CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 4.1 million people worldwide -- including at least 1.32 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: (2:30 p.m.)
South Carolina Task Force (4:30 p.m.)
White House Task Force: (4 p.m.)
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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 15,045 Monday. North Carolina is now reporting 550 deaths, 195,865 completed tests and 464 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 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.
- CDC: Tracking Cases in the U.S. here
- NC Dept. of Health & Human Services
- WSOC Special Section: Tracking Coronavirus
- WHO: Advice for the Public
- WHO: Q&A
Live, local updates from Monday:
Seniors in Union County Public Schools will pick up caps and gowns this week via a drive-thru format.
UCPS has not made a decision about graduation ceremonies. The senior/parent graduation survey ended last week and staff is reviewing the feedback. Once a decision is made, information will be communicated to students, parents and the larger community.
Weddington High School
Monday, May 11, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sun Valley High School
Wednesday, May 13, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monroe High School
Thursday, May 14, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Central Academy of Technology and Arts
Thursday, May 14, from 2 – 4 p.m.
The White House is recommending that all nursing home residents and staff be tested for the coronavirus in the next two weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, told governors on a video conference call Monday that it’s the federal government’s strong recommendation that such testing be done.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, told governors to focus over the next two weeks on testing all 1 million nursing home residents. She says the White House will help states that need it.
Atrium Health and Cabarrus Health Alliance will host multiple Coronavirus community testing locations this week. Tuesday May 12, at Kannapolis YMCA, Wednesday, May 13, at Central Cabarrus High School, Thursday May 16, at A. L. Brown High School, and Friday, May 15, at Living Water Church of God.
For more information on community testing please visit their website at: atriumhealth.org/getscreened.
Caldwell County reported its first COVID-19-related death. In this case, the patient was under the age of 65 and had no reported underlying conditions.
“The loss of any patient is tragic, and this death points to the importance of taking every precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Caldwell County Public Health Director Anna Martin.
U.S. death toll from COVID-19 crosses 80,000 as global cases continue to climb.
Rep. Alma Adams Releases Virtual Graduation Message
Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), released a virtual graduation message for members of the Class of 2020 today.
“Graduates, under normal circumstances this ceremony would be with your friends and your family; your teachers, mentors, and classmates. We’d be meeting outside on a sunny day or in a gymnasium or auditorium on campus. You’d be hearing words of encouragement, or celebration; or soaring narratives that point to your bright future and your potential,” said Congresswoman Adams via video. “As we all know, that’s not the world that we’re living in today. But this tragedy, this crisis has shown me more than just your potential – it has demonstrated your character.”
The full remarks are below:
I’m Congresswoman Alma Adams, and I am honored to address you today.
Graduates, under normal circumstances this ceremony would be with your friends and your family; your teachers, mentors, and classmates.
We’d be meeting outside on a sunny day or in a gymnasium or auditorium on campus. You’d be hearing words of encouragement, or celebration; or soaring narratives that point to your bright future and your potential.
As we all know, that’s not the world that we’re living in today. But this tragedy, this crisis has shown me more than just your potential – it has demonstrated your character.
Inventive high school students put on a virtual prom and got DJ Jazzy Jeff on the ones and twos. Students from around the world put together an online graduation in Minecraft.
Students at Bennett College, where I taught for 40 years, banded together to ask for and plan a virtual graduation this weekend instead of waiting for an event at a future date.
Bennett’s president said, “The ceremony is almost more important than the piece of paper ... You’ve worked so hard ... and having that moment when you get to be celebrated is very important.”
I would add that what’s more important than the ceremony or the piece of paper are the experiences and the education you leave with. After four years of hard work, late nights, cups of coffee, and maybe a couple of things you’d rather not hear your Auntie Alma talk about, you have earned the right to be recognized as a graduate wherever you go.
So, as we work for our country to go back to normal, don’t regret anything about this crisis; instead, cherish the gifts that you have: a great education, a diploma, and yes – your bright future and your potential.
God Bless you, and best of luck as you venture out into the World.
Adams has represented North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte) since 2014 and has served on the House Committee on Agriculture since 2015, where she serves as Vice Chair of the committee. Additionally, she has served on the Education & Labor Committee since 2015 and as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee since 2019. She has served on the Financial Services Committee since 2019. Prior to her Congressional career, Adams was an educator for four decades.
Child Care Facilities in the COVID-19 Phased Reopening
Now that the state has entered Phase 1 of Governor Cooper’s reopening plan, child care facilities may begin to reopen. Safe child care is an important component that enables parents to return to work knowing their child will be well cared for.
Parents and child care centers should understand the requirements of reopening in Phase 1. Child care providers that wish to reopen their facility should complete the COVID-19 Child Care Reopening Application at least 48 hours before reopening.
The COVID-19 Child Care Center ReOpening - Step by Step Instructions (PDF) will guide facilities through a process that provides consultation on a plan to meet the updated health and safety guidelines and answers questions about reopening. Providers who have remained open and completed a COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application will not need to fill out this application unless they closed after submitting their emergency application.
Child care centers will also need to demonstrate the ability to meet the updated health and safety guidelines (updated May 6, 2020) established by NC Department of Health and Human Services. Once this is accomplished, the facility will be recognized with a “COVID-19 Health and Safety Certificate,” which is required to be displayed.
Gov. Henry McMaster Announces Additional Businesses, Gyms, Pools are able to open Monday, May 18
Governor Henry McMaster today announced that close contact service providers, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, and public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18.
Close contact service providers include the following businesses: Barbershops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services.
Commercial gyms will include group exercise facilities such as yoga studios, barre classes, and others.
“With our increased capacity for testing the people of our state, it is time to responsibly and gradually get these small businesses back up and running,” said McMaster. “We have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by reinvigorating our economy while staying safe, but we can only do that if South Carolinians continue to follow the advice and recommendations of our public health experts.”
The governor’s announcement comes following nearly three weeks of accelerateSC meeting, in part, for the purpose of developing guidelines for operations that each of these businesses are expected to follow, if and when they choose to open.
The “Response” component of accelerateSC, with advice and recommendations from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), have developed general guidelines for close contact service providers, along with specific guidelines for cosmetology establishments, gyms and fitness centers, and public or commercial pools.
These guidelines include, but are not limited to the following:
- Guidance on social distancing within businesses, including recommended capacity requirements
- Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
- Additional guidance on health checks for employees
- Additional guidance on training for employees
Burke County Reports Two More Deaths
Burke County Public Health was notified today and is reporting the 12th and 13th COVID-19 associated death in Burke County. The individuals in their 60’s and 80’s was not hospitalized but died from complications associated with their underlying medical conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about the patients will be released.
“We are deeply saddened to have to report two additional deaths within our county. Each death deeply impacts families within our community. We want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of these individuals”, said Burke County Health Director Rebecca McLeod. "It is imperative for residents to know that as the governor begins to open more businesses, it is still important to follow the recommendations of Wear, a cloth face covering when out in public and cannot physically distance yourself from others, Wait at least six feet away from others and Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.”
Mayor’s new mobility task force to hold first meeting on Thursday
Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt will lead Mayor Vi Lyles’ mobility task force. The group will meet virtually Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Mayor’s new mobility task force to hold first meeting on Thursday
At the direction of Mayor Vi Lyles, the Charlotte Moves Task Force has formed to address mobility and transportation issues in Charlotte.
The task force will advise the City of Charlotte in the creation of a new Strategic Mobility Plan that integrates and updates current vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, transit and safety plans, and sets mobility goals for the city and immediate region. As key community representatives, members will be guiding forces in shaping the Strategic Mobility Plan’s vision and turning that vision into a reality.
The task force is led by former Mayor Harvey Gantt and comprises 24 members from across the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area who represent business, government, transportation and planning, education, nonprofits and more.
“Developing mobility solutions that improve opportunities for using public transit, walking and biking in our neighborhoods is more important now than ever,” Gantt said. “These solutions should involve our community. I am glad to serve as chair of the Charlotte Moves Task Force, established by Mayor Vi Lyles, to determine a path for implementing a comprehensive and sustainable mobility plan to connect Charlotte seamlessly with our immediate region.”
The Charlotte Moves Task Force will work to bring the vision of a comprehensive Strategic Mobility Plan into fruition by:
- Conducting extensive community engagement during its meetings.
- Analyzing existing transit and transportation plans, including the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan, the Charlotte WALKS pedestrian plan, and the Charlotte BIKES plan.
- Assessing the public’s appetite for a more efficient and sustainable mobility network.
- Determining funding needs and mechanisms for implementing the Strategic Mobility Plan.
- Recommending a catalytic network of projects and a funding strategy to the Charlotte City Council.
The task force will meet from 6-8:30 p.m. once a month, May through December. It is currently not scheduled to meet in July. The first meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, May 14. The public can watch the May meeting live on the city’s YouTube channel. The full meeting schedule is available on charlottenc.gov.
During their first meeting, members will discuss the task force’s charge, and hear presentations from city staff regarding the Strategic Mobility Plan; the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which will guide Charlotte’s growth and development for the next 20 years; and the Strategic Energy Action Plan, which sets aggressive municipal and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
Residents are invited to send their questions and comments for the Charlotte Moves Task Force to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chromebooks and hotspots will be available to students in grades 4-12 at Ranson Middle, Westerly Hills Academy and Nations Ford Elementary from Tuesday, May 12, through Friday, May 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Caldwell County Reports First COVID-19 Death
Caldwell County Public Health learned today about the first confirmed death in the county due to the COVID-19.
"It is with heavy hearts that we report the first death in Caldwell County. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," said Anna Martin, Public Health Director. "While tragic, this first death in Caldwell County due to COVID-19 emphasizes the importance of staying at home and social distancing to slow the spread of this virus."
COVID-19 remains a serious situation in Caldwell County and residents are encouraged to comply with the statewide orders.
“It is our goal to slow the spread of the virus in our community. We encourage everyone to help us by following all public health orders,” said Martin.
Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:
- Wear a cloth face covering
- Wait 6-feet apart and avoid close contact.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will now share the number of residents who recovered from COVID-19. They currently estimate that 9,115 have recovered out of 15,045 cases.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said at a media briefing that an estimated 9,115 North Carolinians have recovered from COVID-19.
In order to reach that number, Cohen said officials estimated a median time for recoveries -- 14 days for a person who was not hospitalized for COVID-19 to recover and 28 days for a person who was hospitalized.
“This is an estimate,” Cohen stressed. “A patient’s recovery time could be longer or shorter.”
Cohen said officials based their estimation on guidance from the World Health Organization and in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We do hope to continue to learn more about this virus as we work with our research community, as we work with other states and countries,” Cohen said.
Cohen also stressed that wearing face coverings, washing hands and maintaining proper social distancing are still critical during the Phase 1 reopening of the state, which began Friday afternoon.
“We’ve done a great job at keeping the virus low in North Carolina, but we want to continue to be vigilant to protect our friends and neighbors,” Cohen said. “I saw a lot of people out, but not a lot of people wearing a face covering, and that was concerning.”
Cohen said the reason for wearing face coverings in public is because the virus can spread when people don’t have symptoms.
“It’s possible for you to have COVID-19 and not know it, and therefore you could be spreading the virus and not know it,” Cohen said.
However, she added that wearing a face covering is not a substitute for washing hands and keeping six feet of distance between other people.
“We need to do all three together to allow us to slow the spread of the virus,” Cohen said.
For example, when gathering for worship services, Cohen said health officials urge faith leaders to have their congregations gather outdoors if possible.
“We don’t want to interrupt anyone’s ability to let folks worship,” Cohen said.
However, if it is impossible for a congregation to hold outdoor services, Cohen suggested keeping services to under 10 people, streaming services online, putting attendees in multiple rooms and staggering attendee seating.
Loaves & Fishes Awarded $10,000 Donation
Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance announce a $10,000 donation to Loaves & Fishes – nominated by Skip Tappy of Hood Hargett & Associates – as part of an Emergency Community Support Grant to help independent insurance agents give back to their local community during the COVID-19 crisis. The donation will go directly to Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a week’s worth of groceries to people within the community facing economic hardship.
“My team and I have recognized the hard work and dedication performed by Loaves & Fishes during this pandemic and we are incredibly thankful for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance for providing extra funds to help the community when we need it most,” said Skip Tappy with Hood Hargett & Associates. “Loaves & Fishes clients have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the $10,000 donation will help the nonprofit organization continue to make a difference in the community they serve.”
Loaves & Fishes will use all funds received to purchase healthy nonperishable foods to create and distribute food boxes to local residents in need. Each food box contains a seven-day supply of food for one person, and households receive one box for each person in the home.
“The goal of the Emergency Community Support Grants is to help our independent agents make an immediate impact during this critical time in the local communities where they live and work,” said Alexis Holzer, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance Independent Agent Giving Program Manager.
The Charlotte community can get involved and give back to Loaves & Fishes by making a monetary donation to help pay for any of the food box expenses. For more information, visit www.loavesandfishes.org.
Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance have a rich history in supporting local and national causes on the corporate level with the Liberty Mutual Foundation, Safeco Foundation, the employee involvement program Liberty Torchbearers, as well as through its Independent Agent Giving programs. In addition to $1 million for the emergency community support grants, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance already committed to invest $375,000 into local nonprofits in 2020 through the Independent Agent Giving programs, Make More Happen and Change Agents.
For more information, visit www.agentgiving.com.
Updates from Mecklenburg County’s business reopening committee 1 p.m. meeting:
County Manager Dena Diorio said she went to SouthPark Mall this weekend. She said not a lot of stores were open and she didn’t see a lot of masks being worn.
Diorio said she and County Health Director Gibbie Harris spoke to Sen. Thom Tillis this morning. She said Tillis suggested a policy where businesses could refuse service to customers who don’t wear a mask. Diorio doesn’t think a mask requirement is possible at this point though.
Andy Ellen with the NC Retail Merchants Association said he has two fears about a requirement: Small businesses may not want to require them out of fear of boycotts, and young employees being put into difficult situations having to refuse service to people refusing to wear a mask.
Harris said 2,129 residents have tested positive to date, 63 residents have died and 12 long term care facilities have outbreaks. Everyone who died because of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County was over 50 years old. All but four of them were over 60, Harris said.
Harris said the county’s percentage of positive tests is stable. The county was at 7.5% last week. The goal is under 10%. The county is also seeing a slight decrease in hospitalizations. Harris said we won’t know the impact of last weekend’s reopening until a week or two from today.
Mohammad Jenatian of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance is asking for the county to perform a targeted campaign toward young people encouraging them to wear face coverings.
The general manager of Carowinds is seeking guidance on how they can operate. Half of the park is in York County. The other half is in Mecklenburg County. Diorio thinks Carowinds will be part of Phase 3 in NC but SC will likely be quicker to reopen.
The county is going to prepare guidance for Phase 2 businesses on how they can reopen safely.
Commissioner Mark Jerrell said Charlotte’s undocumented community needs to know they can get tested for COVID-19. He said the county needs to increase messaging on this.
Two COVID-19 positive York County residents died this weekend, according to the county coroner. The deaths were reported to the Coroner’s Office per standing protocols.
Both decedents were elderly with preexisting medical conditions and were being treated at a local hospital. Both were from the Rock Hill area.
These two deaths bring the total number of reported COVID-19 deaths in York County to 8.
Novant Health partners with NC MedAssist to provide over-the-counter medicine to west Charlotte
NC MedAssist is partnering with Novant Health to provide care packages containing over-the-counter medicine to residents in west Charlotte.
“The initial plan was to hold a Mobile Free Pharmacy event in West Charlotte, which would typically serve 600 – 800 families and individuals, but with the onset of COVID-19, we had to think of another innovative way to distribute the much needed over-the-counter medicine” said Misty Moore, Senior Development Director at NC MedAssist. “We understand there is a pressing need, right now, so we came together with Novant Health to create an OTC Medicine Drop targeting that area”.
Unlike the regular Mobile Free Pharmacy event which takes place over a five-hour timeframe, the OTC Drop allows safety-net organizations to continue to serve the community over a longer span of time. Some organizations will receive pre-made bags with OTC items specific to the individuals they serve, and others will receive large boxes of sorted medicine.
Dr. Jerome Williams, SVP Consumer Engagement with Novant Health said, “There is such a need in the community right now that we did not want to delay providing over-the-counter medicine. Our hope is to provide much-needed support to the area and let them know we will continue to be here post COVID-19.”
NCDHHS has released updated data on COVID-19 for the state:
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 15,045 cases of COVID-19 in 99 counties. That is up 281 from Sunday. Avery County is the only county in North Carolina to not see any cases of coronavirus so far.
There have been three new deaths attributed to COVID-19 since Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 550.
3,730 tests were completed in the last 24 hours.
NCDHHS reported that 464 people remain hospitalized and 195,865 tests have been completed.
Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in both cases and deaths with 2,134 and 62 respectively.
Confirmed cases by age:
65 or older (21%)
COVID-19 deaths by age:
65 or older (86%)
Cases by race:
Cases by gender:
(Men account for 53% of deaths)
Cases and deaths in congregate living settings:
There have been 63 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, resulting in 2,157 cases and 279 deaths (Anson, Burke (2), Cabarrus; Cleveland; Iredell; Mecklenburg (7); Rowan (4); Union (2)).
There have been 23 outbreaks at residential care facilities across the state, resulting in 389 cases and 44 deaths (Cabarrus (2); Mecklenburg (5); Stanly; Union).
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 confirmed cases? Last week was up slightly but Monday’s numbers are lower than they have been in the last week.
Decrease in percent of positive tests? 9 percent of the tests reported Friday were positive. That was the highest percent since April 30. That percentage fell back down to around 7 percent over the weekend.
Hospitalizations decreasing? We are level. The number increased by 22 Monday but Dr. Cohen has said this is level.
Testing capacity? The state did not meet its goal in the last 24 hours.
Contract tracers? Have not met this goal. The state still only has 250 and is working to double this workforce to 500.
PPE Supplies? The state does not have enough gowns to handle 30 days, however, the state now reports it does have enough N-95 masks.
The North Carolina Division of Employment Security has now had 1,112,790 unemployment claims filed since March 15.
More than $1 billion in unemployment funds have been paid out. There were 5,822 claims filed on Sunday, relatively low compared to many of the one-day total claims since mid-March.
The more-than-1-million claims have been filed by 853,407 people.
The AHL’s board of governors has voted to cancel the remainder of the season.
“The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health & safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families. We all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.”
The AHL’s standings – sorted by points percentage – and statistics as of March 12, 2020, are considered final and official. The reigning Calder Cup champs finish 6th in the Eastern Conference.
Senators Seek Clarity on Worship Service Rules
Eighteen North Carolina senators wrote Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday seeking clarity on his orders regarding worship services.
The text of the letter is copied below. See the full letter here.
Dear Governor Cooper,
Pursuant to Section 6(A) of Executive Order 138 issued earlier this week, you have prohibited North Carolinians from congregating in “mass gatherings” of more than ten people in any confined indoor or outdoor space. Unlike prior executive orders issued during the COVID-19 crisis, you have excluded worship services and other activities protected by the First Amendment from the definition of mass gatherings and permitted those activities to proceed. We commend your decision to allow worship services to proceed. The right to worship is protected by the First Amendment and should never be infringed. Particularly during the time of this crisis, people are relying on their faith and the support of their church families.
However, Section 6(C) of Executive Order 138 provides that any worship services or other protected First Amendment activities excluded from your definition of mass gatherings “shall take place outdoors unless impossible.” Many faith leaders and other constituents who are eager to resume worship services this Sunday have reached out to our offices with confusion of what conditions make an outdoor worship service “impossible.”
Is a worship service impossible in the event of severe weather, light rain, strong wind, heat or cold? Is it impossible if a particular church lacks access to a suitable outdoor space to conduct a worship service for its congregation? Is it impossible to conduct a worship service outside if the audio, visual or other equipment necessary to conduct the service cannot be moved outside or is otherwise at risk of damage if moved outside?
On behalf of our concerned constituents, we request immediate clarification of what conditions make it “impossible” for a worship service to take place outside so that our churches and faith organizations can make plans for the exercise of
their First Amendment rights this weekend without fear of potential criminal penalties if they don’t reach the correct interpretation of “impossible.”
Thank you for your timely consideration.
Kannapolis city officials said the collection of white goods (appliances) and electronic waste will resume Monday after it was suspended in March due to COVID-19.
Kannapolis contracts Waste Management to collect garbage, recycling, bulky goods, electronic waste and white goods.
Officials said trash collection, recycling and yard debris pickup will be on a normal schedule.
We could find out as early as Monday South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s next plans to reopen South Carolina businesses.This decision will likely be welcome for many people struggling to cut their hair at home or find a safe way to work out.
The State newspaper in Columbia said the Accelerate SC Task Force has been working on possible recommendations for “close-contact” businesses such as hair salons and gyms."
Monday, we’re expected to learn when they could reopen and exactly what rules they will have to follow.
In addition, South Carolina will start allowing indoor seating at restaurants Monday.
Restaurants will have to follow strict guidelines such as keeping tables and chairs six to eight feet apart and operating at 50 percent capacity.
5:46 p.m. (Sunday)
Mecklenburg County is reporting 2,106 positive coronavirus cases and 63 deaths due to the virus.
5:03 p.m. (Sunday)
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 113 new cases of the coronavirus and one additional death.
This brings the total number of positive cases in South Carolina to 7,653 and those who have died to 331.
The death was an elderly person from Marion County.