Nearly 3.3 million people worldwide -- including more than one 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
***Possible news conferences scheduled for today***
Mecklenburg County: (TBA)
North Carolina Task Force: (2 p.m.)
South Carolina Task Force (TBA)
White House Task Force: (TBA)
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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 reached 10,923 Friday. North Carolina is now reporting 399 deaths, 133,832 completed tests and 547 people currently in the hospital.
- 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.
Health officials reported the ninth COVID-19 related death in Burke County.
Officials said the person was in their 80′s and had underlying medical conditions.
A state judge is demanding that North Carolina’s prison system provide detailed information about how it’s trying prevent the spread of the new coronavirus among offenders.
Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier ordered on Friday the information for a lawsuit that seeks to get released prisoners at high risk for COVID-19 and those near the end of their sentences.
More than 600 offenders in the state prison system have tested positive for COVID-19.
State prison leaders have blocked visitations and limited prisoner movements and are allowing some inmates out of prison early to finish serving their sentence under community supervision.
Effective Friday, May 1, the Rowan County Register of Deeds will resume Passport Services with the following restrictions:
- Masks are required before entry into office
- Office access is restricted to applicants only
Number of COVID-19 cases top 3.3 million worldwide, while more than 1 million people have since recovered from the virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has updated their page with case counts and deaths at congregate care facilities. This update includes separate counts for residents and staff. CLICK HERE for more information.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said Friday the mandatory home-and-work order will be lifted Monday. Outside dining at restaurants will be allowed.
He is also removing restrictions for short-term rentals from hotspots, such as New York, New Jersey and other places.
The governor also announced that he has lifted Executive Order 2020-19 because CDC guidance identifying “hotspots” throughout the country, which constituted the basis upon which short term rental companies were to deny reservations, has since lapsed and was not renewed. The governor has also lifted Executive Order 2020-14, which required individuals entering the state from the same “hotspots” to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Governor McMaster and state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell strongly urged anyone considered to be “at-risk” based on CDC guidance to limit exposure to others and for all South Carolinians to continue prioritizing their travels between home and work, when possible. Anybody who is sick or is showing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately contact a healthcare provider and self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
“Our goal from the onset of this deadly pandemic has been to protect South Carolinians, but as we all know, the state’s economic health is a major component of the state’s public health,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “South Carolinians, now more than ever, should be vigilant in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities by practicing social distancing and continuing to follow the advice and recommendations from our public health experts.”
“This virus will continue to spread and still presents a very real and serious threat to our people, but I believe in South Carolinians and their ability to act wisely and safely,” the governor continued. “We are a strong, resilient, and compassionate people who care for one another and will act in the best interest of our state as a whole.”
The governor’s announcement follows a week of meetings of AccelerateSC – a group created by the governor to develop a coordinated economic revitalization plan which includes healthcare professionals, representatives from large and small businesses, local government officials, and education professionals.
Based on advice and recommendations from DHEC and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, Governor McMaster has established the following guidelines for restaurants to follow if they choose to open for outdoor seating.
Existing approved outdoor seating areas:
- Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
- Limit table groups to 8 individuals;
- Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area;
- Maintain strict social/physical distancing guidelines;
- Tables, chairs, and seats should be sanitized after every customer
If open areas and/or temporary tents are utilized by existing, permitted restaurants, all sides of the tent must be open and the following conditions are required:
- Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
- Table groups are to be limited to 8 individuals;
- State approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area;
- Minimum of 7-foot-6 inch head room (ceiling height)
These guidelines, along with a list of frequently asked questions, can be found here.
Additional guidance that restaurants are expected to follow, should they choose to open, have been provided by the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association and can be found here
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 160 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and 12 additional deaths were reported to DHEC.
This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 6,258 and those who have died to 256.
Eleven of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Greenville (1), Clarendon (3), Florence (1), Horry (1), Orangeburg (1), Richland (1), Spartanburg (1), and Williamsburg (2) counties. One occurred in a middle-aged individual from Spartanburg (1) county. CLICK HERE to read more.
Burke County is currently at 106 positive cases. The cases consist of both traveling 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.
Update from Burke County Commissioner Chair, Johnnie Carswell regarding updated State of Emergency for Burke County: The change to the State of Emergency for Burke County, effective as of May 1 no longer requires the suspension of rentals, as it pertains to the rental of lodging facilities, including Airbnb rentals, bed and breakfast rentals, VRBO vacation rentals by owners, campgrounds, timeshare units, condominiums, and other rental programs or places where leases or rentals are for less than one (1) month in duration, provided the owners, operators and renters of said facilities strictly adhere to all virus spreading prevention strategies such as wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control.
Data for Mecklenburg County COVID-19 Cases
As of today, there are 1,654 cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with 50 deaths due to COVID-19 among Mecklenburg County residents. Data from two days ago is listed below.
On April 29, 2020, there were 1,587 cases of COVID-19 and 46 deaths due to COVID-19 among county residents reported to Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH).
MCPH provides these routine updates about reported cases of COVID-19 to help our community better understand how this pandemic is developing in our county. These results only reflect laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among county residents. Many individuals infected by COVID-19 have not been tested because they are asymptomatic or do not meet current CDC recommendations for testing. As such, these results are very fluid and only represent a fraction of the true burden of COVID-19 in our community.
Daily case counts provided by MCPH may differ from state and federal counts due to delays in reporting to the various entities. MCPH updates case counts after an initial case review and, where possible, a patient interview is conducted, which includes confirming county residency. Cases reported after 5:00 PM are counted in the following day’s case count.
Based on recent guidance from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), MCPH now provides the names of facilities actively experiencing an outbreak. Similar to reported cases of COVID-19, our counts of cases and deaths connected to these outbreaks may differ from state counts due to delays in reporting, timing of investigations and residency status of residents or staff. To avoid conflicting data, MCPH will rely on NC DHHS for public reporting of the COVID-19 case counts and deaths connected with these outbreaks.
Highlights about the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County as of April 29, 2020 include:
- About 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old.
- About 1 in 6 reported cases were hospitalized due to their COVID-19 infection. While everyone is at risk for severe COVID-19 complications, reported cases who were older adults (≥ 60 years) were four times more likely to be hospitalized compared to younger individuals.
- About 2 in 3 reported cases have met CDC criteria to be released from isolation.
- During the past week, an average of 70 individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections were hospitalized at acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County. This represents a slight decrease over the last 14 days. These data are based on daily census counts from acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County reporting to MCPH.
- During the past week, an average of 9 percent of individuals who were tested were positive for COVID-19. This represents a slight decrease over the last 14-days. These data only include tests conducted by Atrium Health and Novant Health.
- 46 deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases.
- Almost all deaths were among older adults (≥ 60 years), 3 deaths were adults ages 50 to 59.
- All deaths occurred among adults with underlying chronic illnesses.
- Almost all were hospitalized.
- More than half were male.
- More than half were non-Hispanic Whites.
NC Restaurant & Lodging Association Urges Gov. Cooper to Reopen Restaurants
The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the trade association behind NC’s $32.4 billion hospitality industry, sent a letter to NC Governor Roy Cooper on April 30 urging him to allow restaurants to begin to offer social-distanced patio and dine-in service as soon as possible. To help prepare restaurants for reopening, NCRLA today introduced the “North Carolina Restaurant Promise” — a list of public health commitments made by restaurants and guests — along with an associated training program developed by NC State University reflecting CDC guidance and best practices.
“We recognize that COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, and we appreciate Gov. Cooper’s leadership in navigating North Carolina through this emergency,” said Lynn Minges, president and CEO of NCRLA. “Much of our state’s economy has been shut down by the pandemic and subsequent executive orders, and North Carolina businesses and the people who work in them are hurting — none more than restaurants and hospitality. The 550,000 members of our community are ready to get back to work.”
North Carolina’s restaurants are in trouble. They have been the most devastated of any industry, with the current prohibitions on dine-in service leading to more than 300,000 restaurant employees being laid off or furloughed and nearly 70% of all restaurant locations closed or operating at very limited capacity. With each passing day, the outlook becomes more dire for these businesses to survive.
In a recent survey of NCRLA member restaurants:
- 77% said their sales were down 70% or more
- Only 35% of those who applied for the PPP federal relief program received loans. The majority — 65% who applied — did not receive loans
- 65% of those surveyed said their business wouldn’t re-open if it remained closed for two months or more
- Only 35% or restaurants surveyed said they could survive a business closure of more than two months
North Carolina restaurants, working closely and in partnership with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and local health inspectors that regulate our industry, have always operated with an intense focus on safety — food safety, employee safety, and guest safety. NC restaurants are currently offering carryout, drive-thru, and delivery, helping to meet food needs and offering a glimmer of relief and normalcy to customers. As businesses across the state begin to reopen, restaurants are able to safely offer patio and dine-in service, with appropriate social-distancing and other procedures to keep employees and guests safe.
NCRLA has been working diligently with public health experts and restaurants of all sizes to develop standards that can be adopted statewide to allow for a safe and thoughtful reopening. This collaborative effort, led by more than 60 restaurateurs from across the state and representing every sector of the foodservice industry, culminated with the North Carolina Restaurant Promise. All parties involved in developing this strategy recognize that safe reopening depends on a partnership between businesses and their customers. The effort is centered around a COVID-19 training program for restaurant employees developed in concert with state officials and leading food safety experts.
“With an eager eye toward reopening restaurants, we have taken the proactive step of developing the NC Restaurant Promise so we can hit the ground running when the Governor gives the green light,” said Minges. “While we know that reopening measures may come with capacity restrictions that may not be workable for many restaurants, limited dining room service and patio service can be a bridge for some establishments as we work to get back to normal operations.”
Reopening restaurants in mid-May for patio and dine-in service could be the difference between survival and permanent closure for many restaurants. North Carolina restaurants pledge to do everything in their power to operate with a heightened focus on health, hygiene, sanitization and safety — for employees, guests, and communities. In addition to developing the NC Restaurant Promise training, NCRLA has worked with the National Restaurant Association to produce “Reopening Guidance: A Guide for the Restaurant Industry," a manual developed by an expert panel including Dr. Ben Chapman of NC State University.
Above all, NCRLA is committed to a sustained recovery, and will continue to work closely with businesses, policymakers, customers, and allied partners to ensure that the re-opening of patio and dine-in service is as safe and successful as possible. NCRLA looks forward to the day when restaurants can again be the cornerstones of our communities, providing essential jobs while helping revive North Carolina’s economic engine so our state can continue to offer the essential services necessary to so many.
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Safety Alert for Restaurant, Food and Beverage Businesses Providing Curbside Pickup and Takeout Service
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert with safety tips for restaurant, and food and beverage businesses to protect their workers from coronavirus exposure while they provide curbside pickup and takeout service.
OSHA recommends these businesses implement the following:
- Reserve parking spaces near the front door for curbside pickup only.
- Avoid direct hand-off, when possible.
- Display a door or sidewalk sign with the services available (e.g., take-out, curbside), instructions for pickup, and hours of operation.
- Practice sensible social distancing by maintaining 6 feet between co-workers and customers. Mark 6-foot distances with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage customers to pay ahead of time by phone or online, temporarily move workstations to create more distance and install plexiglass partitions, if feasible.
- Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
- Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
The Laurels of Salisbury is Rowan County’s fourth nursing home with a COVID-19 outbreak.
NCDHHS has released updated data on COVID-19 for the state:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 10,923 cases of COVID-19 in 98 counties. That is up 414 from Thursday.
There have been 21 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 since Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 399.
NCDHHS reported that 547 people remain hospitalized and 133,832 tests have been completed.
Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in both cases and deaths with 1,651 and 49 respectively.
Confirmed cases by age:
65 or older (24%)
COVID-19 deaths by age:
65 or older (86%)
Cases by race:
Cases by gender:
(Men account for 58% of deaths)
Cases and deaths in congregate living settings:
There have been 52 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, resulting in 1,778 cases and 181 deaths (Burke (2); Cabarrus; Cleveland; Iredell; Mecklenburg (6); Rowan (4); Union (2)).
There have been 21 outbreaks at residential care facilities across the state, resulting in 357 cases and 36 deaths (Cabarrus (2); Mecklenburg (6); Stanly; Union).
North Carolina has paid out more than $1 billion in unemployment claims since March 15.
The Department of Employment Security (DES) said it has paid 391,200 unemployed North Carolina citizens. However, 963,403 people have applied for assistance.
More than 811,000 people specifically cited COVID-19 as the reason for their job loss.
According to DES, State Unemployment Insurance has paid $392,602,674, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation has paid $567,278,816, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance has paid $59,114,191.
A ceremonial flyover is taking place to honor eastern North Carolina health workers.
F-15 fighter jets from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will take off Friday morning and fly south to Wilmington, north through Jacksonville, Kinston and Greenville, and then loop back around past Wilson, Clayton, Smithfield, and Goldsboro.
The jets are scheduled to fly over Wilson Medical Center around 10 a.m.
Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio will present, virtually, the FY2021 recommended budget Friday at 11 a.m.
Charlotte-area Simon malls will reopen May 8. This includes Concord Mills, SouthPark Mall and the Charlotte Premium Outlets.
Dozens of people are expected to rally in uptown on Friday, demanding that Mecklenburg County reopens soon.
Local and state leaders have said they are hopeful they can start reopening in a week, but that’s not soon enough for the protesters who will be out at Trade and Tryon Friday morning.
They want everything reopened now, including restaurants and other businesses.
Everyone who participates in the rally is asked to wear masks, gloves and to stay inside their car.
The ReOpenMeck group started on Facebook. A lot of the members are business owners and employees that are losing income from their lack of work.
The rally is intended to be an offshoot of the ReOpenNC movement we’ve been seeing at the state capitol.
They’re demanding the governor lift the stay-at-home order all at once instead of in phases.
Gov. Cooper says we could see Phase 1 of the state reopening a week from today. But salons, barbershops and restaurant dining wouldn’t be allowed to resume until 2 or 3 weeks after that.
Friday Morning Headlines
There’s an outbreak at the Tyson Foods plant in Wilkes County, less than 90 minutes from Charlotte. Officials haven’t said how many of the more than 2,000 employees are sick, but cases in the county have doubled in just the last week. Tyson says employees are keeping their distance from each other, and they’re required to wear face masks.
This morning, some of you still don’t have your stimulus money, but we now have a full timeline of when everyone should get their checks. Early this month, payments will go out to people who get Social Security retirement and disability benefits, supplemental security income, and VA benefits. That will come in the same way you usually get your monthly check.
As for paper checks, from now through September, the IRS will mail about 5 million checks a week, based on income. Starting today, they’ll be sent to people who make between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. Next Friday, they’ll be mailed to people who make between $30,000 and $40,000.
Your grocery or package delivery may be slow today because of a nationwide strike. Workers at places like Amazon, Whole Foods, and Instacart are upset about work conditions. They say their employers aren’t doing enough to protect them from getting sick. It’s also May Day, and there are usually labor protests on this day.
North Carolina now has at least 10,509 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 378 deaths. Health officials are looking at four key metrics to determine when the state can begin reopening. The metrics include the number of people with symptoms, the number of lab-confirmed cases, the number of cases vs. total tests and the number of hospitalizations.
“Even as we ease restrictions, if you don’t feel safe, it won’t work,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “In order for the people to be with us, there has to be a trust and knowledge that they can feel safe when they work and shop and eat out.”
On Thursday, Cooper said he was ‘optimistic’ that the state could move into Phase 1 of reopening next week. Across the country, 12 states start lifting restrictions Friday.
There is at least one protest planned for Friday in downtown Raleigh. Multiple groups, including “Rolling Rally for Freedom” are scheduled to hold demonstrations. Police put up a large barrier in front of the executive mansion around 5 a.m. in preparation. On Tuesday, four arrests were made during a “ReOpen NC” protest.
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