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Coronavirus local updates: Shut down unlikely even as South Carolina virus cases rise

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly 6.2 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.8 million 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 manage unprecedented patient surges.

>> Scroll below for live, local real-time minute-by-minute updates

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***Possible news conferences scheduled for today***

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Mecklenburg County: (TBA)

North Carolina Task Force: (2 p.m.)

South Carolina Task Force (TBA)

White House Task Force: (TBA)

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>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

[CLICK HERE FOR TODAY’S NATIONAL UPDATES]

[COUNTY-BY-COUNTY COVID-19 RESOURCE GUIDE]

[CORONAVIRUS IN THE CAROLINAS; HERE’S HOW TO STAY INFORMED]

>> 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 29,263 Monday. North Carolina is now reporting 898 deaths, 421,908 completed tests and 650 people currently in the hospital.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force announced the state moved into a “safer-at-home” plan on May 22.
  • Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the home or work order in South Carolina on May 1.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the United States here.

Important Links:

Live, local updates from Monday:

9:45 p.m.

Burke County is currently at 451 positive cases.

The cases consist of traveling, congregate living, and community spread. All positive cases are isolated and Public Health staff continues to investigate the cases and will be locating those close contacts to help contain the spread of the infection.

Numbers noted on the state website may fluctuate during the public health investigations when staff find out that some positive tests are truly not Burke County residents. Numbers listed above are correct numbers for Burke County.

Public information line has been opened Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for those with questions can call 828-764-9388.

7:30 p.m.

There are plenty of signs in the statistics that South Carolina is seeing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. The past three days have seen more than 300 new cases reported, the only days where new cases have topped 300 since the coronavirus was first detected in South Carolina in early March.

A daily record of 20 deaths were reported Wednesday and the seven day average for deaths is also climbing. But Gov. Henry McMaster has suggested in recent days any mass closings in the state for the virus are over and people will need to be responsible for their own health and preventing the spread of the virus.

7:10 p.m.

Mass COVID-19 testing at a second North Carolina state prison has turned up more than 30 additional positive cases of the new coronavirus, the Department of Public Safety said Monday. The prisoners, all labeled as being without symptoms, were among more than 400 offenders tested last Friday at Caswell Correctional Center by the Division of Prisons. Another 374 prisoners there tested negative for the virus that causes COVID-19.

7 p.m.

The Rowan County Public Health Department conducted its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing event today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at West End Plaza. If you missed today’s testing event, there are many additional testing times and locations throughout Rowan County.

6:30 p.m.

Burke County Health Department will be hosting a targeted first come first serve drive thru COVID-19 testing clinic at East Burke Middle School parking lot for individuals that live in the eastern portion of Burke County.

Testing is only for Burke County residents living in towns from Valdese to the eastern county line. (Those that live in these zip code areas 28690, 28671, 28612, 28666, 28637, 28667, 28601 and 28602 Burke County line residents)

5:20 p.m.

Eighteen new cases were reported in Caldwell County today.

Sixteen cases are in the 28645 Zip code, one in the 28638, and one in the 28630. Fifteen patients are between the ages of 25 and 64; two are under age 24; and one is over the age of 65.

The Health Department is working to identify additional close contacts of these individuals and the sources of the exposure.

3:05 p.m.

DHEC today announced 297 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and six additional deaths. This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 12,148 and those who have died to 500.

CLICK HERE for more information.

2:35 p.m.

Burke County health officials report the county’s 16 death associated with COVID-19. The person, who was in their 30’s, died from complications associated with their underlying medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19 later.

2 p.m.

North Carolina health officials held a news conference to discuss its efforts to help marginalized communities during the pandemic.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, began by acknowledging this weekend’s protests. She said that she wants protesters to know their voice is being heard and they are seen.

She said that North Carolina is ramping up its efforts focused on minority communities and that the state is working to build a diverse workforce.

Officials want to create a pool of qualified vendors to support the response to COVID-19. They are looking for candidates who are qualified to do diagnostic and antibody testing including specimen collection and laboratory processing, reserving potential laboratory capacity and contact tracing.

Cohen said the state will give preference to those that meet the service delivery criteria, are minority owned or partners with minority owned subcontractors or have a racially and ethnically diverse workforce with demonstrated cultural and linguistic competency to engage with historically underserved communities.

With Cohen was Senior Deputy Dir. for the North Carolina Division of Public Health Dr. Cardra Burns.

Burns touched on the barriers that minorities face in America. She said her team is laser focused on making sure people of color are represented. She said they want to hire vendors that reflect the community they serve.

According to Burns, health equity and access to nutritious foods are problems in marginalized communities that leaders want to help correct.

Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry also acknowledged the pain and sadness the community is feeling during this time of protests and the pandemic.

He said although he understands the reasons behind the protests, violence and destruction does not serve the collective goal of justice and peace.

Sprayberry went on to discuss the state’s continued efforts to deliver personal protective protective gear to long-term care facilities. He thanked those working to ensure North Carolina counties have the equipment they need to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

He also said today is the first day of hurricane season and encouraged people to add hand sanitizer to their hurricane kits.

He said in the case of an emergency evacuation, already having PPE will help protect yourself and those around you.

Sprayberry said we have to have to plan for hurricane season differently during a pandemic. He said he has asked hotels to participate as non-congregate shelters, which means if people are impacted by storms and have no where to go, they can stay at hotels -- keeping them away from others. He said the state is working to expand the number of places to be used as shelters since typical shelters are off the table due to the pandemic.

Cohen was asked about whether she believes protests will cause an acceleration of COVID-19 cases. She said from what she saw over the weekend, a lot of people were wearing face coverings.

She said she wants people to have their voices heard, but she wants them to do it in a safe way. She said we need to work together to stop COVID-19.

She said if protesters have any symptoms or come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus then they should get tested before protesting.

She said protesters who work in high-exposure areas like grocery stores should also get tested before participating in the rallies.

Cohen also said protesters should wear face coverings while marching and they should also attempt to follow the 3 W’s: wear a face covering, wait 6 feet apart and wash/sanitize hands frequently.


11 a.m.

NCDHHS has released updated data on COVID-19 for the state:

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 674 cases Monday. The state also reported 5,619 more completed tests, exceeding its daily goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests. This brings the total number of completed tests in the state to 421,908.

There have been 12 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 since Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 898.

The state reported 650 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, which is up from 1 on Sunday.

Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in both cases and deaths with at least 4,412 and 92 respectively.

Confirmed cases by age:

0-17 (7%)

18-24 (10%)

25-49 (44%)

50-64 (22%)

65-74 (8%)

75 or older (9%)

COVID-19 deaths by age:

25-49 (4%)

50-64 (12%)

65-74 (20%)

75 or older (63%)

Cases by race:

White: 54%

Black: 30%

Cases by gender:

Women: 51%

Men: 49%

(Men account for 53% of deaths)

Cases and deaths in congregate living settings:

There have been 92 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, resulting in 3,264 cases and 472 deaths (Anson (1), Burke (2); Cabarrus (2); Catawba (2); Cleveland(1); Iredell (2); Mecklenburg (17); Rowan (3); Union (2)).

There have been 44 outbreaks at residential care facilities across the state, resulting in 811 cases and 68 deaths (Cabarrus (2), Catawba(1); Mecklenburg (6); Union (2)).

HOW ARE WE DOING? As the state looks to go through the phases of reopening, officials are looking to meet certain benchmarks. Here’s how we’re doing on some of those

Decrease in percent of positive tests? This metric has been level so far this week, though it increased slightly today with 9% of positive tests. However, it has remained mostly level, around 7 or 8%.

Hospitalizations decreasing? 1 more person was admitted to the hospital for a total of 650, a metric that is much higher than in previous weeks. Still, 26 percent of inpatient beds and 16 percent of ICU beds in the state are available. NCDHHS reports 76 percent of ventilators are available.

Testing capacity? The state exceeded its goal in the last 24 hours.

Contract tracers During a news conference Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has hired nearly all 250 new contact tracers they were contracted to employ. This doubles the state’s number of contact tracers to 500.

PPE Supplies? Though the state still does not have a 30-day supply of surgical gowns on hand, supplies have now reached a 29 day supply--a dramatic increase from a 0 day supply last week. However, the state’s stockpile of N95 respirators has decreased to a 19-day supply.

9:10 a.m.

Lowering Of NC Flags To Half-Staff For Day Of Mourning To Honor Those Who Passed Away From COVID-19

Governor Roy Cooper has ordered all North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff beginning today, Monday, June 1, 2020 through sunset for a Day of Mourning to honor those who passed away from the novel coronavirus. To date, 100,000 Americans including nearly 1,000 North Carolinians have lost their lives due to COVID-19. As a tribute to these many individuals and their families, all North Carolinians are encouraged to honor June 1, 2020 as a Day of Mourning.

More than 100 leaders of faith-based organizations, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim houses of worship from across the country are leading a national moment of silence on June 1 at 12 PM EST. Local and state leaders throughout the nation are joining the call for silence including the National Governors Association and the United States Conference of Mayors.

Statement from Governor Roy Cooper:

“This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that our death count is not just a number, it represents people, communities and families in mourning. I encourage North Carolinians to join in this moment of silence in honor of the people we have lost and their loved ones who are struggling in the wake of this cruel virus.”

As a show of respect, individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the duration of time indicated.

Please note, all North Carolina flag announcements are issued in accordance to regulations outlined in the US Flag Code.

5:30 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared Monday a day of mourning for coronavirus victims.

There will be a moment of silence at noon and flags in the state will fly at half staff. Other states are expected to observe the day of mourning as well.

Also happening on Monday, protesters have planned to rally at a Morganton chicken plant with a confirmed outbreak of COVID-19.

Case Farms has had at least two people test positive. Earlier this month, workers told Channel 9 the company was taking extra precautions.

Monday morning, members of Asheville Animal Save will demand better work conditions for employees and ask Case Farms for transition to non-meat products.

5:16 p.m. (Sunday)

Mecklenburg County is reporting 3,962 positive coronavirus cases and 93 deaths due to the virus.

4:43 p.m. (Sunday)

Officials are reporting seven additional coronavirus cases in Caldwell County.

This brings the total number of cases in the county to 143.

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