Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

4:35pm Oct 21, 2020

WFDD reporters will update this page with the latest news of the coronavirus in North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. 

 

Here's what we know: 

- 250,592 North Carolina residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 4,032 North Carolinians have died, and 3,683,243 tests have been completed, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 1,219 people are currently hospitalized, and the daily percent positive is 7.4%. Last updated 1:15 p.m., October 21, 2020.

- North Carolina is under a state of emergency. On October 2, Governor Roy Cooper implemented Phase 3 of his economic reopening plan. It was originally to be in effect through October 23, but has now been extended until November 13. Under his executive order, large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators; smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less; movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less; bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less; amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. Mass gathering limits will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. Restaurants remain subject to capacity limits and other requirements for in-person dining. Personal care businesses, such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and more remain subject to capacity limits and other requirements. Face coverings are still required in public. In addition to wearing face coverings, residents are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and wait six feet apart.  

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October 21, 2020

2:46 p.m.

North Carolina will remain in Phase 3 for three more weeks. The state is seeing increased hospitalizations and rising cases in recent weeks. In a press conference, Governor Roy Cooper reiterated the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment regardless of feeling fatigued or frustrated with the pandemic.

During the press conference, Gov. Cooper also gave an update on the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since last week’s program announcement, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.

2:30 p.m. 

The Forsyth County Department of Health is reporting 63 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 8,264. Of those, 7,224 are presumed recovered.

1:45 p.m. 

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are sharing an update on COVID-19 at 2 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD FM. 

 

11:45 a.m.

State officials are asking local leaders to do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to a press release, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Safety sent a letter to local leaders asking them to promote the 3 Ws and consider local actions to improve compliance with executive orders.

The letter outlined local actions that have less severe penalties for violating COVID-19 executive orders than what is available through the state-level emergency powers. The penalty for violating the state-level executive order is limited to criminal citations, which could result in imprisonment. State officials say city and county governments can create ordinances that carry more flexible consequences such as civil fines. 

The letter was sent to county and municipal leaders in 36 counties that met the following metrics: the county has had 300 or more new cases in the last 14 days and has been identified by the White House Task Force as a county of concern; the rate of cases is greater than 50 cases per 10,000 people; or the county is one of the three most populous in the state.

 

October 20, 2020

1:17 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Health is reporting 46 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 8,201. Of those, 7,173 are presumed recovered.

"We must continue to be vigilant," said county health director Joshua Swift. "The positive COVID-19 cases each day appear to be community spread and attributed to small social events mostly held indoors such as birthday parties, weddings, and small gatherings. To slow the spread please continue to stay more than six feet apart and wear a mask properly when around others." 

12:25 p.m.

Guilford County Schools is postponing the return of more students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. These students were scheduled to return to classrooms Tuesday.

Guilford Health officials say the COVID health metrics for the county is now in the red, which is considered high risk for transmission by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At one point, the positivity rate was 6.5 percent for a 14-day stretch. Last week, it was more than 11 percent. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also trending upward.

District officials say pre-K and kindergarten classes that have already opened on a voluntary basis will continue because the numbers of students and staff involved are small.

The district will get another update on community health metrics this Friday and discuss a potential return for next week based on that data.

October 19, 2020

12:54 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 24 new cases of COVID-19 today and one death. Over the weekend, there were 81 new cases and one death reported on Saturday, and 82 new cases reported on Sunday. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 8,155. 

7,142 county residents are presumed recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

There have been a total of 112 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

October 16, 2020

4:43 p.m.

North Carolina today submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. The goal of the plan is to immunize everyone who is eligible for and wants a COVID-19 vaccine.

North Carolina’s vaccine plan reflects five principles that guide the planning for and distribution of one or more COVID-19 vaccines in the state. The principles include:

  1. All North Carolinians have equitable access to vaccines.
  2. Vaccine planning and distribution is inclusive; actively engages state and local government, public and private partners; and draws upon the experience and expertise of leaders from historically marginalized populations.
  3. Transparent, accurate and frequent public communications is essential to building trust.
  4. Data is used to promote equity, track progress and guide decision-making.
  5. Appropriate stewardship of resources and continuous evaluation and improvement drive successful implementation. 

2:08 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day increase of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases to date with 2,684 new cases reported. The department is also reporting the second-highest number of hospitalizations in the past 30 days, with 1,148 reported.

The department has issued guidance for fall-related events to help organizers and consumers minimize the risk for COVID-19 transmission.

*Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect a correction by the NCDHHS indicating that this is the second-highest number of hospitalizations in the last 30 days and not to date.

1:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is adding new county-level data to the COVID-19 NC Dashboard.

According to a press release, users will now be able to view county-level case data by date ranges, including the number of total cases, the number of cases from the prior day, the number of cases over the last seven days and the number of cases over the last 14 days.

In addition to the ability to view data by date ranges, the county map also includes a new metric to display cases per 100,000 residents to align with federal reporting metrics.

1:34 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 81 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,968. Of those, 7,048 are presumed recovered.

10:50 a.m.

The High Point Market is back with a new look for the fall.

The High Point Market Authority has implemented a safety plan that includes fever checks when people arrive, and mask and social distancing requirements. The number of exhibitors is down about 30 percent this year, and the market has been extended to nine days, so visits are more spread out. 

Market Authority leaders at first postponed the spring market until June. When it became clear that the pandemic wasn’t going away, they canceled it outright.

It marked the first time since World War II that a market had been canceled.

The market has a ripple effect on the local economy, with an annual estimated regional impact in recent years of about $6 billion.

October 15, 2020

5:45 p.m.

The City of Greensboro has announced that City Hall will be closed Friday, October 16 for cleaning. This comes after a contractor working in the Melvin Municipal Office Building tested positive for COVID-19. According to a press release, the building will undergo a deep cleaning and be thoroughly sanitized as a precautionary measure. 

MMOB will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 19.

Residents who are concerned about their potential exposure should contact their doctor or Guilford County Department of Public Health at 336-641-7777.

5:36 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 88 new COVID-19 cases and 89 current hospitalizations. The total case count for Guilford County is 9,986. GCDPH has verified 187 deaths. There have been 736 hospitalizations and 5,797 recoveries to date.

3:47 p.m.

Applications are now being accepted for a new rent and utility assistance program. It's called the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program.

It’s designed to assist eligible low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, and to promote housing stability during the pandemic.

The HOPE Program has $117 million for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income 80 percent of the area median income or lower, and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply. 

Interested individuals can apply online. People can also call 2-1-1 Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds.

2:27 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a media briefing at 3 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live on our blog, stream on our website, or listen on 88.5 WFDD.

1:31 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 74 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths since yesterday. There have been 7,887 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 7,887, 6,982 are presumed recovered. There have been a total of 110 deaths in Forsyth County.

  

11:55 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing guidelines for voters and local polling locations to help protect the health of North Carolinians during the voting process. In addition, NCDHHS and the NC Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management provided personal protective equipment to local election boards and locations. 

North Carolina residents who plan to vote in-person should wear a face mask and keep it on throughout the voting process, stay 6 feet apart from others while at the polling location, and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after voting.

NCDHHS also issued guidelines to local polling locations to protect people while they vote, work or volunteer at voting locations. Masks are required in public and voting places must have enough masks to provide one to anyone who does not have one. If a voter has an exception for wearing a mask, election workers should try to accommodate them and should not turn voters away. 

Election workers at voting locations must routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as doors, tables and chairs, with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — especially during peak voting times. Many locations are providing single-use pens to voters.

October 14, 2020

1:20 p.m.

Guilford County Schools is considering delaying the start of in-person classes for some younger students. 

Board members addressed the matter during a contentious hours-long meeting Tuesday night. The discussion focused on a measure that the board approved last month to begin a phased-in approach for in-person instruction.

Superintendent Sharon Contreras said as of now, some younger grades are scheduled to return next week, but she’s meeting with county health officials to discuss possible modifications.

“We will discuss how we can slow down the gradual reentry plan that we already have to still try to move forward in some way and then we will contact the board and make an announcement about October 20," she says. 

Currently, the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is above the five percent reopening threshold the board agreed on – it's a little over six percent. 

1:11 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 71 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,813. Of those, 6,927 are presumed recovered.

October 13, 2020

7:29 p.m.

Guilford County Department of Public Health is confirming 9,807 cases of COVID-19 and 187 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 722 hospitalizations and 5,681 recoveries to date.

 

3:03 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 60 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,742. Of those, 6,875 are presumed recovered.

2:13 p.m.

Members of the North Carolina's Coronavirus Task Force are holding a press conference to give updates on the state's response to COVID-19. Watch live here.

 

12:30 p.m.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis is back in Washington and attending in person the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett after getting the go-ahead following his COVID-19 diagnosis this month.

The Republican was in the hearing room Tuesday, one day after Tillis' doctor told him he could end his self-quarantine for COVID-19.

Tillis announced his positive coronavirus test on Oct. 2. The physician wrote that Tillis had fulfilled all the criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end his isolation.

Tillis has said his symptoms were mild and ended within a few days of his virus announcement.

-The Associated Press

October 12, 2020

4:36 p.m.

Black firefighters in Winston-Salem have filed a grievance alleging white captains talked about running over protesters and a firefighter made a noose during a rope and knots class.

The grievance calls for Chief William Mayo to be fired for failing to discipline white firefighters who, the group said, have created a hostile work environment.

Edward Scott Blair, one of the white fire captains, says the allegations made against him have been taken out of context.

4:09 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 9,693 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 187 deaths. There have been 719 hospitalizations and 5,590 recoveries to date.

1:37 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 25 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Over the weekend, there were 65 new cases and one death reported on Saturday, and 52 new cases reported on Sunday. Of the 7,682 lab-confirmed cases, 6,863 are presumed recovered.

1:04 p.m. 

North Carolina prisons are implementing a COVID-19 staff testing project. According to a press release, three prisons will test all staff with the goal of improving health and safety, as well as preventing the spread of the virus. Required testing begins today at the Dan River Prison Work Farm, Scotland Correctional, and Greene Correctional institutions. The facilities were selected because of their dormitory-style housing, one single-cell hosing facility, and because Greene Correctional houses a COVID-vulnerable offender population with pre-existing medical conditions. All facilities have had COVID outbreaks. 

Currently, 74 people have active cases of COVID-19 at Dan River, while 33 have active cases at Greene Correctional and 101 have active cases at Scotland Correctional.

LabCorp will report positive test results to ACJJ-Prisons Administration and to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which will report to local public health departments. 

12:08 p.m.

Bankruptcy filings in North Carolina have fallen about 30 percent during the coronavirus pandemic. But The Charlotte Observer reports that more than 3,000 people still filed for bankruptcy from April through September. And that worries experts. They say the dip in filings is just a brief reprieve from an expected deluge once some of the COVID-relief efforts subside.

The underlying issues that drive bankruptcies have gotten worse in the pandemic. And they could come into stark relief once the extra unemployment payments and eviction moratoriums subside. Health care is still unaffordable for many Americans. And low wage work often can't cover expenses like car payments and school supplies.

October 9, 2020

2:13 p.m. 

Appalachian State University is putting extra safety measures in place to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, including mandated testing in dorms with COVID clusters.

University officials say 70% of active cases are in students who live off-campus, but they’re worried about recent residence hall clusters and are closely watching test result data. 

On-campus students can voluntarily opt-out of their housing contracts if they want to return to their hometowns and the university is implementing mandatory, large-scale testing in residence halls with active clusters.

Mountaineer football practice has been suspended until further notice and the football game against Georgia Southern University, scheduled for Oct. 14, has been postponed.

Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts shared the latest information in a weekly update. She says the university is also taking extra steps off-campus.

1:45 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 39 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,540. Of those, 6,758 are presumed recovered.

11:30 a.m.

Five employees at the Forsyth County courthouse have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Clerk Renita Thompkins Linville says that officials are working with the county’s Health Department to notify people who may have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive.

This is not the first time the courthouse has been impacted by the pandemic.

The facility was closed for several days in April after an employee from the bookkeeping department tested positive.

The advocacy group Housing Justice Now released a statement Thursday saying that not all courthouse employees were wearing face coverings on a consistent basis, and criticized the sheriff’s office for not enforcing pandemic guidelines.  

11:25 a.m.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says it will cancel spring break in 2021 and delay the start of the spring semester by about two weeks.

UNC says it will instead determine how to give students five days off from classes over the course of the semester. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin made the announcement by email to the university community.

Classes begin in late January and end in early May, with Commencement scheduled for May 16. In-person undergraduate classes were halted in August, a week into the semester, after a series of COVID-19 outbreaks arose on campus.

-The Associated Press

October 8, 2020

4:48 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is confirming 9,352 cases of COVID-19 and 187 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 708 hospitalizations and 5,452 recoveries to date.

2:10 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 84 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,501. Of those, 6,729 are presumed recovered.

12:46 p.m.

South Elm Street, from Market Street to Lewis Street, will be closed from 4-11 pm, Saturdays, October 10 until December 26, to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate in the public right-of-way while providing ample space for pedestrians to maintain social distancing.

According to a press release, the road has been closed on weekends since August as part of an initiative approved by Greensboro's City Council, which issues special permits to allow restaurants to temporarily expand seating in the right-of-way. 

12:32 p.m.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is investing in new technology to improve indoor air quality in some buildings before classrooms reopen in the coming weeks.

The district says it’s been looking at ways to create healthier buildings for the past few years, and now it’s especially important during the pandemic.

Eleven schools are older and lack what’s called energy recovery ventilation or ERV. Most of these are Title I schools, which serve large numbers of economically-disadvantaged students.

These sites will soon get new technology known as bipolar ionization. The process purifies air as it moves through the ventilation system.

The project will cost around $500,000 and will come from county funding.

October 7, 2020

2:15 p.m.

More than 100,000 people have downloaded SlowCOVIDNC, the official exposure notification app of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

SlowCOVIDNC alerts users when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app relies on users to anonymously submit their positive result to notify others. It is free, completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.

1:21 p.m.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis says he made a mistake by taking off his face mask indoors last month at a White House event. He and many attendees later tested positive for COVID-19.

Tillis was wearing a mask outside the White House at the September nomination announcement of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But he took it off at an indoor reception.

Tillis told WRAL-TV that he let his guard down because he had tested negative for the virus two hours before the event. But he also says he doesn't believe he contracted the virus at the event. Tillis is recovering at home.

-The Associated Press

1:05 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 35 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 7,417. Of those, 6,703 are presumed recovered.

October 6, 2020

2:22 p.m. 

Governor Cooper announced Tuesday $35 million to support child care programs during the pandemic. According to a press release, from April through July, NCDHHS has provided over $80 million in monthly operational grants for child care programs that served over 105,000 children statewide throughout the pandemic. The funding is meant to offset health and safety expenses while experiencing a decline in revenue. The grants will be given to licensed providers operating during August through October 2020. All eligible providers will receive some amount of funding. More information about child care during COVID-19 in North Carolina is at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/child-care.

1:45 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. Stream the video here.

 

October 5, 2020

2:45 p.m. 

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina says that the senator is improving after experiencing mild symptoms following a positive COVID-19 test. Tillis spokesman Adam Webb issued a statement Sunday night saying that the senator is continuing to self-isolate at home but that he’s feeling better after experiencing mild symptoms the previous day. Tillis announced Friday night that he had tested positive. Tillis is among several people to be diagnosed with the virus after attending the Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the White House Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett. Tillis was wearing a mask at the ceremony and has supported mask use.

The Associated Press

1:30 p.m. 

Forsyth County is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 today. Over the weekend, there were 56 new cases reported on Saturday, and 15 new cases reported on Sunday. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for the county is 7,363. 6,654 county residents are presumed to be recovered from the novel coronavirus. 104 residents have died.

NCDHHS issued the following statement yesterday: "On October 4,
NCDHHS experienced technical issues which prevented some laboratory data files from being processed in the NC COVID reporting system. As a result, cases and test data are lower for October 4 than they would have been had all data been processed. Data reported on October 5 will be higher as it will incorporate cases that were intended to be submitted on October 4. NCDHHS is working to resolve the issue.’”

October 2, 2020

4:00 p.m. 

Guilford County has confirmed 8,896 cases of COVID-19 Friday and 180 deaths. There have been 691 hospitalizations and 5,270 recoveries to date.

3:29 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended flexibilities for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) during COVID-19. According to a press release, the aim is to ensure participants receive the food and health support they need and would allow nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies, and children to use their benefits safely. 

Some of the WIC extensions include: 

  • Participants to be approved for WIC without being physically present in a local office
  • Remote issuance of benefits to any participant
  • Flexibility in food package requirements, including milk, yogurt and whole wheat or whole grain bread

Also, those already certified will have their benefits added to their eWIC account without any further action and can use current eWIC cards for ongoing food benefits. New applicants can apply by completing the online referral form

1:45 p.m.

The City of Greensboro downtown Parking Enforcement will resume issuing citations for expired meters and other violations as of October 19.

The City suspended parking citations – except handicapped parking violations – and has only been issuing warnings as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1:07 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 55 new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. There have been 7,237 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 7,237, 6,578 are presumed recovered. There have been a total of 104 deaths.

12:43 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its COVID-19 guidance for places of worship and shared a toolkit to support faith leaders in slowing the spread of the virus. 

The updated guidance recommends that places of worship continue to meet online or outside if possible. If in-person services are held, NCDHHS recommends limiting gatherings to 30 percent of occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less.

new online toolkit is available to help faith leaders slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. It includes 10 actions faith leaders can take with supporting materials and templates.

October 1, 2020

4:14 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is confirming 8,853 cases of COVID-19 and 180 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 688 hospitalizations and 5,212 recoveries to date.

1:45 p.m.

Courts in Winston-Salem continue to move forward with evictions. This comes after a national moratorium was issued on evictions designed to halt them for reasons of non-payment.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered the moratorium in early September to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus. 

To be eligible for the eviction protection, tenants must meet certain financial and employment criteria

In an email obtained by WFDD, Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court Renita Thompkins Linville says that the court's position is that the clerk does not have judicial authority to determine whether a tenant is a “covered person” under the CDC order. And she says she is simply carrying out her duty. 

Court dockets show that eviction hearings have certainly continued — as many as 47 in one day.

1:33 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 85 new cases of COVID-19 and one death since yesterday. There have been 7,182 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 7,182, 6,545 are presumed recovered. 

“On September 29, NCDHHS reported technical issues which prevented some laboratory data files from being processed in the NC COVID reporting system," said Health Director Joshua Swift. "As a result, cases and test data is likely the cause for the higher case count reported today. We will continue to monitor the daily case count and report any trends should they develop.”

September 30,2020

5:13 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health has confirmed 8,734 cases of COVID-19 and 171 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 680 hospitalizations and 5,170 recoveries to date.

 

4:26 p.m.

North Carolina will soon allow bars to partially reopen outdoors only and open up amusement parks and movie theaters as the state transitions to Phase 3 of reopening. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced the executive order will go into effect Friday and remain in place through Oct. 23. While students in K-5 schools will be able to move to daily, in-person classes as early as Monday, Cooper said no decision has been reached about reopening middle schools and high schools. Outdoor sports venues that can seat more than 10,000 people will be able to allow fans to attend at 7% capacity.

1:40 p.m. 

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will share an update on COVID-19 at 2 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD. 

 

1:11 p.m. 

30 new cases of COVID-19 are reported in Forsyth County on Wednesday. The county has had a total of 7,097 cases, 6,515 are presumed recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “Nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in Forsyth County are 34 years of age or younger. Although this age group is typically considered a lower risk for having complications from COVID-19, serious and sometimes deadly complications can occur.”

10:30 a.m. 

 An Appalachian State University student has died after suffering from coronavirus complications. Nineteen-year-old Chad Dorrill is the first reported COVID-related death within the University of North Carolina system since in-person classes resumed. Dorrill lived off campus in Boone and took all of his classes online. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for COVID-19 at Appalachian State. The university remains open for in-person classes. UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and East Carolina University halted physical learning in classrooms to undergraduate students last month due to clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks.

10:23 a.m.

Wake Forest Baptist Health is enrolling patients in a new Phase 2 clinical trial to determine whether drugs already in use could be repurposed to treat COVID-19. The health system is one of just 10 initial sites selected for the nationwide trial

Enrolled patients will be split into groups and randomly assigned to either the control group or one of four drugs that have already been approved for other uses. If researchers determine a drug isn’t effective in treating the virus, it will be removed from the study. More promising treatments will be researched further.

Dr. Clark Files, co-principal investigator for the trial’s Wake Forest Baptist site, says most of the drugs selected target the body’s immune response. Files says the goal is to reduce mortality, and the amount of time patients spend on ventilators. 

So far, 15 Wake Forest Baptist patients with severe COVID-19 have been enrolled in the trial. 
 

September 29, 2020

5:02 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 8,649 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 171 deaths. There have been 675 hospitalizations and 5,111 recoveries to date. 

The county notes that today’s total positive case number is less than yesterday’s due to non-Guilford County cases being transferred to the appropriate home county.

2:54 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 26 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths since yesterday. There have been 7,067 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 7,067, 6,492 are presumed recovered. There have been 103 deaths.

  

2:33 p.m.

Since establishing telehealth flexibility policies in early March, NC Medicaid has processed claims for approximately more than 1.1 million telehealth and 350,000 telephonic visits.

The increasing adoption and familiarity of telehealth has resulted in Medicaid creating permanent policy changes to make telehealth an enduring component of person-centered health care delivery in North Carolina. Telehealth policy changes are open for public comment through October 8, 2020. Comments can be submitted to medicaid.public.comment@dhhs.nc.gov.

1:05 p.m.

Winston-Salem water and sewer customers who have fallen behind paying bills during the pandemic have a limited opportunity to enroll in payment plans in order to avoid late fees and other penalties on their bill. Effective October 1, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities will resume charging late fees and penalties on past-due bills. Customers unable to pay the total amount by the due date on their bill must call City Link by October 30 to enroll in payment plans and avoid disconnection. If monthly installments and all new bills are paid on time, your account will not accrue late fees and your service will not be disconnected. Find more information here.   

September 28, 2020

5:16 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 8,666 cases of COVID-19 and 171 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 673 hospitalizations and 5,052 recoveries to date.

 

2:26 p.m.

As North Carolina’s key metrics continue to remain stable and strong infection prevention and control requirements remain in place, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today issued a Secretarial Order updating visitation guidelines for nursing homes to allow indoor visitation.

Indoor visitation will only be permitted in nursing homes with no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and in counties with a percent positive testing rate of less than 10%, reflecting guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

1:15 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 18 new cases of COVID-19 today. Over the weekend, there were 36 new cases reported on Saturday, and 31 new cases reported on Sunday. Three new deaths have also been reported. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 7,041. 

6,449 county residents are presumed to be recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

There have been a total of 101 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

September 25, 2020

4:59 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 8,463 cases of COVID-19 and 171 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 665 hospitalizations and 4,991 recoveries to date.

 

2:25 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 47 new cases of COVID-19 and one death since yesterday. There have been 6,956 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 6,956, 6,365 are presumed recovered. There have been 98 deaths.

 

1:30 p.m.

Guilford County Schools has developed a new public data dashboard that indicates the number of verified COVID-19 cases among GCS staff that may have impacted the school community. 

The dashboard shows the number of employees per month per school site with confirmed cases of COVID-19. According to a press release, the district is working in partnership with public health to publish a similar dashboard to indicate the number of students per month per site with verified cases of COVID-19.

11:55 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is adding information about antigen testing to the COVID-19 NC Dashboard, including positive COVID-19 cases and deaths diagnosed with an antigen test and the number of antigen tests completed daily. 

Molecular (PCR) and antigen tests are used to diagnose COVID-19. Each test looks for something different to determine if someone is infected. A molecular (PCR) test looks for the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus.

According to a NCDHHS press release, there have been far fewer cases diagnosed by antigen tests than by molecular (PCR) tests in North Carolina. However, antigen testing is expanding in settings such as nursing homes and health care provider offices. 

North Carolina is joining 31 other states now reporting antigen-positive cases in addition to cases identified through a positive molecular (PCR) test result. 

9:55 a.m. 

North Carolina’s initial unemployment-insurance benefit claims showed a slight downward trend last week.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported Thursday that the state had 12,591 claims for the week that ended Sept. 19. The number is slightly down from a revised 13,437 the previous week. 

Since the pandemic began, the highest weekly total for unemployment insurance claims in North Carolina has been 172,745. That was for the week that ended March 28.

Across the nation, there were 870,000 initial claims filed last week. For comparison, the national weekly peak was the 6.87 million claims for the week that ended March 28.

-The Associated Press

September 24, 2020

5:37 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is confirming 8,392 cases of COVID-19 and 171 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 662 hospitalizations and 4,942 recoveries to date.

 

4:33 p.m.

Griffin Recreation Center in Guilford County will be closed until Monday, September 28 for cleaning, after a staff member was exposed to COVID-19. The building will be thoroughly sanitized as a precautionary measure. The last day the individual worked was Thursday, September 24.

1:45 p.m.

Forsyth County Health Department officials say despite university efforts to track COVID-19, some numbers tied to colleges may not be included in county case totals.

Assistant Public Health Director Glenda Dancy says if college students don’t provide a Forsyth County address when being tested for COVID-19, they will not be included in the county’s data, even if they test positive.

“If they listed a permanent address that was out of state, it wouldn't come to the local health department," said Dancy. "It will go to the address that's listed.”

She says the case will be counted by the health department tied to the address they provided. 

12:45 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 23 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 6,909. Of those, 6,343 are presumed recovered. 

 

September 23, 2020

3:14 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 8,339 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 171 deaths. There have been 658 hospitalizations and 4,896 recoveries to date.

2:25 p.m.

State Medicaid beneficiaries on the NC Innovations Waiver who are attending school virtually due to COVID-19 can now receive waiver support during remote learning. 

The NC Innovations Waiver is designed to meet the needs of individuals with Intellectual or Development Disabilities (IDDs) who prefer to get long-term care services and support in their home or community, rather than in an institutional setting. 

Officials at the NC Department of Health and Human Services say that this will help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities successfully participate in remote learning, amongst the myriad challenges faced in the pandemic. 

The waiver approval is through an Appendix K, which allows states to submit requests to ease certain waiver requirements during federally declared emergencies.

1:12 p.m. 

Forsyth County is reporting 36 cases and one death Wednesday. There have been 6,886 laboratory-confirmed cases. Of those, 6,315 are presumed recovered. 

11:34 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says large outdoor venues could soon reopen at significantly reduced capacity as part of a move closer to a Phase 3 reopening. Cooper, a Democrat, plans to ease other Phase 2 restrictions in addition to entertainment venues when his current executive order expires on Oct. 2, he said at a news conference Tuesday. Places that can seat more than 10,000 people outside would be able to operate at 7% capacity while adhering to social distancing guidelines. If the state's COVID-19 trends remain steady or improve, sports teams like the Carolina Panthers could host several thousand fans that are masked and kept physically distant.

September 22, 2020

5:37 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 8,259 cases of COVID-19 and 168 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 651 hospitalizations and 4,838 recoveries to date.

2:33 p.m.

Wake Forest Baptist Health has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help improve rural cardiovascular care in Wilkes County.

The funding will allow Wake Forest Baptist to expand its telehealth services by connecting the health system’s emergency care and cardiovascular experts virtually and in real-time with staff at Wilkes EMS, Wilkes County Health Department’s Public Health Community Clinic (PHCC) and Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center’s emergency department.

1:40 p.m.

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will share an update on COVID-19 at 2 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD. 

1:11 p.m.

Forsyth County has reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,850. One death has been reported. Of the total number of cases, 6,290 are presumed recovered. 

 

11:32 a.m. 

A surge in COVID-19 cases among students at Elon University has prompted school officials to increase its on-campus alert level for the second time in five days, following a sharp uptick in confirmed cases through the weekend.

The university is now on High Alert, the second-highest of a four-level system.

The school’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that as of Tuesday morning, Elon has 90 active cases, and has seen 131 total cases since mid-August.

The News & Record reports the move to a higher alert status has prompted Elon to institute several changes to slow the spread of the virus, including moving some classes online and closing residence halls to visitors.

10:25 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched an app to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The "SlowCOVIDNC" app alerts you if you've been exposed to a person who has tested positive for the virus. According to a press release, the use of the software is voluntary and is part of the state's contract tracing efforts. It is anonymous and doesn't share any personal information. 

To learn more about the initiative and to download the app, you can visit https://www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc, which also includes an FAQ.

September 21, 2020

6:07 p.m.

The Watauga County Board of Education has voted unanimously on a plan to return students to in-person schooling. In an email sent to parents and guardians, the board said it will reopen in-person learning for grades K-3 starting October 5. Students will be returning using a 2×3 Plan B Flex Schedule. 

That means half of students will attend school on Monday and Tuesday, while the other half attend on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is reserved as a remote learning day. In total, students would have three days of remote learning at home each week. 

Students in grades 4-12 will resume on Oct. 19 under the same 2×3 Plan B Flex Schedule while keeping social distancing measures in place.

More information on the specifics of that schedule can be found via the Watauga County Schools Re-entry Planning Guide.

4:55 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 8,194 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 168 deaths. There have been 647 hospitalizations and 4,750 recoveries to date.

4:37 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its “Whatever Your Reason, Get Behind the Mask” campaign into 21 of the state's community-based print and online publications. The new ads will focus on reaching historically marginalized communities that have been most impacted by the pandemic.

The advertisements will run from September through December in papers that are largely distributed to the state’s Latinx/Hispanic, Black/African American, American Indian, and LGBTQ+ communities. This includes publications like Que Pasa, Pride Magazine, and The Urban News.

There will also be television and radio public service announcements, social media advertisements, and displays at gas stations, convenience stores, bus stations, and buses.

1:28 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19 today. Over the weekend, there were 39 new cases reported on Saturday, and 28 new cases reported on Sunday. The total case count for Forsyth is 6,833. 

6,252 county residents are presumed to be recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

There have been a total of 94 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

12:08 p.m. 

Governor Cooper announced today that the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has awarded nearly $5 million to local parks and recreation projects, according to a press release. 

“Local parks and greenways have been a safe place for North Carolinians to relax, exercise, and improve their quality of life during the stress of the pandemic,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These grants will add and expand parks, trails, and recreational facilities to communities across our state, creating opportunities to enjoy North Carolina’s natural beauty.”

Grant recipients and amounts are as follows:

11:55 a.m. 

Half of North Carolina's public universities saw record enrollment, largely fueled by their graduate programs. Overall, undergraduate enrollment held steady and only a few universities, including UNC Greensboro, saw slight declines in total enrollment. Kevin McClure, who studies higher education at UNC Wilmington, said given the pandemic, all this was a bit unexpected.

"It's certainly good news, welcome news, given that there was some pessimism around what enrollments were gonna look like. But I think the notion of uncertainty still applies down the road," McClure said.

He said he wouldn't be surprised if enrollment starts to decline as early as this spring. At the same time, during recessions, colleges and universities often see higher enrollment as workers seek to learn new skills.

WUNC 

September 18, 2020

5:42 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 8,000 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 168 deaths. There have been 646 hospitalizations and 4,680 recoveries to date.

4:20 p.m.

The Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice will again allow limited visitation at all the state’s prisons and juvenile justice facilities beginning Oct. 1. There will be significant restrictions though, due to the pandemic.

Visits in prisons will be by appointment only,  and may be subject to cancellation with little notice if dictated by health and safety concerns. If the prison has an outbreak of COVID-19 no visitors will be allowed.

Children under the age of 12 will still not be allowed to visit, and all visitors will be medically screened with temperature checks, in addition to standard security procedures. 

Visits to juvenile detention centers  must also be scheduled in advance. Juveniles who are in isolation or quarantine, or who have exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19, will have their visit rescheduled. The visits will be non-contact only. Social distancing of at least six feet between juvenile and visitor will be enforced. Additionally, both juveniles and their visitor must wear face masks for the duration of the visit.

1:00 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has reported 40 new cases of COVID-19. A total of 6,747 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in Forsyth County. Of those, 6,147 are presumed recovered. 94 county residents have died from the disease. 

12:50 p.m.

Schools in the University of North Carolina system enrolled more students than ever before this fall.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday that half of the campuses reported record-breaking numbers of students. It’s the system’s third year in a row for record-high enrollment. More than 242,000 students are at its universities.

There was an overall increase of 1% for the total number of undergraduate and graduate students. The news came at the system’s Board of Governors meeting on Thursday.

UNC System President Peter Hans said the enrollment numbers are remarkable given the coronavirus pandemic. Hans said he believes that schools re-opening with in-person classes and campus housing helped with the enrollment growth.

-The Associated Press

September 17, 2020

3:46 p.m.
Guilford County has confirmed 7,937 total cases of COVID-19 and 168 deaths. 641 have been hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak. The county is reporting 4,617 recoveries. Demographic data for Guilford County can be found here.  

3:39 p.m. 

North Carolina school districts will now be given the option to reopen elementary schools to in-person classes. 

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that school districts will be permitted to move K-5 students to Plan A. Under the plan, on-campus instruction will be allowed with certain safety restrictions, including mask wearing and symptom screening. However, class sizes will not be required to be reduced. 

At a press conference, Cooper said despite the change, districts will not be forced to send children back into classrooms.

“I want to be clear, Plan A may not be right at this time for many school districts and for every family," said Cooper. "Opportunities for remote learning need to be available for families who choose it. And districts will have the flexibility to select a plan based on their unique situation.”

Middle and High Schools must remain in Plan B or C, options that require at least some remote instruction. 

2:42 p.m. 

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force to share an update on COVID-19 at 2 p.m. Watch live here or listen to 88.5 WFDD. 

12:45 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19 today. The total case count for Forsyth is 6,707, and 6,102 county residents are presumed to be recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

There have been a total of 94 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

September 16, 2020

3:35 p.m. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest has called for all North Carolina K-12 public schools to reopen without requiring students or teachers to wear masks. At a Wednesday morning news conference, he said he would not mandate masks if he were governor and wants the state to move quickly to Plan A so everyone can have 100% in-person learning. The current directive from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper allows school districts to partially reopen under Plan B, but also gives local school boards the option to stay fully remote under Plan C. Federal health officials have encouraged mask wearing as an effective method of containing the spread of COVID-19.

1:17 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has reported 26 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths since yesterday. A total of 6,694 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in Forsyth County. Of those, 6,077 are presumed recovered. 94 county residents have died from the disease. 

“The eight deaths reported yesterday and today were individuals that were
older than older 65 years of age," said Public Health Director Joshua Swift. "This is a stark reminder that the risks are higher for older people and more so when they have underlying health conditions. We must continue to do our part to protect our loved ones whether in a care facility or at home by wearing a mask and social distancing.”

1:07 p.m.

COVID-19 case numbers are rising on the campus of Wake Forest University.

In the last two weeks, 70 students have tested positive for the virus. About a third of those cases were reported in just the last few days. 

In a statement on its website, university officials said they were prepared for a spike, as public health experts had predicted they would see an increase two to four weeks after the start of the semester. They credit contact tracing and strategic testing with detecting new positive cases early on. 

10:20 a.m.

A Winston-Salem volunteer group says it is distributing face masks to poll workers that will be serving in the November election. According to a press release, Project Mask Winston-Salem will provide 1,000 masks to poll workers ahead of the election.

The release said the Forsyth County Board of Elections will require the use of masks and face shields for these workers. Additional election safety measures include barriers for social distancing, frequent sanitation of common surfaces, and single-use pens and styluses. 

September 15, 2020

5:55 p.m.

Five new film productions have been approved for North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grants. According to a press release, these productions are projected to generate a direct in-state spend of more than $107 million while creating 8,671 job opportunities, including 650 crew positions for the state’s film professionals.

Filming on all five should start by the end of October.

With the help of public health officials, industry trade associations have developed protocols to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at filming locations. Each production has a COVID-19 safety plan that provides extra precautions to protect those working in front of and behind the camera.

The productions include:

  • USS Christmas -  a made-for-television movie about a newspaper reporter who finds love on an aircraft carrier. The production will film in the greater Wilmington area and is eligible to receive a grant rebate up to $1.1 million.

  • A Nashville Christmas Carol will film in the greater Charlotte area. The production has been approved for a grant rebate up to $1,125,000.

  • Parkside is a feature-length film that is filming at the EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, and it is approved for a film and entertainment grant rebate up to $7 million.

  • Delilah is a new series from Warner Bros. Television for OWN about a headstrong, highly principled lawyer. Filming in and around Charlotte, the series is eligible for a grant rebate up to $5,406,624.

  • Season 2 of the STARZ series Hightown from Lionsgate Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, will also film in the greater Wilmington area and has been approved for a grant rebate of up to $12 million.

Production also continues on several non-grant qualifying projects including the latest seasons of the reality series My Big, Fat, Fabulous Life and Love It Or List It in the Piedmont Triad and Triangle regions respectively.

Two other Piedmont Triad-based projects recently wrapped production: the SAG-signatory feature Where’s Rose and the new docu-series Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina.

3:15 p.m.

North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham said Monday during a debate that he would be "hesitant" to take a vaccine for COVID-19 approved by Election Day, leading Republicans nationwide to characterize him and Democrats as "anti-vaxxers."

Cunningham, an attorney and former state legislator, is trying to unseat first-term Republican Thom Tillis in a closely watched race that could decide which party controls the Senate.

When asked a hypothetical question about a vaccine, Cunningham said "he has questions."

"Historically and traditionally I would support and have confidence in the Food and Drug Administration and the processes they go through to approve a drug," Cunningham said. "But we have seen an extraordinary corruption in Washington." Cunningham said he would be "hesitant" to take it and would "ask a lot of questions."

Cunningham's skepticism comes as President Trump makes repeated claims that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available before the election, even as scientific officials and the pharmaceutical industry caution that it will be 2021 before one will be widely available.

Tillis criticized Cunningham for his comments, saying he has "put lives at risk."

"We just heard a candidate for the U.S. Senate look into the camera and tell 10 million North Carolinians he would be hesitant to take a vaccine," Tillis said. "That's irresponsible."

In an interview after the debate, Cunningham walked back his earlier comments. - WFAE

1:43 p.m. 

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of North Carolina Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live:

 

1:19 p.m. 

34 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Tuesday in Forsyth County and five death. The total number of cases is 6,668. Of those, 5,957 are presumed recovered. 

12:30 p.m. 

North Carolina health officials say there has been an overall decline in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. 

Figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show a roughly 12 percent decline in newly reported coronavirus cases during the first two weeks of September. That’s compared to the last 14 days in August when the return of college students is thought to have caused a spike in cases.

Overall, the percentage of positive tests statewide has been at about 5 percent since September 9th.

That’s significant because reports show that a level of 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks could mean there is enough testing to control viral spread.

Pia MacDonald is a senior epidemiologist at RTI International, a non-profit research firm.

MacDonald tells the News & Observer that while the latest figures are a good sign, it’s still too early to tell how well North Carolina is faring at containing the virus.

 10:34 a.m.

A county in North Carolina incorrectly told nearly 7,000 residents they had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Charlotte Observer reports the messages were sent by text to more than 6,700 residents in Mecklenburg County on Friday. More than 500 people also received a county email with the notice.

The county said Friday on Twitter the messages went out due to a technical glitch. The county's manager told commissioners on Monday they were sent through HealthSpace Data System, a company based in Canada.

Mecklenburg has been using the company's software to help with contact tracing efforts in the pandemic. 

 

September 14, 2020

4:30 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health has confirmed 7,741 cases of COVID-19 and 166 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 633 hospitalizations and 4,481 recoveries to date.

2:20 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Health is reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Over the weekend, there were 36 new cases and two deaths reported on Saturday, and 38 new cases reported on Sunday. There have been 6,634 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 6,634, 5,901 are presumed recovered. There have been 86 deaths.

1:37 p.m.

Health officials with NCDHHS are urging North Carolina residents to protect themselves, their families and those around them by getting vaccinated against Influenza as the state enters flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine. Vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes, making it especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Some of those same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19.

“This flu season, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated against the flu. We will have both the flu and COVID-19 widely circulating this fall and winter, and we are learning that people can get both infections at the same time,” said State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson. “We want people to protect themselves from the flu and also avoid overwhelming our hospitals so people can get care if they need it.”

You can find more information on where to get vaccinated here

September 11, 2020

3:28 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 7,523 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 166 deaths. There have been 630 hospitalizations and 4,367 recoveries to date.

1:45 p.m.

The annual Festival for the Homeless provides free barbeque, live music, children’s games, and more to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Winston-Salem. The grassroots event has traditionally been held in public parks, but this year it’s hitting the road.

Gateway Commons Park was the site of last year’s event where many of Forsyth County’s more than 440 homeless people came together.

This weekend, due to the current gathering restrictions over coronavirus concerns, the park will be used as a staging area to distribute grab-and-go lunches and gift bags directly to the housing shelters where most of the would-be festival-goers reside.

On Saturday, volunteers will make stops at three local shelters — Samaritan Ministries, Bethesda Center, and Salvation Army. They’ll be accompanied by a live concert on wheels by jazz and R&B singer Saundra Ross.

1:32 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 6,543. Of those, 5,790 are presumed recovered. No additional deaths were reported, leaving the total number at 84.

The county will host its next free testing event on September 12th from 9 a.m. to noon at Shiloh Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

 

September 10, 2020

5:40 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health has confirmed 7,468 cases of COVID-19 and 166 deaths. There have been 626 hospitzalations and 4,323 recoveries to date.

1:48 p.m. 

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of North Carolina Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will give a media briefing today at 2 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live: 

 

12:18 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 39 cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 6,511. Of those, 5,767 are presumed recovered. 

10:06 a.m.

North Carolina's state government is using federal COVID-19 relief dollars to purchase equipment so more public school students can access online classes and homework help.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced that nearly $40 million would go toward funding a new partnership called NC Student Connect, which is designed to improve reliable internet for children as they learn remotely this fall due to coronavirus restrictions.

About $30 million will go toward the purchase and distribution of 100,000 wireless high-speed hot spots for students, Cooper's office said in a news release. Thousands of hot spots were getting shipped to school systems this week.

Another $8 million will provide free high-speed internet in public locations like parking lots so students can drop by to download class lessons. Other money will help instruct teachers, parents, and students about remote learning techniques.

Several private-sector companies also have helped fund NC Student Connect, Cooper's office said.

 - The Associated Press 

September 9, 2020

6:30 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is confirming 7,395 cases of COVID-19 and 164 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 621 hospitalizations and 4,271 recoveries to date.

6:26 p.m.

The Guilford County Board of Education is reviewing a reentry plan that would bring back some of the district’s youngest students for in-person classes before October 20. Superintendent Sharon Contreras laid out her recommendations to board members this week. 

Under this proposal, prior to Oct. 20, pre-K and kindergarten students would attend half days voluntarily. After that, depending on certain health indicators, pre-K through second grade would attend Monday through Friday.

“Our pre-K and kindergarten students are those who will experience the greatest amount of learning loss during remote learning, and for our families, it is the most difficult groups to find childcare for,” says Whitney Oakley, chief academic officer with Guilford County Schools.

Sixth graders would attend in-person classes in cohorts two days a week. Other grades would be phased in, but most high school students would remain in remote learning through mid-January.

Contreras says the plan would also bring back students with special needs and other vulnerable groups sooner.

1:22 p.m.

More than 1,000 East Carolina University students have tested positive for the coronavirus since fall classes began on Aug. 10.

Student case counts are also approaching 1,000 each at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

All three campuses shut down in-person classes for undergraduate students last month and urged them to move out of their dorms and return home.

The uptick in cases across North Carolina college campuses comes as the state begins to transition to a Phase 2.5 reopening plan allowing businesses, including gyms, to partially reopen. 

-The Associated Press

1:15 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has reported 24 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths since yesterday. A total of 6,266 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in Forsyth County. Of the 6,481, 5,736 are presumed recovered. 84 county residents have died from the disease. 

September 8, 2020

5:50 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health has confirmed 7,328 cases of COVID-19 and 164 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 614 hospitalizations and 4,190 recoveries to date.

3:28 p.m.

A new COVID-19 relief bill contains a provision loosening rules for child care facilities. Some advocates are concerned about a lack of oversight during the coronavirus pandemic.

The main focus of House Bill 1105 is the distribution of remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds.

But one provision also makes changes to child care facility licensing requirements. It expands options for remote learning centers to include community-based organizations such as local YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs.

According to the bill, no background checks for employees will be required, and reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases to health officials won’t be mandatory.

A proposed amendment would have put these safeguards in place but was set aside for the final version.

12:45 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 25 new cases of COVID-19 today. Over the weekend, there were 39 new cases reported on Saturday, 30 new cases reported on Sunday, and 28 new cases reported on Monday. The total case count for Forsyth is 6,457. 

5,685 county residents are presumed to be recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

There have been a total of 82 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

September 4, 2020

6:05 p.m.

North Carolina’s Democratic governor says he will sign a Republican-authored plan to spend $1.1 billion of the state’s remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds on aid to families with children, unemployment benefits and efforts to fight the virus.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement Friday came a day after he received the package from legislators. It includes direct cash payments to nearly 2 million families, a $50 increase in weekly unemployment benefits and more funds for virus testing, tracing and personal protective equipment.

The measure, which left out many of the governor’s spending recommendations, comfortably passed both chambers of the GOP-controlled General Assembly, clearing its final legislative hurdle Thursday. - AP

5:29 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 7,112 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 164 deaths. There have been 610 hospitalizations and 4,123 recoveries to date.

2:39 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is developing a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called SlowCOVIDNC that will launch across the state in September 2020. The app is designed to help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS), will alert users that have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. The app is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data. SlowCOVIDNC is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app, which is currently in Beta testing, will be free of charge and available to download through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

NCDHHS is developing a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’ that will launch across the state in September 2020.

(1/2) pic.twitter.com/C0xhEHMACl

— NCDHHS (@ncdhhs) September 4, 2020

12:56 p.m.

Governor Cooper's Phase 2.5 begins today at 5 p.m. More on what that means at the graphic below: 

12:42 p.m.

48 cases of COVID-19 are reported in Forsyth County on Friday. There have been 6,335
laboratory-confirmed cases. Of those, 5,582 are presumed recovered. No additional deaths were reported, leaving the total number at 82.

11:12 a.m.

Many Greensboro facilities will reopen under Governor Cooper's Phase 2.5 plan, going into effect today:

Libraries

  • The Greensboro Public Library locations will continue to be open Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 7 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for Grab & Go Services. This is a 30 minutes or less visit.
  • Curbside service is still available by appointment.
  • There are still capacity limits at all locations.


Greensboro History Museum

  • Open to the public beginning Saturday, September 12. Museum hours will be modified: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday's hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum will be closed on Sundays.
  • The museum’s mezzanine level, which contains the Voices of a City and Carlson Gallery exhibitions, will be the only portion open as staff completes a new exhibition on the second floor.
  • Capacity will be limited to 50 visitors at one time, with a one-hour suggested visit.
  • A new exhibit will open on Saturday, September 26, Pieces of Now: Murals, Masks, Community Stories and Conversations. This exhibition will display Black Lives Matter murals along with other recently collected materials related to the 2020 protests, the pandemic and more to preserve the history of 2020. Capacity will increase to 75 people.


NCWorks Career Centers

  • Hours of operation: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Greensboro Cultural Center

  • The Greensboro Cultural Center will re-open on Tuesday, September 8.
  • Common area seating will be limited throughout the facility.
  • Each space will adhere to capacity limits and must maintain proper social distancing protocols.


Parks and Recreation

  • Picnic shelter reservations resume Monday, September 7 and are subject to outdoor gathering limits of 50 people or less.
  • Playgrounds will begin opening Tuesday, September 8. Outdoor basketball courts will begin opening Saturday, September 12.
  • Brown, Craft, Griffin, Leonard, and Lewis Recreation Centers, as well as Smith and Trotter Active Adult Centers, will open Monday, September 14. They will operate Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by reservation only, with limited programming, and reduced capacity. Contact centers for details.
  • Peeler, Warnersville, Glenwood, Lindley and Windsor Recreation Centers will remain closed to the public, as they are currently being used as centers for children who are remote learning.
  • Fitness rooms at Griffin Recreation Center, Smith and Trotter Active Adult Centers, and the Al Lowe Boxing Club will be open September 14 by reservation only with reduced capacity. Call the fitness center to reserve a time.
  • Sportsplex and Simkins Indoor Athletic Facilities will be open by reservation only, no drop-in play allowed, beginning Monday, September 28. Simkins Sports Pavilion will only offer tennis by appointment only.

September 3, 2020

5:16 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 7,042 cases of COVID-19 and 164 deaths in Guilford County. There have been 608 hospitalizations and 4,080 recoveries to date.

1:38 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will hold two dial-in media briefings today regarding COVID-19. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. will be available at 2 p.m. to announce a public campaign and answer questions from the media in English. Dr. Viviana Martinez-Bianchi will be available at 3 p.m. to announce the Spanish version of the campaign and answer questions from the media in Spanish.

 

1:06 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 21 news cases and two additional deaths of COVID-19. In total there have been 6,287 confirmed cases. Of those, 5,521 are presumed recovered.  

9:57 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly has advanced quickly a Republican proposal to spend another $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds. The Senate voted on Wednesday for the package, which includes giving direct payments of $335 for parents. The GOP package also includes money for coronavirus testing, tracing, and personal protective equipment. Funds would raise weekly unemployment benefits by $50 and give Election Day poll workers another $100. The House is expected to vote Thursday on the measure and send it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who didn't seek the direct payments in his COVID-19 spending proposal last week. 

- The Associated Press

September 2, 2020

6:03 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 6,963 total cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 160 deaths. There have been 603 hospitalizations and 4,033 recoveries to date.

4:05 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched the NC Medicaid Optional COVID-19 Testing program, which will reimburse Medicaid providers for costs associated with COVID-19 testing of people without insurance.

Governor Roy Cooper says the new program allows community providers to offer cost-free testing to uninsured North Carolinians and will decrease barriers to testing. 

Federal funding will be available to cover 100 percent of costs directly related to COVID-19 testing, including both viral and serological or antibody tests, through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In North Carolina, Medicaid-enrolled providers may file directly with NC Medicaid for reimbursement for testing eligible uninsured individuals. Costs for COVID-19 tests will be covered retroactively up to three months if people were uninsured at the time of the test. 

To qualify for the program’s testing coverage, people must meet three checks: live in North Carolina, not be eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or have other health insurance, and hold U.S. citizenship or other legal immigration status as mandated by federal regulations.

1:34 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reporting 46 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths since yesterday. There have been 6,266 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 6,266, 5,482 are presumed recovered. There have been a total of 80 deaths.

  

September 1, 2020

4:29 p.m.

The North Carolina legislature will reconvene briefly starting Wednesday to propose spending leftover federal COVID-19 relief funds to reach the pockets of parents, the unemployed, and poll workers.

House and Senate Republicans have agreed on a package they want to send to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper this week to spend a little over $1 billion in coronavirus relief from Congress. The package would include sending $325 payments to households with children to help parents with child care and education. Cooper didn't have such payments in his relief proposal. He'll have to decide whether to sign the General Assembly's final package or veto it. - AP

3:56 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper will further ease pandemic-related safety restrictions later this week, in light of stabilizing virus trends.

At a press conference earlier today, Cooper announced the state will enter Phase 2.5 of his economic reopening plan. Under the new rules, playgrounds can reopen and gyms will be allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity. Mass gatherings limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. 

But, Cooper says bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters will remain shuttered. 

“We know that some businesses are still closed and that people are hurting. And the more we can do to slow the spread of this virus, the faster we can turn this dimmer switch on and let everything open. The problem is, if people don't do things to slow the spread like wearing a mask and social distancing, we're going to continue to have to be careful.” 

The new restrictions go into effect this Friday at 5 p.m

2:28 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a media briefing at 3 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live on our blog, stream on our website, or listen on 88.5 WFDD.

1:50 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 60 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total case count to 6,220. Of those, 5,461 are presumed recovered. 

Editor's note: An earlier post erroneously reported yesterday's case count and did not reflect today's totals. The post has since been been updated. 

11:45 a.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper is ready to make changes to his orders prohibiting certain retailers from opening their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooper plans to hold a Tuesday news conference to share information about “the next phase of easing restrictions” to begin later this week. Current restrictions keep bars, movie theaters and amusement parks shuttered until Sept. 11.

Gyms also have been closed since March, although some are reopening using a medical exception. Cooper announced on Monday his order requiring restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. has been extended until Oct. 2.

-The Associated Press 

11:35 a.m.

A Greensboro man has been convicted in federal court of fraud connected to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of his plea, 34-year-old Brandon Lewis admitted he set up a bogus relief fund promising payouts of up to $15,000 in exchange for a so-called reservation fee of about $1,000.

When stay-at-home orders went into effect, federal officials say Lewis set up a website selling hand sanitizers, wipes, and other items that were hard to find at the time. He received orders totaling more than $400,000 but never delivered the items.

Click here for previous updates. 

Copyright 2020 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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