Coronavirus local updates: 2nd local Amazon employee tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus Update: April 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 1.34 million people worldwide -- including nearly 367,000 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.

>> Scroll below for real-time minute-by-minute updates

[SPECIAL SECTION: TRACKING CORONAVIRUS]

Content Continues Below

>> We’ll bring you LIVE updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Get extended coverage on the free WSOC Now app on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV.

>> 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 reached 2,870 Monday. North Carolina is now reporting 33 deaths, 40,726 completed tests and 270 people currently in the hospital.
  • Several counties have a stay-at-home order already in effect. A stay-at-home order had already been issued for Mecklenburg County, Gaston County and Cabarrus County.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force announced a statewide stay-at-home order which is currently in effect.
  • Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered a home or work order in South Carolina.

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

Important Links & Updates:

Live local updates from Monday:

10:36 p.m.

A second local Amazon employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

This person works at the Amazon Fulfillment Center (CLT2) on Old Dowd Road.

The employee’s last day on the site was March 28. An employee at CLT5 in Concord also has tested positive.

10:15 p.m.

NC Cases: 2,934

Top 5 counties: Meck 741, Wake 325, Durham 203, Guilford 104, Forsyth 94

Hospitalizations: 270

Deaths: 33 as of 11 am

SC Cases: 2,232

Top 5 counties: Richland 311, Charleston 300, Greenville 204, Beaufort 163, Kershaw 152

Deaths: 48

10:05 p.m.

9:50 p.m.

Charlotte is expecting about $4 million in block grants from the federal stimulus bill.

The city wants to use it as mortgage, security deposit and utility assistance to help 2,500 families.

There will be $56 million for CATS and $1.8 million for CMPD.

8:50 p.m.

New data about Mecklenburg County’s situation has been released.

Nearly 100 additional Mecklenburg County residents have now tested positive for COVID-19. As of 4:30 pm today, Mecklenburg County Public Health reported 741 positive cases. Just 24 hours ago, the number was 655. Seven people have also died. Highlights about the 650 reported cases of COVID-19 among Mecklenburg County residents include:

  • About 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old. Eleven cases were youth under 20 years old.
  • Younger adults make up most cases for all racial/ethnic groups except non-Hispanic Blacks, for whom one-third of cases were older adults (≥ 60 years) and only a quarter were in the youngest age group (20 to 39 years).
  • About 1 in 5 reported cases overall were hospitalized due to their COVID-19 infection. However, hospitalization rates among older adults (≥ 60 years) were significantly higher – 1 in 2 were hospitalized.
  • Seven deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases.
  • Nearly 40 percent of reported cases have been released from isolation.
  • There were reported cases of COVID-19 throughout our entire community.
  • There were 62 reported cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents in the county. Crude rates vary considerably across zip codes within the county. We expect these rates to fluctuate as the situation continues to evolve.

8:30 p.m.

The Gaston County sheriff confirmed two of the department’s detention officers have tested positive for COVID-19.

They are in isolation.

The sheriff said everyone in the building must now wear masks.

7 p.m.

There have not been reports of refusals to comply with the social distancing at Mecklenburg County parks.

“We continue to ask for voluntary compliance during this national crisis, so as to ensure the safety of everyone, including first responders, CMPD said.

The community can report violations of the ‘stay-a-home’ order through the CLT+ mobile app, online at cmpd.org, or by calling 311.

6:30 p.m.

Lincoln County

Total tested: 339

Positive-Active Cases: 4

Positive-Recorded Cases: 5

Negative Cases: 324

  • A positive active case is a person who tested positive in a commercial, state, or CDC lab and remains in isolation until cleared.
  • A positive recovered case is a person who tested positive in a commercial, state, or CDC lab but has now met the state criteria for clearance.
  • A negative case is a person that is no longer considered a PUI because they tested negative in a commercial or state lab.
  • A PUI is a person who was tested based on COVID-19 testing criteria and is selfisolating until test results are received. During the period of self-isolation, the Lincoln County Health Department provides daily contact management to all PUIs to monitor symptoms or contacts.6:26 p.m.
  • The Rowan County Health Department has confirmed that a second patient who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. The patient was in the high risk category due to age and underlying medical conditions.
  • The patient was experiencing serious illness prior to death. The patient’s passing may not be related to the coronavirus.

6:24 p.m.

The Rowan County Health Department has confirmed that a second patient who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. The patient was in the high-risk category due to age and underlying medical conditions. The patient was experiencing serious illness prior to death. The patient’s passing may not be related to the coronavirus.

6:20 p.m.

Consistent with Executive Order 124 issued by Governor Cooper on March 31, 2020, the City of Concord will neither disconnect utility accounts for nonpayment, assess new late payment fees, nor collect late payment fees that were imposed on accounts as of March 31 for at least 60 days (through May 31, 2020).

Customers that were disconnected for nonpayment prior to March 31, 2020 will be reconnected if the customer contacts the Customer Care Center to make payment arrangements for the outstanding balance.

5:40 p.m.

Officials with Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management are asking residents to not put yard waste in recycling containers.

5 p.m.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has been notified that a detention officer has tested positive for COVID-19 after getting tested for the virus this weekend.

The sheriff said the department has taken a great deal of precautions to ensure the safety of our staff and residents while preparing for the possibility of this incident since the beginning of the pandemic.

The officer reported to Detention Center-Central on Friday, April 3 and was screened before proceeding to their shift. During screening, the officer exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and was advised by medical staff to return home and seek testing.

Sheriff McFadden says; “We are very thankful the screening process has worked and averted a potential exposure from entering our facility. We will continue to make adjustments to do whatever we can to slow the spread of this virus. I wish the employee a speedy recovery and return to work.”

This is the first case of an MCSO staff member or contractor at our main Detention Center-Central. There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the detention population.

4:55 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 183 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, including four additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 2,232, and those who have died to 48.

The additional deaths occurred in patients who were elderly with underlying health conditions. The individuals were residents from Anderson, Horry, Richland, and Spartanburg counties.

DHEC’s COVID-19 webpage is updated daily with a map of positive cases as well as the most current recommendations for protecting against COVID-19.

Testing in South Carolina As of April 5, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory has conducted 7,950 tests for COVID-19. Of these tests, 923 were positive and 7,027 were negative. A total of 21,384 tests by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs have been conducted in the state. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.

Hospital Bed Capacity As of April 5, 5,944 hospital beds are available and 6,202 are utilized, which is a 51.1 percent statewide hospital bed utilization rate. The overall trend this week has been in greater hospital bed availability, specifically a 7.2 percent decrease in hospital bed utilization since March 23.

Cases by ZIP Code The latest confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code are available here. This includes estimated cases by ZIP code. These estimated counts represent those who are potentially undiagnosed. The estimate of undocumented cases is based on evidence that for every known case of COVID-19, there could be up to 9 people with the virus who remain unidentified in the community. By including estimates, we hope to better convey more meaningful information about the risk of disease spread in our community. We encourage everyone to continue to take action to protect themselves and those they love.

4:52 p.m.

The front entrance to the Rowan County courthouse will be closed beginning Wednesday, April 8. “This is only temporary as we work through this virus situation,” officials said. The Liberty Street entrance will be utilized because it easily accessible by all.

4:50 p.m.

Granville Vance Public Health confirms there are 59 positive COVID-19 cases at Butner prison in North Carolina. That’s up from 24 yesterday.

4:45 p.m.

The new Small Business Administration Express Bridge Loans program enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. CLICK here for more information.

4:35 p.m.

Mecklenburg County officials say 741 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Seven Meck County residents have died.

4:30 p.m.

Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-20, which includes a mandatory “Home or Work” order and mandates capacity limitations to retail businesses still operating.

“As we have said before – when the science, data, facts and experts determine it’s time to take action, it would be taken. It’s time,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Taking this measure now will hopefully slow the future rise in infections and the virus’ toll on our state’s economy.”

The governor’s “Home or Work” order goes into effect tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7 at 5 p.m.. As indicated in the executive order, permitted travel includes commuting for work, visiting family, and obtaining essential goods or services. The order will not impact any individual’s ability to exercise outdoors or go for a walk as a family, but everyone should act responsibly and practice social distancing and proper personal hygiene.

No additional businesses or activities will be limited as a result of this order. On Friday, McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-18, which extended the list of non-essential businesses to be closed at 5 p.m. today.

The governor has also ordered that all retail business still operating limit customer activity by only allowing five customers per 1000 square feet or 20% of their posted capacity in a store, whichever is less.

4:15 p.m.

The Burke County health director announced five additional positive cases of COVID-19, which brings the total cases to 28 the county.

The cases consist of both traveling and community spread.

Fifteen of the cases are associated with long-term care facilities.

All positive cases are isolated.

Residents are encouraged to CALL their medical provider if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but they do NOT need to come out to be tested since it may spread the illness to others in the community including those at higher risk of complications and health care workers.

For those residents who do not have a medical provider can call and make an appointment for a primary care visit at the Burke County Health Department

3:20 p.m.

In less than a month after a state of emergency was declared in North Carolina, more than 1,000 price gouging reports have been submitted to the NC attorney general’s office.

You can submit a complaint at NCDOJ.gov/gouging or call 877-5-NO-SCAM.

3:02 p.m.

Both North Carolina and South Carolina officials will host news briefings at 4 p.m. on updates with COVID-19. You can watch them LIVE on Channel 9 or here.

3 p.m.

An expanded business closure order goes into effect at 5 p.m. in South Carolina.

2:50p.m.

An Amazon spokesperson confirms a worker at the Amazon Sort Center CLT 5 in Concord has tested positive for COVID-19.

Any associate who had close contact with this person at work is being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and Amazon says they will pay them for their time at home.

2:30 p.m.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation has initiated a multi-faceted response to assist with local relief efforts through financial contributions, employee volunteerism and online resources.

2:20 p.m.

The North Carolina Medical Board tells Channel 9 it has issued around 200 emergency licenses for recent retirees and out-of-state practitioners to help in the fight against COVID-19.

2 p.m.

Loaves and Fishes’ Mobile Food Pantry in west Charlotte just opened and they already have a line of cars waiting. Brick and mortar locations are now closed but people with referrals can still get food at mobile locations.

1:50 p.m.

Prisons Enact Two-Week Halt on Accepting New Offenders

To stop the spread of coronavirus, the North Carolina Division of Prisons will not accept offenders from the county jails and will dramatically reduce the transfers of offenders within the prisons for the next 14 days, effective at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.

“We must deny this virus the opportunity to spread,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “It has gotten into three of our prisons and we must contain it there to the greatest degree possible. This is imperative for the health and safety of our staff and the men and women who are in our care.”

This new modified operations plan, which is supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, is in effect a “stay at home order” for the vast majority of the 34,400 offenders in the state prison system from April 7 to April 21, at which point the plan will be reexamined.

Over the past week, seven offenders have tested positive for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, at three different prisons – Johnston, Caledonia and Neuse correctional institutions. Over the weekend, face masks were distributed to all staff and offenders at those prisons.

The 14-day moratorium on the acceptance of new offenders from the county jails, and the suspension of the vast majority of offender transportation between the prisons, is in keeping with the spirit of the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance to the country to shelter in place.

Offenders will continue to be transferred over the next two weeks for the following reasons:

• To comply with court orders.

• For medical or mental health reasons.

• For security purposes to address critical incidents within the prisons.

• To release offenders who have completed their prison sentences.

Efforts are underway to transfer those offenders who are scheduled for release over the next two weeks to areas close to their homes, where they will be released in accordance with their individual release plans. No offender will remain incarcerated past their scheduled release date. Also to be transferred to their assigned prisons over the next two days will be new offenders who have been admitted to state prison and who have remained free of COVID-19 symptoms.

Over the past month, offender transportation movements have been limited to only new offenders to the prison system, court-ordered, high priority and health care movements. Transported offenders have been medically screened both before and after getting on the transportation bus.

“I want to thank the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association for working with us in this critical next step to combat coronavirus,” said Ishee. “Everyone is working hard to fight this dangerous virus and I commend prison staff for their bravery in the face of these challenges.”

Correction Enterprises is producing face shields, hospital-style gowns and washable face masks. All staff and every offender will get a face mask once enough are manufactured. In addition, Correction Enterprises is producing large quantities of sanitizer and hand lotion to be used in all the prisons.

For the past month, offenders throughout the prison system with fevers, coughs and symptoms of respiratory illness have been isolated in the prisons from the prison general population. Testing for COVID-19 is being done per the recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. The results are usually obtained within 48 hours.

In addition, new offenders to the state prison system have been quarantined for 14 days following initial medical screening for potential COVID-19 symptoms, to prevent the introduction of the virus into a facility.

Staff medical screenings have been enacted at every prison, including temperature checks, in an additional effort to reduce the chances the virus gets into a prison.

The North Carolina Division of Prisons has taken a substantial number of other actions to prepare for the emergence of COVID-19 in the state prisons and, to reduce the chances it could spread within a facility or within the prison system.

1:35 p.m.

The Board of Trustees of Winthrop University voted today to temporarily suspend the university’s requirement that applicants for summer session 2020 and the 2020-21 academic year provide standardized test results to be considered for admission.

Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management Eduardo Prieto noted this action will help some prospective students who are experiencing difficulties in completing standardized testing but who otherwise are viable candidates for admission for the summer and upcoming academic year. “It will give us the flexibility to evaluate admission based on alternative criteria, if necessary, for this limited timeframe.”

The remaining admissions criteria used to ensure a high-caliber, high-achieving student body at Winthrop University will remain in place, subject to any future State of South Carolina directives, and prospective students will be evaluated with the same amount of due diligence that has served over time to uphold the university’s academic standards.

1:20 p.m.

North Carolina COVID-19 Modeling Shows Social Distancing Necessary to Slow the Spread and Preserve Hospital Capacity

A collection of North Carolina experts today released a composite modeling forecast looking at how COVID-19 could affect North Carolina in the coming months. The models, constructed by experts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, RTI International, and others reinforced the need for limiting personal contact to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that health care is there for people who need it.

“We have life-changing decisions before us and North Carolina is fortunate to have world-class experts who can help our state as we continue battling the coronavirus,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Modeling is one tool that helps us prepare for this fight and it shows we will save lives if we stay home and keep our social distance right now.”

“The modeling affirms that the actions we take now will determine how this virus will impact North Carolina in the weeks and months to come,” said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD. “We need to continue to do everything in our power so that fewer people get sick at the same time, while also surging the capacity of our health care system so those that do need hospital care will have it. Please stay home now to save lives.”

Today’s composite model found that social distancing policies with effectiveness similar to those currently in place in North Carolina will help lower the likelihood of the healthcare system becoming overloaded with a spike of many COVID-19 patients all at the same time. However, ending all social distancing at the end of April leads to a “greater than 50 percent probability that acute care and ICU bed capacity will be outstripped… as soon as Memorial Day.”

According to the model, hospital surge to create more available bed space could provide some help, but not enough to help hospitals meet demand if all social distancing efforts were ended.

If all social distancing were to stop at the end of April, the model estimates that roughly 750,000 North Carolinians could be infected by June 1. On the other hand, if some form of effective social distancing remains in place after April, that number is lowered by half a million to an estimated 250,000 people. That’s because social distancing lowers the number of people that one person will infect.

The group of experts are continuing to run models using information from other states and countries and intends to release further data as it becomes available.

1 p.m.

1 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 total number of residents who have tested positive to 25. We have received 370 negative test results.

The county’s total case number is based on COVID-19 test results. Not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so this does not represent the total number of people who have or had COVID-19.

Because community spread is occurring locally and across North Carolina, all residents are urged to stay home and avoid contact with others to the extent possible.

Catawba County case and testing numbers are updated by 1 p.m. daily on the Catawba County website at www.catawbacountync.gov.

Case Investigations Ongoing

Public Health is investigating confirmed cases to identify close contacts who may be affected. 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 is advising them on appropriate monitoring, testing, and additional protective measures on a case-by-case basis. Protective measures may include temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

12:25 p.m.

Rock Hill police say two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. They did not have symptoms while at work and had very limited contact with the public.

Police have notified all staff, and those who were in contact with the two employees are under a 14-day quarantine.

Two City employees in the Police department have now tested positive for COVID-19. It’s unknown if either employee contracted the virus as a result of work duties or workplace interactions, nor do we know if these cases are directly linked. In accordance with recommendations from DHEC and the CDC, we have taken the following steps:

· Identified individuals who may have been exposed through close contact with the employees and made notifications as needed.

· Implemented a 14-day quarantine period in line with DHEC recommendations for other City employees who may have been exposed through close contact.

· Cleaned and disinfected their work location following CDC recommended procedures.

The employees who tested positive are required to stay home, away from the workplace, until symptom-free and fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication for 3 days.

Chief Watts has been in contact with both employees who are doing well while remaining at home until they are symptom-free.

Precautions have been in place for several weeks within the City organization, and specifically with first responders, to help reduce exposure among employees and the public. We believe those precautions help limit close contact and reduce potential exposure to others. The employees in the Police Department and all city staff have already been informed of the positive tests. Additionally, we have identified and directly notified those very few members of the public that we believe were in close contact. Neither employee was at work while they were symptomatic.

In an effort to protect and abide by government-mandated health-related information, we cannot confirm or deny name, position, or any other personal identifying information related to positive cases for City employees.

11:10 a.m.

There are now 2,870 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 89 counties in the state -- including 33 deaths.

40,726 tests have been completed and 270 patients are in the hospital.

Mecklenburg County is reporting 733 cases, up 68 from Sunday -- and four deaths.

Of those who tested positive, 41% are between the ages of 25-49. 28% are between the ages of 50-64 and 21% are 65 or older.

57% of those who tested positive were white and 37% of those who tested positive were black.

75% of those who have died were white.

48% of the positive cases are men and 51% are women, but 70% of the deaths have been men.

There are currently 616 patients on a ventilator (not just COVID-related) across the state, and there are 2,596 ventilators available across all hospitals.

There have been 14 reported outbreaks at congregate living centers: Eight at nursing homes, three at residential care facilities and two at correctional facilities.

(NCDHHS)

11:00 a.m.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is now reporting a second person associated with their main campus has tested positive for coronavirus.

School leaders have not released any other information about the case.

In total, UNCC has reported three cases of COVID-19.

10:50 a.m.

Amtrak Carolinian, the track that runs from Charlotte to New York, has been temporarily suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Amtrak said while Amtrak continues to operate across the country, the company has adjusted schedules due to significantly reduced demand.

Amtrak is waiving change fees for reservations made before May 31.

10:30 a.m.

Health officials have identified Richmond County’s first positive case of coronavirus. Officials said the test result was received Sunday evening, but no other information about the patient was released.

Avery County is now the only Charlotte area county without a positive case of COVID-19.


9:30 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced guidance for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA).

Under this program, those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and are not able to work because of COVID-19 such as self-employed workers, independent contractors and gig workers are eligible for PUA benefits.

This is part of the CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27.

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits for qualifying individuals, mean they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to the coronavirus.

For more information, click here.

7 a.m.

Much needed resources are being given to local nonprofits that serve our community. The emergency fund to help Mecklenburg County residents through the coronavirus pandemic is now at $15 million.

According to the Charlotte Business Journal, more than 200 nonprofits have submitted requests to get some of that money.

The grants committee will meet this Thursday to decide which agencies are next. So far, at least 14 nonprofits including Charlotte Family Housing, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Latin American Coalition and Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte have all received money.

Also, American Airlines is dramatically slashing the number of flights to New York City Monday morning.

According to USA Today, the airline will have just 31 daily flights to New York compared to more than 270 on a typical day, several of these impact Charlotte.

American will have two daily flights from Laguardia to Charlotte. From JFK, there will be one daily flight to Charlotte and from Newark, American will fly a daily flight to Charlotte and Dallas.

This will last through May 6.

7:45 p.m. (Sunday)

A Gaston County man has died from COVID-19, his church tweeted.

“The family wants the public to know this is serious,” Pastor Austin Rammell said. “That if you are showing symptoms, in any way, fashion, shape or form, stay at home.”

6:15 p.m. (Sunday)

The Cabarrus Health Alliance is investigating multiple COVID-19 cases at Carolinas Rehabilitation—NorthEast, What Matters Most Disability Service and Carl A. Furr Elementary.

The three facilities are in Concord.

Representatives from each facility have voluntarily partnered with CHA to follow sanitation guidelines, implement new processes and monitor individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.

Health officials said Sunday it’s very unlikely that Carl A. Furr Elementary students were exposed to COVID-19 at the school.

CHA Interim Director Erin Shoe asks those who’ve had recent contact with the facilities, including Carl A. Furr staff, students and families—to monitor for symptoms of fever (100.4 or higher), cough and shortness of breath. If you exhibit these symptoms, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the CHA Health Information Line at 704-920-1213.

Carolinas Rehabilitation – NorthEast

To date, 10 individuals tested positive for COVID-19—not all reside in Cabarrus County.

To stop the spread, Carolinas Rehabilitation – NorthEast has enhanced deep-cleaning protocols; isolated patients to their rooms; started using single-serve utensils, plates and cups; ended new patient admissions; and require staff to use enhanced personal protective equipment.

What Matters Most

To date, five individuals tested positive for COVID-19—not all reside in Cabarrus County.

To stop the spread, What Matters Most has: performed an enhanced deep cleaning and closed their day program for residents.

Carl A. Furr Elementary School

To date, three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the date of system onset and testing, health officials believe it’s very unlikely that Carl A. Furr Elementary students were exposed to COVID-19 at the school.

To stop the spread, Carl A. Furr Elementary has: performed an enhanced deep cleaning, transitioned the feeding site program to another school and prohibited staff to come onsite for the next 14 days. An additional cleaning will take place when the school prepares to reopen.