pay their bills. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the state justice department won't collect any debts until further notice. Those could be for things like toll roads, schools and health care.

Stein also asked utilities to suspend late fees.

6 a.m.

The North Carolina Republican Party State Convention will now be held June 4-7 due to COVID-19.

5 a.m.

Carolina Raptor Center Raptor Hospital Temporarily Not Accepting New Patients

In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, and in support of Mecklenburg County’s stay-at-home order, Carolina Raptor Center will temporarily halt acceptance of new raptor patients at their facility in Latta Nature Preserve.

“It’s a gut-wrenching decision for our team, but one we are making for the health of our staff, volunteers, and the public. When everyone is supposed to be staying at home, we can’t ask volunteers to risk exposure and break the proclamation to pick up new patients or to come help tend to the patients we currently have,” explains CRC Executive Director, Jim Warren.

Carolina Raptor Center generally sees around 1,000 injured birds of prey a year, and this time of year is busy because of nestling season. They are currently treating 61 birds and hope to have many of them released back to the wild by next month. Without the help of their large force of volunteers, whose work was temporarily suspended last week, the staff of CRC is very focused on the health of current patients and resident birds to preserve the organization’s limited resources.

If you find a bird of prey who appears injured, CRC encourages the public to call their hospital at 704-875-6521 x111 to ask questions.

4 a.m.

With the airline industry sinking more and more every day, the government is looking at ways to help them out. One of them involves the government taking part ownership.

Treasury Secretary Steve Manuchin is considering giving airlines $25 billion in direct grants. The government would have the option to buy shares of airlines that accept grant money.

Sources told the Associated Press that because stock prices are so low right now, airlines would likely turn down the deal.

11:30 p.m. (Thursday)

ECCCM, as a response to Covid-19, designed a new and safer means of applying for food assistance during this virus outbreak.

Beginning Monday, March 30 those in need of food assistance due to lay-offs or shortened work hours because of Covid-19, can call 828-465-1702, and ask to do a food application via telephone.

By the time applicants come for their first pickup at our food pantry drive-thru, we will have paperwork ready to be signed, and a food card will be issued.

A staff member or volunteer will deliver food out to the client’s car. After this initial pickup, clients will simply go through the food pantry drive-thru and present their card for subsequent pickups. www.ecccm.org

10:15 p.m. (Thursday)

N.C. Forest Service officials are urging residents to reconsider burning yard debris through the end of May, which historically marks the end of spring wildfire season in North Carolina.

“In North Carolina, most wildfires are caused by human action and careless debris burning. When left unattended, debris burns can escape, igniting tragic wildfires,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Minimizing the number of escaped debris burns will reduce the risk of wildfires while also reducing the risk of community exposure to COVID-19 by allowing first responders to limit close-contact interactions and maintain social distance.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the N.C. Forest Service continues mission-critical work such as wildfire suppression and other emergency response functions.