Coronavirus local updates: Morganton Lowe’s employee tests positive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 2.9 million people worldwide -- including nearly 965,000 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 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: (3 p.m.)

South Carolina Task Force (TBA)

White House Task Force: (5 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 9,142 Monday. North Carolina is now reporting 306 deaths, 109,920 completed tests and 473 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.

Important Links:

Live, local updates from Monday:

10:30 p.m.:

9:30 p.m.:

Correctional Enterprises has produced 148,000 washable cloth face masks. They have been distributed throughout the North Carolina prison system, so every staff member and every offender has at least one to use.

There were 20,000 donated to the Sheriffs' Association for distribution to the staff and offenders in the county jails. Additional face masks have been distributed to juvenile justice.

The face masks are produced at four state prisons and are produced by approximately 150 offenders. Three of the facilities in which the masks are produced: Tabor Correctional, Columbus Correctional and Scotland Correctional. A spokesman said he is working on identifying the fourth prison.

9:15 p.m.

9:05 p.m.:

Lowe’s confirmed a COVID-19 case of an associate at its Morganton store, located at 1224 Burkemont Avenue. The associate has been quarantined and is receiving care. This associate last worked on April 15.

The store remains open and has been extensively cleaned per CDC guidelines.

“In an abundance of caution, associates who had worked closely with this individual over a period of time were placed on a paid leave,” a spokeswoman said.

9 p.m.:

A North Carolina legislative session anticipated months ago to repeat the acrimony from last year’s budget impasse between Republicans and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper begins Tuesday with expectations of consensus to address COVID-19.

The General Assembly will convene its annual session and meet for only a few days, with unprecedented rules to ensure social distancing that include closing the legislative complex to the public.

Legislators, staff and journalists allowed to enter got their temperatures checked by police starting Monday.

7:45 p.m.

(AP) — Four North Carolina nursing homes have each had at least 10 deaths of residents diagnosed with COVID-19.

That comes from new detailed data released on Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services. It names more than 70 long-term facilities, rehabilitation centers, adult care homes and other locations where outbreaks have occurred.

The department hadn’t earlier identified the specific facilities, with officials saying it could break confidentiality rules on patient information. But some county health agencies had released those details anyway. Overall, North Carolina reported more than 9,100 positive cases statewide as of Monday and over 300 deaths.

5:45 p.m.

Upon learning of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at long-term care and congregate living facilities, Cabarrus Health Alliance launches investigations and conducts facility-wide testing.

“Testing within these facilities is critical to protect our residents. Our staff has and will continue to test everyone who lives or works in these facilities as cases are identified as a proactive step to prevent additional spread of the virus,” said Dr. Bonnie Coyle, CHA Health Director.

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

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is now reporting COVID-19 data within congregate living settings in a new weekly report. It can be found here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-nc-case-count#by-congregate-living.

Atrium Rehab

All staff and residents of Atrium Rehab were tested on March 31. 173 tests were administered resulting in 12 positive cases. There has been one death at this facility associated with COVID-19.

Five Oaks

CHA previously tested all 300 staff and residents at Five Oaks Rehab in Concord. 74 tests were positive and there are six deaths associated with COVID-19 at this facility. Today, CHA staff retested all those who originally tested negative at the facility.

Salvation Army

CHA staff conducted testing for Salvation Army shelter residents on April 13 after one initial case was identified. The mass testing resulted in one additional positive case for a total of two. The team worked quickly to appropriately isolate and quarantine residents.


CHA tested all staff and residents of Elmcroft Senior Living in Harrisburg on April 21. A total of 84 tests were administered. NCDHHS currently reports two positive cases at the facility. An additional 12 cases have since been identified and sent to the state. This addition brings the total positive case count to 14.

Suburban Guardianship

All staff and residents of the Veterans Affairs (VA) housing facility of Suburban Guardianship were tested on April 24. They currently have two confirmed cases with the remainder of tests (nine) pending.

5:15 p.m.

Sixth Death in Iredell County Related to COVID-19

The Iredell County Health Department is reporting the sixth death in Iredell County associated with COVID-19. The individual was at higher risk for serious illness and died from complications associated with the novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19. In order to protect the families’ privacy, no further information about this individual will be released.

Moving forward, the Iredell County Health Department will no longer be releasing a statement regarding COVID-19 related deaths. The total number of deaths in Iredell County as a result of COVID-19 can be found on the Iredell County Health Department COVID-19 webpage: https://www.co.iredell.nc.us/1383/CoronavirusCOVID-19

4:50 p.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster Declares New State of Emergency to Continue State’s Response to COVID-19

Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-29, which declares a state of emergency throughout the state and allows for the state’s response to COVID-19 - and the ever-evolving challenges the pandemic presents - to continue.

“South Carolina continues to fight this deadly virus with every asset and resource available,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “While we are making progress, we must remain vigilant with expanding prevention and testing efforts. Our state is also facing an economic disruption and emergency the likes of which we’ve never seen, and we are working tirelessly to get our businesses back up and running and our people back to work as soon and as safely as possible.”

By law, the governor can declare a state of emergency for up to 15 days. His most recent executive order declaring a state of emergency was issued on April 12 and expires today. The governor has now issued four executive orders declaring unique states of emergency based on the changing threats and challenges presented by the virus. Those executive orders, and all others issued by the governor, can be found here.

All existing executive orders issued by the governor will remain in effect with the new state of emergency, unless or until they are otherwise rescinded. While the state of emergency can last for 15 days, the governor can, at any time, rescind individual orders he has issued to respond to the virus’ impact to the state and he will do so in accordance with the advice and recommendations of the state’s public health experts.

4:45 p.m.

SC DHEC just announced 142 new cases of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19, and three additional deaths. Now, the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 5,613 and those who have died to 177.

4:10 p.m.

Frontline Foods Charlotte, a local chapter of a national 501c3 organized under World Central Kitchen, has teamed up with Medic and the Great Balls of Fire Foundation along with other local organizations to feed first responders in Mecklenburg County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline Foods Charlotte kicked off in late March and has since delivered more than 1500 meals to the frontline including first responders and healthcare workers with more being scheduled daily.

“We are very excited to be working in collaboration with Frontline Foods to help support those who are placing themselves in harm’s way to help others not only during these unprecedented times but every day,” said Officer Danny Graham, President of the Great Balls of Fire Foundation.

“Frontline Foods Charlotte has assembled an incredible team of community-minded individuals and chefs. Medic is overjoyed that we now have the opportunity to work in coalition with Frontline Foods and Great Balls of Fire on this phenomenal effort. Working together means reaching more frontline workers as well as greater support for local businesses who are struggling during COVID-19,” stated Greg Pittman, Medic liaison.

In addition to Frontline Foods Charlotte and Great Balls of Fire, current supporters and partners include the Wells Fargo Championship, Charlotte Checkers, NUCOR, The Cowfish, and 106.5 The End.

Those interested in providing support to Mecklenburg County first responders and healthcare workers may visit https://www.frontlinefoods.org/charlotte/ or contact PR@Medic911.com.

4:05 p.m.

As of today, there are 1,491 cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with 43 deaths due to COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County. On Sunday, April 26, 2020, there were 1,468 cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths due to COVID-19 among county residents reported to Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH).

Highlights about the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County as of April 26, 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.
  • More than half of 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 stable trend over the last 14-days with no significant increases or decreases. These data only include tests conducted by Atrium Health and Novant Health.
  • There are 10 long-term care facilities with active COVID-19 outbreaks in Mecklenburg County (based on CDC definition of having 2 or more cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection).
  • Forty deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases.
  • Almost all deaths were among older adults (≥ 60 years), however, there have been 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.
  • Half were non-Hispanic Whites.
  • 15 deaths have occurred among residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Based on publicly available mobility tracking, there has been a sustained increase in social distancing in Mecklenburg County since the Stay at Home Order became effective on March 26, 2020.

4 p.m.

Over the next month, the state of North Carolina will double the number of people trained and employed to trace contacts of those exposed to coronavirus, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said Monday.

Tracing is essentially following in the footsteps of anyone who tests positive for the virus to see where they went, who they interacted with and for how long. The state will need 500 trained tracers by the end of May, Cohen said.

They will be hired in collaboration with Community Care of North Carolina, and Cohen encouraged people with a background in community engagement to apply for those jobs immediately.

3:45 p.m.

Union County Launches Resource Portal “UC CARES”

Union County has launched a new digital portal to help Union County residents quickly find support resources that may help them through impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The portal is called UC CARES, which is an acronym for Union County Community Assistance & Resources Emergency Support. The portal also serves as an avenue for residents to learn ways to help others through donations or volunteering. UC CARES is organized by “Get Help” and “Give Help;” and resources may be easily navigated by topic.

“We are here to serve our residents and a component of that includes connecting them to resources when needed,” said Stephanie Starr, Director of Community Support & Outreach. “Initial feedback from residents, as well as community partners and organizations, proves this is a well-received tool to help our community during a trying time for many families.”

The resources on UC CARES vary from existing, ongoing programs, to programs specific to COVID-19 impacts. The UC CARES webpage may be adjusted to include resources specific for different emergency situations.

“UC CARES will be an ongoing resource we will promote in the future to helps families impacted by other emergencies, such as storms, hurricanes, flooding, or another public health crisis,” said County Manager Mark Watson. “The situation and community needs may change, but our commitment to help our community will not.”

Resources listed on UC CARES are from local, state, and federal agencies, as well as private and non-profit organizations.

3 p.m.

NC health officials identify locations of outbreaks, reversing stance on patient privacy

In order to standardize reporting regarding COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate living settings, the NC Department of Health and Human Services will update a report two times per week on COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate living settings that will include the names of facilities where there is an ongoing outbreak and the number of positive COVID-19 cases at the facility related to that outbreak. As this pandemic continues to evolve, we continually reassess the appropriateness of data reporting to balance transparency, public health and individual privacy.

In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases in persons who did not have COVID-19 diagnosed before arrival at the facility. An outbreak is considered over after 28 days have passed since the date of symptom onset of the last case. In situations where all persons in a congregate living setting test positive for COVID-19, the outbreak will be considered over when all persons have recovered or been released from isolation.


Mecklenburg County outbreaks in long term care facilities:

  • Social at Cotswold: 23 cases, 3 deaths
  • Forsynthia: 3 cases
  • The Laurels: 2 cases
  • Shelburne Place: 15 cases
  • Charlotte Square: 11 cases
  • Pavilion Health Center: 26 cases, 3 deaths
  • Huntersville Oaks: 2 cases
  • Hunter Woods Nursing & Rehab: 4 cases
  • Carrington Place: 18 cases, 1 death
  • Autumn Care (Cornelius): 53 cases, 10 deaths

1:45 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is collecting objects, archival materials (both digital and physical), and web content that reflects the experiences of North Carolina citizens, officials, organizations, businesses, and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Archives and N.C. Museum of History are collaborating on Your Story is North Carolina's Story, a community-based initiative to collect materials that document personal experiences during the pandemic.

Diaries, journals, oral histories, images, recordings, and similar materials will help tell the stories of North Carolinians during this unprecedented time in history. Personal accounts provide depth and context for what an event or era was like for the people experiencing it.

The State Archives of North Carolina is interested in preserving and sharing stories from the COVID-19 era from people all around the state. The Archives is seeking original, first-person materials that document this pandemic, including personal accounts and journals; photographs and videos; ephemera, such as signage about store closures or shortages of supplies, home lesson plans, or advertisements; and oral histories.

The North Carolina Museum of History collects and preserves artifacts relating to the history and heritage of North Carolina and is seeking objects to help tell the story of the pandemic such as personal protective equipment (particularly items manufactured in North Carolina); items associated with frontline “essential” workers; and objects associated with life during quarantine, volunteer efforts, medical research, social distancing and more.

Physical objects cannot be collected while our facilities are closed, and we do not want to take items that are still in use, so people are asked to save items for future collection, but record and submit information about them now.

To learn more or submit information to either the State Archives or the Museum of History, visit www.ncdcr.gov/YourStory.

1:15 p.m.

The first clinical trial for patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is officially open at Atrium Health.

The international trial, coordinated locally by Levine Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Division, was launched in less than two weeks.

“We know the fast pace in which everything is moving right now, and we appreciate the tremendous level of collaboration this entailed,” said Phil Butera, Assistant Vice President, Clinical Trials, at Levine Cancer Institute. “We worked tirelessly to make this happen so we can bring a hopeful opportunity to patients who are in need of treatment options, as so much is not known about this virus.”

Zainab Shahid, MD FACP, Medical Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Infectious Diseases at Levine Cancer Institute, is serving as Principal Investigator of the trial.

“The study drug appears to offer a promising treatment option; we are excited to offer this trial to our patients,” said Dr. Shahid. ”Only with the help of clinical trials can we find treatment answers for COVID-19.”

Referred to as the XPORT trial, Dr. Shahid and her team are aiming to enroll one to two patients a week with a goal of identifying the best treatment option for patients, as there are no proven therapies at this time. Up until a few days ago, it was believed that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine could be a potential option to treat patients with coronavirus, but now the FDA cautions against the use of those therapies outside of the hospital setting due to risk of heart rhythm problems.

The trial will be available to patients at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center, Atrium Health Cabarrus, Atrium Health Pineville and Atrium Health University. Patients enrolled in the trial will take a pill every other day, and they can even partake in the trial while healing at home. NIH guidelines back up Atrium Health’s evidence-based approach to the treatment of SAR-COV-2, including offering clinical trials to its patients, and XPORT is one of them.

12:20 p.m.

Union County is reporting its third nursing home with an outbreak. Officials say the outbreak happened at Autumn Care of Marshville, on West Phifer Street.

Two weeks ago, the county reported outbreaks at Monroe Rehabilitation Center and Woodridge Nursing facility.

12:10 p.m.

Seventy inmates at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh have tested positive for COVID-19. 161 offenders were tested over the weekend.

The state Department of Public Safety says a majority of those are showing no symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

Before the weekend, 10 offenders in NCCIW tested positive. They were placed in isolation in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and provided any necessary advanced medical care.

All offenders at the prison, as well as the entire staff, have been issued face masks, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. They also said cleaning regimens have been increased.

12 p.m.

Health officials in Rowan County tell Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry 15 of the county’s 20 COVID-19 deaths were residents at the Citadel nursing home, four were residents at the North Carolina State Veterans Home, and one death was from the community.

Rowan County also had a third nursing home with a COVID-19 outbreak posted on the NCDHHS update today. The county confirms that the outbreak is at Liberty Commons.

11:40 a.m.

A member of Reopen NC, the group leading protests in Raleigh, confirms to WTVD she was an “asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patient.” When asked if she attended last Tuesday’s parade, the person answered “no comment.”

10:20 a.m.

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

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 9,142 cases of COVID-19 in 95 counties. That is up 312 from Sunday.

There have been seven new deaths attributed to COVID-19 since Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 306. That’s up 37 since Friday.

NCDHHS reported that 473 people remain hospitalized and 109,920 tests have been completed.

Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in both cases and deaths with 1,492 and 41 respectively.

Confirmed cases by age:

0-17 (2%)

18-24 (7%)

25-49 (40%)

50-64 (27%)

65 or older (24%)

COVID-19 deaths by age:

25-49 (4%)

50-64 (10%)

65 or older (86%)

Cases by race:

White: 53%

Black: 39%

Cases by gender:

Women: 51%

Men: 48%

(Men account for 60% of deaths)

Cases and deaths in congregate living settings:

There have been 47 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, resulting in 1,362 cases and 216 deaths (Burke (2); Cabarrus; Cleveland; Iredell; Mecklenburg (5); Rowan (3); Union (2)).

There have been 19 outbreaks at residential care facilities across the state, resulting in 261 cases and 25 deaths (Cabarrus (2); Mecklenburg (5); Stanly; Union).

5:30 a.m.

Monday morning headlines:

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is expected to issue a new State of Emergency order Monday. The Post and Courier reports state law limits state of emergencies to 15 days, but the governor can renew it with a new declaration.

Monday’s State of Emergency declaration would be McMaster’s third since the pandemic began and it would keep the “Work or Stay at Home" order in place until the governor lifts it.

McMaster said he is still concerned about the widespread threat of coronavirus. Last week, he created the group Accelerate SC, which is an advisory team that will help determine when the state can fully reopen for business.

Last Tuesday, McMaster lifted restrictions on thousands of businesses in the state and let them reopen. This included some non-essential businesses like clothing, shoe, jewelry and department stores. These stores must limit customers inside to 20% the buildings maximum capacity.

President Trump will talk with state governors about the COVID-19 response and the country’s economic revival during a video conference at 2 p.m. The nation’s Coronavirus Task Force will address the nation at 5 p.m.

American Airlines is responding to a video of a crowded Charlotte-bound flight on Saturday. Passenger Erin Strine said she was “stunned” to be on a flight that appeared to be almost completely full, and became overwhelmed with fear in her assigned middle seat. The flight left from JFK Airport in New York.

In North Carolina, the state is reporting 299 coronavirus-related deaths and 8,830 confirmed cases.

9 p.m. (Sunday)

Although the Wells Fargo golf tournament that was supposed to be held this week was canceled due to COVID-19, the company continues to donate to local organizations.

8 p.m. (Sunday)

Brooks’ Sandwich House in NoDa announced it will be reopening on May 4, a month after it shut down due to COVID-19.

In an Instagram post, the shop said it will reopen, but with some changes. It said it will install a microphone to place orders, similar to a drive-thru.