Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

3:40pm Jan 15, 2021

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

 (For the latest on testing and percent positives, click here.)

Here's what we know: 

The state's county-level COVID-19 alert system was updated on December 22. Sixty-five counties are in the red — the highest level of viral spread. 90% of counties are now in either red or orange, which is the second-highest level. The alert system takes into account hospital strain, case rate, and test positivity rate. Those numbers are all trending upward statewide.

North Carolina is under a state of emergency. On December 8, Governor Roy Cooper is issued a modified Stay-At-Home order in response to record high COVID-19 case numbers across the state beginning Friday, December 11, and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021. The new order requires North Carolinians to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses, including restaurants and most retail stores, will be required to close by 10 p.m. The order also says onsite alcohol sales must end by 9 p.m. More on the Governor's Executive Order can be found here. The state remains under Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until at least Dec. 11.

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January 15, 2021

5:25 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is now taking COVID-19 vaccine appointments from people over the age of 65. The department announced it received 1500 additional vaccine doses from NCDHHS.

Those interested can register for an appointment online. The additional appointment slots are only available online and opened today at 5 p.m.

3:45 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 541 new COVID-19 cases, and 264 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 336 COVID-19 deaths. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 15.9%, and the total case count for the county is 27,595.

2:25 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 278 new cases of COVID-19 today. The total number of cases is 24,381. There have been a total of 246 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county.

Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

1:10 p.m.

Health and law enforcement officials in Greensboro are still working to identify and contain a COVID-19 outbreak at the Guilford County jail. The efforts are in response to the recent discovery of 26 inmates there who tested positive for the disease.

It began last week when three inmates who lived in the same housing pod became symptomatic and tested positive. The remaining 23 prisoners there were tested and found to be infected as well.

January 14, 2021

4:36 p.m. 

A school in Yadkin County is moving to remote learning after students tested positive for COVID-19. According to a message on its website, several students at Starmount High School tested positive this week and several staff members are in isolation or quarantine. The school plans to return to in-person classes Monday, January 25th. The campus will be closed for the next two days so that deep cleaning of all classrooms, restrooms, workrooms, athletic facilities, and offices can take place. All after school activities for the rest of this week and weekend are cancelled and a decision about resuming these activities will be made next week.

4:22 p.m.

Forsyth County is preparing to open COVID-19 vaccinations to people age 65 and older. But Public Health Director Joshua Swift says they may have to wait a while, given the overwhelming demand they've already seen.

After vaccines became available to those 75 and older, the county fielded over 50,000 calls in three days from people seeking appointments. Since then, they have hired about 15 new staffers just to call back those who were put on hold. Swift says they are looking at ways to increase their capacity moving forward. 

Swift says currently the county is able to vaccinate about 500 people per day at its clinic. He noted that more than 55,000 Forsyth County residents are over the age of 65.

2:33 p.m.

Novant Health announced it will open six mass vaccination sites in 14 counties in an effort to deliver one million doses by April. The news came after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services committed to increase its vaccine supply allotment. Novant has requested  95,000 doses a week to meet the demand. The state announced Thursday the expansion of phase b, group 1 to include persons 65 or older. According to a press release, Novant plans to offer 20,000 vaccines per day. The health care system is also partnering with Trane Technologies, which will provide freezers for ultra cold storage. 

1:40 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of North Carolina Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live on our blog. 

1:10 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with health systems, local health departments, and community health centers across the state to host community COVID-19 vaccine events for people currently eligible to be vaccinated. More than 45,000 vaccines are expected to be given through these events. 

Partners were selected based on their ability to administer a large number of vaccine doses or to provide access to vaccine doses to marginalized communities. NC Emergency Management and the National Guard are also providing support in some locations. 

Some locations are providing the vaccine by appointment only. To learn more about the events, visit the websites of the providers which are listed by county here

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available according to the state’s rollout plan and it will be free of charge, regardless of access to health insurance or legal status. As the vaccine rollout moves to the next phases, those in earlier prioritization groups will remain eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

12:55 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced today that COVID-19 vaccine providers can vaccinate all health care workers and anyone 65 years and older.  

According to a press release, since vaccine supplies are limited, states must make it available in phases. Independent state and federal public health advisory committees recommend first protecting health care workers, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

NCDHHS says it is the responsibility of all vaccine providers to ensure equitable access to vaccines. This will mean taking intentional actions to reach and engage historically marginalized communities. 

As part of the ongoing effort to educate North Carolinians about the safety, benefits, and importance of receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, NCDHHS launched "You have a spot. Take your shot." to provide all North Carolinians with information about COVID-19 vaccine development, testing, safety, side-effects, and reactions.  

12:35 p.m.

Guilford County has amended its State of Emergency order to prohibit on-premises, indoor patronage of restaurants and bars for to-go ordering and pick-up after 10 p.m.

In December of last year, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 183, allowing restaurants and bars to expand their delivery and takeout services to include mixed beverages, as an alternative to on-site consumption past the 10:00 p.m. curfew.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that the county has seen an increase in the spread of COVID-19, with a test positivity rate rising in the community. According to Alston, opportunities for local businesses to generate revenue must be weighed against doing what is needed to limit the unprecedented spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision followed consultation with commissioners, members of the restaurant industry, law enforcement, and local municipalities.

As of Friday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m., there will be no indoor patronage of bars or restaurants allowed after curfew. Delivery, curbside, pickup, and to-go ordering must be done outside.

10:20 a.m.

Twenty-six inmates who are in the same pod have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Guilford County Detention Center.

Sheriff Danny Rogers said three residents began showing symptoms last week and were quarantined, monitored, and tested, with positive results. Then 23 additional inmates tested positive and are asymptomatic, according to the sheriff. 

All Guilford County Detention Center inmates and staff will be tested, following advice from the Guilford County Health Department.

9:45 a.m.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice on priorities for the COVID-19 vaccine have been in flux. But county officials are already rolling out the vaccine for the 75 and older population across the state. Recent guidance from the federal government would lower the age to 65, but states can apply this guidance in different ways.

As of now, seniors 75 and older may have to wait a little while, and will likely need to make an appointment with their local health department or hospital. Those seeking a COVID-19 vaccination can search online by zip code on the NC Department of Health and Human Services “find your spot” website, or call their toll-free number.

Read the full Carolina Curious story here.

January 13, 2021

5:18 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 599 new COVID-19 cases, and 270 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 336 COVID-19 deaths. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 13.4%, and the total number of cases for the county is 26,492.

2:40 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 116 new cases of COVID-19 today. The total number of cases is 23,776. There have been a total of 236 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. The percentage of positive test results is 22.2% for the time frame of 12/27/20 - 1/9/21.

Click here for more information on testing information and locations, and FAQs.

1:26 p.m.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at an Alamance County high school, according to a statement released by the school district Tuesday.

A total of six cases have been connected to Southern Alamance High School in Graham. Three students and three staff members who had recently been on campus have tested positive for the virus. 

The Alamance-Burlington School System says affected areas of the school building have been disinfected and those who have been in close contact with positive cases have been notified by the county’s health department. 

12:51 p.m.

COVID-19 Vaccinations will soon be offered at the Greensboro Coliseum. 

Guilford County and Cone Health will start providing vaccinations at the coliseum for those 75 and older on Tuesday, January 19th.  The vaccinations will be by appointment only.

Guilford County residents can register through a county website, while non-residents can sign up through Cone Health. In-person registration at the coliseum will begin this Friday at 10 a.m. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

10:35 a.m.

Guilford County Schools is delaying bringing back middle and high school students for in-person instruction for at least three weeks. Both groups were scheduled to return this month and will continue with remote learning.

The board of education voted 5 to 4 to delay reentry for these students after a long meeting Tuesday night.

Board members weighed recent COVID-19 data presented by local public health officials. Guilford County’s positivity rate is more than 13 percent and hospitalizations reached record levels in recent weeks.

January 12, 2021

5:26 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 681 new COVID-19 cases, and 256 current hospitalizations. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 13.4%, and the total case count for the county is 25,893.

4:48 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 256 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. The total number of cases is 23,660. There have been a total of 235 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

3:00 p.m.

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will share an update on COVID-19 at 3:30 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD.

11:31 a.m.

Appalachian State University is pushing back the return to campus schedule after a spike in Watauga County’s COVID-19 cases.

Remote classes for the spring semester at Appalachian will begin as scheduled January 19. But in-person classes have been postponed until Feb. 1, and students will be informed about when they can return to their residence halls.

UNC Charlotte also recently announced a delay in the return to campus until Feb. 22. Online classes will begin as scheduled on Jan. 20.

January 11, 2021

4:26 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 512 new COVID-19 cases, and 275 current hospitalizations. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11.5%, and the total case count for the county is 25,212.

3:53 p.m.

The National Guard is helping the Forsyth County Department of Public Health with their COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Twelve National Guard members arrived on Monday of this week to assist in administering the vaccine, help with data entry, and other logistical aspects. As of Sunday, the department has vaccinated approximately 3,500 individuals since receiving their first shipment of the vaccine on December 22.

3:26 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 199 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. The total number of cases is 23,404. There have been a total of 235 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

January 8, 2021

6:06 p.m.

Ninety-two percent of all staffed intensive care beds across the Triad region are currently occupied, as of Friday. That’s according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Only 42 staffed ICU beds remain available in the region.

Cone Health now projects it will exceed its capacity on January 20, one day earlier than it had originally forecasted.

At a press conference earlier today, state health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the situation in hospitals statewide has become dire.

“Many hospitals have stopped non-urgent procedures to free up staff or have opened additional COVID units," she said. "The situation is so critical that last week the federal government said that if you were with people that you don't live with, you should assume you've become infected with COVID and you're a danger to others.”

Both Forsyth and Guilford Counties are designated “red” under the state’s COVID-19 county alert system, indicating the highest level of viral spread. Eighty-four of the state’s 100 counties now fall under that category. 

3:40 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 600 new COVID-19 cases, and 251 current hospitalizations. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11.5%, and the total case count for the county is 24,700.

3:22 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 279 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. The total number of cases is 22,527. There have been a total of 234 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

1:08 p.m. 

Guilford County reported an outage for their vaccine appointment hotline earlier today. The county announced just after 10:30 a.m. that the lines started working again and that over 1,500 were in a call-waiting queue. On its Twitter feed, the county said demands for appointment far exceeded doses, but that it was working to ensure those who wanted one had access. 

12:05 p.m. 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D, will hold a media briefing regarding COVID-19 at 1 p.m. Watch live here: 

 

11:04 a.m. 

Cone Health will begin vaccinating those 75 and older beginning this weekend. At the outset, a few hundred will be vaccinated per day to help the system prepare for larger-scale vaccinations later in the month. COVID-19 vaccinations begin Saturday at Cone Health Green Valley campus at 801 Green Valley Rd in Greensboro and are by appointment only. Registration is required and can be done here or by calling 336-890-1188. There is no cost to the patient. Those receiving vaccinations should expect it to take up to an hour to allow for safety monitoring. The larger-scale is expected to begin after the Martin Luther King holiday with details forthcoming. 

10:43 a.m. 

Top North Carolina prison officials are discussing whether to offer incentives to inmates who decide to get vaccinated. Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said Thursday that increased visitation privileges are among the options being considered. The state's governor and top public health officials have rejected the idea of implementing financial incentives statewide. Vaccine hesitancy has proven high among nursing home residents. Residents and workers are being paid to take a COVID-19 vaccine in some of the state's long-term care facilities. This comes as the state sees its highest levels of spread yet. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday extended a 10 p.m. curfew by three additional weeks to Jan. 29. However, he declined to take any new actions to limit transmission.

The Associated Press

January 7, 2021

6:12 p.m.

Nearly 4,000 air purifiers are being installed in the ductwork of 53 North Carolina prisons in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

These “air ionizers” work by making the virus particles heavier and easier to filter.

The IWave air purifiers were bought last month at a cost of $1.8 million and are in the process of being installed in the ductwork in the facilities.

Around 20 percent of the installation has been completed and the project is anticipated to be finished by early next month. Installation is being done by Prisons’ facility management staff with the assistance of staff in Central Engineering and the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Safety, Occupational and Environment Health.

5:33 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 661 new COVID-19 cases, and 257 current hospitalizations. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11.2%, and the total case count for the county is 24,100.

4:36 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 335 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. The total number of cases is 22,248. There have been a total of 233 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

3:50 p.m.

Wake Forest Baptist Health today began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to a small group of its patients 75 and older at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Wake Forest Baptist patients will continue to be updated about access to vaccination opportunities through their myWakeHealth account and on Wake Forest Baptist’s COVID-19 Vaccine website at www.wakehealth.edu/Coronavirus/Vaccine.

2:28 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is reaching its capacity for appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors age 75 and older. The appointment line will no longer be accepting calls starting at 2 p.m. on Jan. 7. Public Health staff has a call log from its phone system and will be returning calls of those who couldn’t get through, in the order they were received, until all remaining appointments are filled. Public Health staff will leave messages but will not accept return calls. Registration options will be opened again once Public Health receives more vaccine.

The vaccine appointment line number, 336-703-2081, will show up in the caller ID of those who are called. Since thousands of people called the appointment line, staff will only try to contact each person one time until the appointments are full.

Since December 23, Public Health and Emergency Services staff have vaccinated approximately 2,300 individuals. Staff vaccinated 550 people yesterday, which was the first day for seniors age 75 and older, who are Group 1 of Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout.

12:30 p.m.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 10,398 new cases of COVID-19, setting a new daily record. 

11:05 a.m.

Cone Health, Novant Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health are looking at ways to coordinate efforts as they respond to COVID-19 and rising hospitalizations.

In a press release, the health care providers said they’ve been communicating since the beginning of the pandemic. That has evolved into weekly planning calls with physician leaders, emergency management teams, and nursing leaders. This will allow for coordination of medical care across the region, if necessary. 

The group is also launching a marketing campaign comprised of billboards, commercials, and online ads throughout the Triad urging the public to “choose courage” and recommit to the 3Ws to slow down the spread of COVID-19 cases in the area.

January 6, 2021

6:05 p.m. 

North Carolina’s new chief justice says he’s asked Gov. Roy Cooper to consider getting COVID-19 vaccines more quickly to local court officials to meet a requirement to keep open the courts. Chief Justice Paul Newby made the remark at Wednesday’s online installation ceremony for himself and two new justices. Court activities in all 100 counties have been dramatically scaled back since the pandemic began. Last month, outgoing Chief Justice Cheri Beasley delayed most court proceedings statewide for 30 days, citing a case surge. Associate Justices Phil Berger Jr. and Tamara Barringer also participated in Wednesday's ceremony.

5:12 p.m. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has extended the statewide curfew but added no new restrictions on businesses or individuals. Several counties in the state have begun vaccinating adults 75 years or older. Public health officials are warning that demand is outpacing supply and will continue to be limited in the coming weeks. Hospital workers that have come into frequent contact with COVID-19 were prioritized first. The state hopes education will help boost vaccine participation among workers in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes.

2:37 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has begun vaccinating seniors age 75 and older. These individuals make up Group 1 of Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

According to a press release, over 400 vaccination appointments have been booked for Wednesday, with more booked for other days. The current vaccine supply is limited and the department won’t be operating on a larger scale until more vaccines are available next month.

The vaccination appointment line is experiencing extremely high call volumes with more than 700 callers on the line at once yesterday evening. The high call volumes are also causing technical issues that the county is working to rectify. Those who do not want to experience these wait times are encouraged to call back at a later date.

1:30 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.

 

12:35 p.m.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is continuing with its plan to bring back more students for in-person learning.

The school board paused its reopening plan in November because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community. But it’s now moving forward.

On Monday, January 11, grades 2, 3 and 6 will return. The following week (Jan.19), Grades 4, 5, 7 and 8 will head back. High school students are also scheduled to return the week of January 25. 

Flex days will also change from Fridays to Wednesdays starting in early February to allow teachers more time to plan for lessons and for deep cleaning.

January 5, 2021

6:21 p.m.

Forsyth and Guilford County residents over the age 75 will soon be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Beginning Wednesday, Forsyth County will begin vaccinating people ages 75 and older, regardless of health conditions. Guilford County will do the same starting Monday. 

Forsyth residents who qualify can now call the county public health department to schedule an appointment. Appointment phone lines at the Guilford County Public Health Department will open Friday at 8 a.m.

County officials say callers will need to be patient due to high call volume. 

Davidson County also began taking appointments for residents 75 and over on Monday. Officials report all 1,100 slots for this week were filled within a few hours. 

5:45 p.m.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says most nursing home workers are refusing coronavirus vaccines. 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Cohen noted that vaccine hesitancy among long-term care staff is “concerning.” She said anecdotal reports indicate that more than half are declining to be immunized. 

This comes as the state sees one of the slowest vaccines rollouts in the nation. 

Gov. Roy Cooper is deploying National Guard members to help accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations. Cohen says some will serve as vaccinators. Other members will help with logistics of vaccination events. 

Nearly 110,000 people in North Carolina had received their first dose as of Tuesday morning. This represents less than 1% of the state’s population of 10.5 million people. 

5:17 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 523 new COVID-19 cases, and 238 current hospitalizations. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 10.4%, and the total case count for the county is 22,995.

3:34 p.m.

The Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro has re-opened a hotel shelter program for people experiencing homelessness. The white flag emergency winter shelter program will be moved to a hotel shelter program through the beginning of March. The program aims to keep people experiencing homelessness from facing extreme, potentially deadly temperatures while living on the street, while simultaneously stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Guilford County. 

2:50 p.m.

Forsyth County health officials are urging patience during the inital phases of COVID-19 vaccinations. High call volumes will result in long wait times for callers and Public Health's supply of vaccine is limited. The vaccinations won't be operating at a larger scale until more vaccine is available in February. The public health department says staff is working to improve the appointment process and plans to add online options when it has more vaccine. In a press release, officials say, "While the supply is currently limited, Public Health continues to receive shipments of COVID-19 vaccines and will be able to vaccinate everyone who falls into each Phase over the next several months. Public health has been doing COVID-19 vaccinations almost every day since receiving its first shipment on Dec. 23, following the proper storage and usage guidelines for each vaccine." 

2:42 p.m.

NCDHHS announced that Food and Nutrition Services recipients will see a temporary increase in the amount of benefits they receive. This increase is part of the federal Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020.

The maximum benefit amount for households receiving FNS will increase by 15% until June 30, 2021. This increase will end on June 30, 2021, when benefit amounts will return to their current levels. 

1:21 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 164 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The total number of cases is 21,691. There have been a total of 231 deaths from the novel coronavirus reported in the county. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

10:50 a.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 293 new COVID-19 cases, and 244 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified six new deaths, and a total of 312 COVID-19 deaths. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 10.4%, and the total case count for the county is 22,472.

January 4, 2021

2:09 p.m.

North Carolina A&T State University will receive five deep-cold storage freezers for COVID-19 vaccines. The school will receive two large Stirling Ultracold units and three smaller ones, creating capacity for cold storage of 117,600 COVID-19 vaccines. The smaller units are mobile freezers, which will enable A&T to help serve underserved community populations. The UNC System office will coordinate distribution of vaccines to system campuses with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Offices. Neither A&T nor its system peers will independently procure vaccines.

1:56 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 160 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths Monday. Over the weekend, there were 724 new cases and four deaths. The total number of cases is 21,527. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

On Wednesday, Jan.6, the Forsyth County Department of Public Health will open Tier 1 of Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the public, which is devoted to vaccinating all individuals 75 years old and older, regardless of health conditions. 

Individuals that meet this criteria can call 336-703-2081 to schedule an appointment. Due to high call volume, callers will need to be patient. It's important for individuals to attend their appointment or cancel at least two hours in advance. There's a limited time frame to use the vaccine once it's thawed for use. So that none of Public Health's limited supply of vaccine goes to waste, staff need time to schedule others to receive the vaccine in the event of a cancelation. 

Vaccinations for those in Phase 1a, which is health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care residents and staff, will also continue. Vaccinations for Phase 1a and Tier 1 of Phase 1b are expected to continue for several more weeks. 

The upcoming Tier 2 for Phase 1b will be healthcare workers and frontline workers 50 years-old and older, followed by Tier 3 for healthcare and frontline workers of any age. Public Health will notify the public when it is ready to begin these tiers. 

1:20 p.m.

Cone Health has shared a new graph created by the Cone Health Enterprise Analytics Team which shows the impact of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization numbers. 

December 30, 2020

5:30 p.m. 

Two leaders at the North Carolina state prison that has recorded the most COVID-19 cases among offenders have died. A state prison official confirmed Wednesday that the warden at Tabor Correctional Institution died Dec. 15 and an associate warden died Dec. 24. The official says the department can’t disclose medical details of employees. The son of the associate warden told The Charlotte Observer that his father died from coronavirus complications. Tabor has recorded 560 cases among offenders during the pandemic, although only a few cases are active. Dozens of Tabor staff members who have tested positive are still off the job this week.

5:23 p.m. 

North Carolina has revised its vaccine distribution to more closely align its plan with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state expects most health care providers to make vaccines available to adults aged 75 or older by the middle of January. North Carolina is seeing a slowdown in the number of vaccines it is receiving from the federal government. About 60,000 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected to be provided each week through the end of January. Gov. Roy Cooper has also set a one-month moratorium on evictions in the state.

1:00 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.

 

December 23, 2020

1:53 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 209 cases of COVID-19 and five deaths Wednesday. The total number of cases is 18,979. Of those, 15,742 are presumed recovered. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

12:51 p.m.

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The Moderna vaccine. Image courtesy: Forsyth Public Health

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health received its first shipment of vaccine for COVID-19 on Dec. 22 and will be administering it to heath care workers and long-term care residents and staff as part of the phased rollout for vaccinating the community.

Forsyth Public Health’s first shipment is 2,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine. It does not have to be kept at an ultra-cold temperature and can be stored in a regular freezer where it will remain stable for 30 days. To be effective, it requires two doses given 28 days apart.

It is being administered to health care workers fighting COVID-19 and those who live and work at long-term care facilities as part of Phase 1a of the state’s vaccine rollout plan.

December 22, 2020

6:10 p.m.

With North Carolina courts closed for in-person appearances through mid-January due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, eviction hearings are temporarily put on pause. But eviction proceedings that are already in progress continue.

Outgoing North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley halted non-essential in-person court proceedings for 30 days, effective December 14. 

But this doesn’t stop sheriff's deputies from carrying out writs of possession from eviction cases that have already been decided. 

These actions are continuing during a federal eviction moratorium, created to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The moratorium hasn’t been followed evenly across the state despite mounting evidence that evictions could increase COVID-19 numbers, and be linked to thousands of coronavirus deaths nationally.

5:40 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 525 new COVID-19 cases today, and 202 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified 11 new deaths today, and a total of 289 COVID-19 deaths. 

The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11.1 percent, and the total case count for the county is 20,495.

2:45 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen shared updates on  North Carolina’s distribution of two COVID-19 vaccines during a press conference today.

The state expects to receive an estimated 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 176,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage and is scheduled to go to 59 hospitals and 97 local health departments.

Gov. Cooper and health officials are also warning against traveling and attending large gatherings ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Officials also reminded people that the statewide mask mandate and Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will stay in effect until at least January 8, 2021.

2:30 p.m.

More than 90 percent of North Carolina counties are now designated as red or orange under the COVID-19 County Alert System.

There are currently 65 red counties, 27 orange counties, and 8 yellow counties. To see where each county stands and how the alert system was designed, there is an updated report.

 

 

1:23 p.m. 

Forsyth County is reporting 245 cases of COVID-19 and one death Tuesday. The total number of cases is 18,770. Of those, 15,425 are presumed recovered. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

 

1:09 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its dashboard Tuesday to include data on people vaccinated. The data will show the total number of people statewide and by county of residence who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Data for those that receive the second vaccine will be updated in January.

Today's data is through December 22 at 8 a.m. It will also include statewide data on vaccinations by race, ethnicity, gender, and age group. The vaccine data will be updated weekly on Tuesdays. 

More information on vaccines and vaccine distribution can be found here

10:20 a.m.

The Arts Council of Winton-Salem & Forsyth County announced that more than $400,000 in “NC CARES for Arts” funding will be divided among 21 arts and cultural organizations.

The money is part of the state’s spending plan for funds received through the federal CARES act.

Arts Council President and CEO Chase Law says in a news release that each organization can expect to receive between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on the amount of eligible expenses submitted in the application process.

Winston-Salem, now branded as the “City of Arts and Innovation,” has been hard hit by the repercussions of shutdowns related to COVID-19.

Forsyth County’s nonprofit arts industry supports more than 5,500 full-time workers, accounting for almost $130 million in resident household income. It normally generates nearly $15 million in local and state tax revenues.

 

December 21, 2020

5:35 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 387 new COVID-19 cases today, and 205 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 278 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11 percent, and the total case count for the county is 19,970.

4:20 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order authorizing the North Carolina ABC Commission to allow delivery and carry-out of mixed beverages, effective December 21 at 5 p.m. through January 31, 2021.

Businesses with certain permits, including restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars, and some distilleries, will be allowed to sell mixed beverages to-go or for delivery. 

The Modified Stay at Home Order remains in effect and the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption still must end at 9 p.m. Businesses may continue to sell mixed beverages for off-site consumption until they close, in accordance with other applicable laws and regulations.

2:05 p.m.

Brenner Children’s Hospital is now offering appointment-only, drive-up COVID-19 testing for children and young adults up to 22 years of age.

According to a press release from Wake Forest Baptist Health, the testing center is located outside the hospital's emergency department and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 must first visit a health care provider who will order the test and schedule an appointment at the testing center.

Those without symptoms, but who need a test to return to daycare, school or work, should make an appointment in advance by calling 336-702-8054. A parent or legal guardian must be present with those under 18.

This testing site does not offer travel screening.

1:20 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 791 new cases of COVID-19, and nine new deaths from the novel coronavirus since Friday. 

The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 18,525. There have been a total of 206 COVID-19 deaths in the county. 

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

December 18, 2020

5:15 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 356 new COVID-19 cases today, and 201 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 278 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11 percent, and the total case count for the county is 19,583.

2:19 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 305 new cases of COVID-19, and one new death from the novel coronavirus. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 17,734. There have been a total of 197 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

The percent of tests that are positive for the period from 11/22/20 - 12/05/20 is 18.9 percent.

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

12:54 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day number of new COVID-19 cases. According to a press release, 8,444 were new cases reported today, doubling a record day reported just one month ago on Nov. 19 when the state reported 4,296 new cases.

"I am very worried for our state. Everyone must act right now to protect each other," said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen in the release. "Do not wait until it’s you or your loved sick with COVID-19 to wear a mask, wait apart from others and wash your hands often. Do not wait until it’s you or your loved one alone in a hospital bed. Do not wait until you’ve lost a loved one to this pandemic. Take personal responsibility for you, your loved ones and your community now."

State health officials are advising North Carolinians to avoid travel over the holiday season to prevent another surge in cases. 

December 17, 2020

5:15 p.m

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 559 new COVID-19 cases today, and 195 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 278 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 10.9 percent, and the total case count for the county is 19,227.

4:10 p.m.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is expecting to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the next week as part of the phased rollout for vaccinating the community. The first expected shipment will be 2,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine, pending its approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

It will be administered following Phase 1a of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, which means first given to health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care residents and staff.

Wake Forest Baptist Health has already received a shipment of the Pfizer vaccine and has begun vaccinations.

The phases for vaccine rollout are:

Phase 1a: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 as well as long-term care residents and staff.

Phase 1b: Includes adults with two or more chronic conditions as defined by the CDC, and those working in prisons, jails, and homeless shelters.

Phase 2: Adults over 65, people with one chronic condition, essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, or migrant and fishery housing.

Phase 3: College and university students, K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children, and those employed in jobs that are critical to society who are at lower risk of exposure.

Phase 4: Everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination.

2:40 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 205 new cases of COVID-19, and seven new deaths from the novel coronavirus. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 17,429.

There have been a total of 196 COVID-19 deaths in the county. The percent of tests that are positive for the period from 11/22/20 - 12/05/20 is 18.9 percent.

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

12:51 p.m. 

The NC Department of Health and Human Services has selected 17 school districts and 11 charter schools to participate in a program to deploy COVID-19 rapid testing. The goal is to quickly identify students and staff who may have coronavirus, particularly after the holidays, and ultimately slow its spread. NCDHHS sent these districts more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests to be used on those with symptoms or who have had close contact with someone with the virus. 

To be selected for the first phase of the program, local education agencies had to confirm to their local health department that each participating school can:

  • obtain parental/guardian consent prior to testing
  • maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment
  • have trained personnel to administer tests or partner with a local health provider
  • report test results to state and local public health agencies

More information on the COVID-19 testing pilot for K-12 schools is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#schools.

11:37 a.m. 

Guilford County is preparing for the distribution of Phase 1A COVID-19 Vaccinations in the coming days.

The county will begin with health care workers at high risk for exposure to COVID-19, doctors, nurses, and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients and those giving vaccines to these workers. This also includes Long-Term Care staff and residents, in skilled nursing facilities and in group homes.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are given in two doses set a number of days apart, 21 or 28 days depending on the manufacturer and both doses must be the same vaccine. 

Individuals seeking information about the vaccines and the state’s phased distribution plan can learn more at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines and continuing to monitor the County’s website and press releases.

10:45 a.m.

An outbreak of COVID-19 has led to more than 30 cases connected to the Forsyth County jail.

The sheriff’s office says 31 inmates tested positive as of Tuesday. Additionally, state trackers say six staff members also had positive tests.

So far, no deaths have been connected to the outbreak. The infected inmates have been moved to a quarantine area. 

For places like jails and nursing homes — where many people live together — the state defines an outbreak as two or more positive tests.

The jail is run by the county, but there have also been surges in the state’s inmate and staff population. Earlier this month, a superior court judge authorized a third-party expert to scrutinize the response to the pandemic within the state’s prison system.

10:15 a.m.

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office administration building will be closed until Monday, December 18th. Officials say a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sheriff Danny Rogers has announced that the building, located on West Washington Street in Greensboro, is expected to reopen Monday at 8 a.m.

According to a news release, administrative issues should be directed to the Legal Process division in the Greensboro courthouse. The office said daily operations will be conducted and carried out from other locations.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday their administrative offices would be closed through the end of this week due to positive COVID-19 cases being identified.

Guilford County is still mourning the loss of Master Corporal Deputy Sheriff Norman Daye, who died this week from complications related to COVID-19. His funeral will be held Friday afternoon, according to an obituary.

Deputy LaKiya Rouse, who worked as a bailiff at the Guilford County Courthouse, died in October after contracting the disease.

December 16, 2020

5:00 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 367 new COVID-19 cases today, and 203 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 278 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 10.9 percent, and the total case count for the county is 18,668.

3:40 p.m.

Guilford County Schools sent out a press release outlining some changes to how the district helps provide internet access to those learning from home. GCS will discontinue the use of SMART Buses after Dec. 22 so that those buses and drivers can be used to transport students to schools.

In an email, GCS says, "However, internet access will still be available. Families who need internet access for students learning remotely or for other schoolwork can request a hotspot from their child’s school. One hotspot will be available per household, only for those households that do not have internet access. These devices are free and will be available to use through the end of the school year."

The district says it is working to provide devices for all students and staff in the coming months. For more information on reopening schools, visit www.gcsnc.com/reopening.

12:47 p.m.

One hundred and eighty-nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Forsyth County, bringing the total to 17,224. Of those, 13,904 are presumed recovered.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “We need to maximize prevention efforts until widespread vaccination is accomplished. We must continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and practice social distancing."

 

December 15, 2020

4:40 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper is asking for more guidance from the federal government about vaccine distribution plans. 

At a press conference Tuesday, Cooper said the state began vaccinating health care workers yesterday and plans to start inoculating long-term care residents by the end of the month. But, they still don’t know exactly how many doses to expect and when. 

“North Carolina and every other state still needs clarity from the federal government as to how many doses of the Pfizer vaccine we will receive going forward," said Cooper.  "We've been told that each Friday we'll get information about the following week’s shipment, giving the states just a few hours to direct where those shipments will go.”

Cooper said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence about the issue on a call with other governors Monday, and was told he would work on it. 

Cooper says they are hopeful another vaccine by Moderna will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. If it is, they could receive 175,000 doses of it next week. 
 

4:30 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 350 new COVID-19 cases today, and 196 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 268 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 11.8 percent, and the total case count for the county is 18,301.

2:45 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is offering more than 300 free, walk-up or drive-thru COVID-19 testing events over the next two weeks. The aim of the expanded testing is to help North Carolinians protect themselves and their loved ones during the holidays. This program includes testing in partnership with new retailers in seven counties across the state.

In addition to existing testing events throughout North Carolina, retailers in Buncombe, Durham, Harnett, Iredell, Lee, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties are offering testing Dec. 18-20 and Dec. 26-27 in the parking lots of select Agri Supply, Carlie C’s IGA, Home Depot, Piggly Wiggly, and Wegman’s stores.

For a full list of all testing event times and locations throughout the state, visit the No-Cost Community Testing Events page on the NCDHHS website. More locations are being added each day, and additional testing sites can be found at Find My Testing Place.

1:45 p.m. 

Two hundred and fifty new cases of COVID-19 were reported Tuesday in Forsyth County bringing the total number to 17,035. Of those, 13,594 are presumed recovered. One death previously reported was updated by NCDHHS. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The percent positive has decreased for two consecutive weeks, while hospitalizations have also decreased. Both are promising signs as we look forward to vaccination distribution."

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events:

• Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, 421 27th St NW, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

• Thursday, Dec. 17, at EMS Triangle Station (Waughtown), 3260 Kernersville Rd., from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

• Saturday, Dec. 19, at EMS Triangle Station (Waughtown), 3260 Kernersville Rd., from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

1:36 p.m. 

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

10:42 a.m.

Winston-Salem State University’s men’s and women’s basketball seasons are over with word that the CIAA is shutting down play for the year.

The league said in a release that the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to see a way forward in the coming months.

“The impact to health and wellness, community concerns as well as the economic ramifications are real,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said.

Also canceled is the league’s annual tournament, which has had a long run in Charlotte but was scheduled to be held in Baltimore in 2021.

The CIAA is comprised of 12 members from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
More than half its schools are based in North Carolina. Winston-Salem State is the only Triad-area school in the league.

10:05 a.m. 

The High Point Market Authority is postponing its Spring Market, which usually takes place in mid-April, until June 5-9, 2021 due to the pandemic.

“We are encouraged by the recent headlines about COVID-19 vaccines, but realistic about its impact on a spring timeframe, as the rollout will be slow. Coupled with the reality within our industry regarding supply shortages and manufacturing/shipping disruptions, the board of directors agreed it would be most beneficial to delay Spring Market until June,” commented Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority.

Registration for the Spring 2021 Market will open in late February at www.highpointmarket.org. The Fall 2021 Market dates remain as scheduled for October 16-20.

9:48 a.m.

Beginning December 16 at 7 a.m., Cone Health is asking visitors not to accompany others to emergency departments. Friends, relatives, and others with those who are seeking care are asked to wait in their cars outside. There are exemptions for children and those with special needs. This is part of an effort to protect health care providers, as well as those who are accompanying those in need of emergency attention. 

Emergency staff will update those in cars on the status of their loved ones, as well as using iPad and other technology to connect them. Adults should accompany children in the ER. Those who have cognitive or behavioral needs, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or those unable to make medical decisions, may have a support person with them. 

December 14, 2020

5:09 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 455 new COVID-19 cases today, and 198 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 268 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 10.4 percent, and the total case count for the county is 17,951.

1:35 p.m.

Atrium Health's Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Katie Passaretti is the first person in North Carolina to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

1:26 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 770 new cases of COVID-19, and 12 new deaths from the novel coronavirus since Friday. 

The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 16,785. There have been a total of 190 COVID-19 deaths in the county. The percent of tests that are positive for the period from 11/22/20 - 12/05/20 is 18.9 percent.

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

9:50 a.m.

Media outlets are reporting that shipments of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Monday morning. Baptist is one of 11 sites in North Carolina getting the initial vaccines since the hospital has cold storage. 

December 11, 2020

6:20 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 469 new COVID-19 cases today, and 192 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified 9 new deaths and a total of 268 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 9.5 percent, and the total case count for the county is 17,496.

5:47 p.m.

The chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court says non-essential, in-person court proceedings will be halted starting Monday for 30 days due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley says in a news release on Friday that the pause is necessary to protect the health and safety of court personnel and the public. According to the news release, since the start of the pandemic, judicial branch officials and employees have reported 291 confirmed positive cases. In addition, more than half of North Carolina’s county courthouses have been partially or completely closed due to COVID-19, and 11 of those closures occurred this week. - AP

5:28 p.m.

Visitors entering some City of Greensboro facilities will be subject to a temperature check as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Locations include the Melvin Municipal Office Building, and the Water Resources customer service location at the Kitchen Operations Center. Individuals will undergo a no-touch temperature scan beginning Monday, December 14. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be asked to leave the building. If potential visitors are exhibiting symptoms, the city asks that individuals please stay home, and conduct their business online.

4:08 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s modified stay-at-home order requiring residents to remain off the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. goes into effect today

The directive orders bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and personal care businesses closed by 10 p.m., though grocery stores will be allowed to operate within the seven-hour window.

On-site alcohol sales at bars must end by 9 p.m.

Travel to and from work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. is still permitted, as is travel to get food, gas, medical care, or social services.

Cooper's directive aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus at a time when the state's hospitals face an increased risk of being overrun.

As of Friday, only 16 percent of the state’s staffed ICU beds remain available. 

The state also set yet another record for new COVID-19 cases Friday, with more than 7,500 reported. Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health secretary, called the development “staggering and alarming.”

1:20 p.m.

329 more cases of COVID-19 are reported in Forsyth County Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 16,015. Of those,13,022 are presumed recovered. There have been a total of 178 deaths in Forsyth County.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “As our cases continue to rise, individuals who test positive need to notify their close contacts. Those who test positive and those who are deemed close contacts need to stay home per CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of this virus.”

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events:

• Saturday, Dec. 12, at Gate 9 of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, 421 27th St NW, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Mondays at Winston Lake YMCA, 901 Waterworks Road, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

For more information visit www.forsyth.cc/covidupdate

12:27 p.m.

The City of Winston-Salem says it will resume water service disconnections in January. A press release states, "Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities resumed charging late fees on past-due bills in October and returns to standard business practices in January, which includes disconnection of delinquent accounts." More information can be found here.

12:04 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today released the following statement from NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.:

Having more than 7,500 cases is staggering and alarming. We are now seeing the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings. Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick or alone in the hospital or you are facing the loss of a loved one to wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. Act now. Please ask yourself what you can do to help slow the spread of this virus and save lives.

I want to remind everyone that our Modified Stay at Home Order goes into effect tonight. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, will be required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.

9:15 a.m.

North Carolina could receive its first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days. But state officials say it could be many months before it becomes accessible to the general public.

Nearly 86,000 doses of the vaccine have been set aside for North Carolina, and distribution could start as soon as next week. 

State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said at a press conference Thursday that those first doses will go to health care workers in about half the state’s hospitals. After that, the plan gets murky. 

"We don't really know yet what the time sequence is going to be in terms of us having a vaccine that is more widely available for the general public," said Cohen. "It is not going to be in the early part of 2021. Let me just say that I think it's going to be closer to the springtime."

December 10, 2020 

4:56 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 348 new COVID-19 cases today, and 190 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 259 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 9.1 percent, and the total case count for the county is 17,027.

12:46 p.m. 

206 more cases of COVID-19 are reported in Forsyth County Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 15,686. Of those,12,848 are presumed recovered. Two deaths were also reported.

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events this week:

• Thursday, Dec. 10, at EMS Triangle Station (Waughtown), 3260 Kernersville Rd., from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

• Saturday, Dec. 12, at Gate 9 of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, 421 27th St NW, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information visit www.forsyth.cc/covidupdate

10:29 a.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Division of Public Health Pharmacist Dr. Amanda Fuller Moore, PharmD, will be available Thursday at 11 a.m. for a dial-in media briefing regarding COVID-19 vaccines and the distribution of vaccines in North Carolina. Watch live here: 

 

December 9, 2020

4:19 p.m. 

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 275 new COVID-19 cases today, and 193 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 259 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 8.4 percent, and the total case count for the county is 16,679.

1:08 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 346 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total number to 15,480. Of those, 12,660 are presumed recovered. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

Now that the county is designated red under the state's COVID-19 county alert system, the county health department has issued new advice. 

NC DHHS advises residents in all North Carolina counties to continue wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, getting a flu shot, limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people and avoiding large crowds. In addition to that guidance, individuals in red and orange counties are advised to take these additional precautions:
• Limit mixing between households and minimize the number of people in your social circle
• Avoid settings where people congregate, like outdoor bars and night spots (in NC, indoor bars remain closed and indoor night spots must remain below indoor mass gathering limits)
• If patronizing restaurants, consider ordering take out from restaurants and/or eating outdoors socially distanced
• Individuals who are high-risk for developing serious illness should consider staying at home as much as possible
• Reduce your public interactions to mainly essential activities like going to work or school, caring for family members, buying food, getting health care or picking up medications

12:41 p.m.

88% of all staffed intensive care beds across the Triad region are currently occupied, as of Wednesday. That’s according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Only 73 staffed ICU beds remain available in the region. 

Yesterday, 103 COVID-19 positive patients were admitted to hospitals across the Triad. That’s more than double the daily admission number from one month ago. 

Both Forsyth and Guilford Counties are now designated “red” under the state’s COVID-19 county alert system, indicating the highest level of viral spread. 

December 8, 2020

5:00 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 609 new COVID-19 cases today, and 188 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 259 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 8.3 percent, and the total case count for the county is 16,404.

3:24 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper is issuing a modified Stay-At-Home order in response to record high COVID-19 case numbers across the state. At a press conference earlier today, Cooper said the new order will require North Carolinians to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses, including restaurants and most retail stores, will be required to close by 10 p.m. The order also says onsite alcohol sales must end by 9 p.m.

“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.” 

Exemptions to the order include travel to and from work; obtaining food, medical care, fuel, or social services; or taking care of a family member. 

2:40 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will give an update at 3 p.m. Watch live here or listen on 88.5 FM.

2:00 p.m. 

Forsyth County is reporting 215 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number to 15,134. Of those, 12,195 are presumed recovered. Click here for more information on testing information and locations, percentage of tests that are positive during the last 14 days, and FAQs.

11:32 a.m.

Two Republican members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation have returned to work in Washington after both tested positive recently for COVID-19. U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk tested positive the week of Nov. 23. Rep. Ted Budd of Advance had announced last week he received a similar coronavirus diagnosis. The 77-year-old Foxx was asymptomatic, while Budd said he had mild symptoms. Foxx's office and Budd said on Monday that they were back in the nation's capital. Foxx and Budd both won reelection last month.

December 7, 2020

6:19 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 308 new COVID-19 cases today, and 174 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 247 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 8.3 percent, and the total case count for the county is 15,795.

12:56 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 739 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday and four deaths. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 14,919. There have been a total of 173 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

12,074 county residents are presumed recovered from the novel coronavirus.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The uptick in cases is evidence that there is wide community spread of COVID-19 in Forsyth County. As our cases per day goes up, it is even more critical that everyone wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands often. We all know what to do; we just have to do it."

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events this week:
• Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Gate 9 of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, 421 27th St NW, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
• Thursday, Dec. 10, at EMS Triangle Station (Waughtown), 3260 Kernersville Rd., from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 12, at Gate 9 of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, 421 27th St NW, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
 

December 5, 2020

12:20 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today released the following statement from NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

“In less than a week, we went from exceeding 5,000 new cases reported in one day to exceeding 6,000. This is very worrisome. We are seeing our highest rates of tests that come back positive despite the fact we are doing a lot of testing. This indicates we have even more viral spread across our state right now. We have record numbers of hospitalizations and people in the ICU. I am asking each North Carolinian to take personal responsibility for their actions and slowing the spread of this virus. Always wear a mask when with people you don’t live with, keep your distance from other people and wash your hands often. We are looking at what further actions we can take as a state to protect North Carolinians and save lives.”

December 4, 2020

4:45 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is launching a pilot program to start COVID-19 testing in K-12 public schools. This will help to quickly identify students and staff who may have the virus. The program will use the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test card, which uses a nasal swab to detect COVID-19 and provides results in 15 minutes without laboratory processing. 

Local education agencies offering any in-person instruction — either Plan A or Plan B — can apply. Selected sites will receive federally-funded rapid antigen tests to be used for students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

To apply for the program, local education agencies must submit a readiness checklist for each participating school to their local health department.

4:14 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 322 new COVID-19 cases today, and 162 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified one new death today and a total of 247 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 9.3 percent, and the total case count for the county is 15,487. 

Guilford County is now classified as ‘red’ under NCDHHS’s COVID-19 County Alert System, meaning there is critical community spread of the virus.

1:15 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 288 new cases of COVID-19 and one death today. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 14,180. There have been a total of 169 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

11,670 county residents are presumed recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

“Today’s case count is the largest so far for Forsyth County and is a
reminder that we all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19," Public Health Director Joshua Swift said in a statement. "It is imperative that we protect each other by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, so we can return to a strong economy and normal day-to-day activities. We must take these steps or our numbers will continue to increase.“

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events this week:

  • Friday, Dec. 4 , at Southeast Plaza, 3067 Waughtown St, from 12 p.m.- 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 , at Shiloh Baptist Church, 916 E. 12th St, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

9:38 a.m.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in North Carolina have reached their worst levels since the pandemic began. But the state's top health official said Thursday more restrictions may not be needed if people follow the existing rules.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, health department secretary, says the state is open to further restrictions. But she also repeated her calls for more mask wearing, hand washing and physical distancing.

Meanwhile, Gov. Roy Cooper has been reluctant to impose additional restrictions on businesses. Pfizer's vaccine could arrive in North Carolina as early as Dec. 15.

Health care workers will be first to receive the initial wave of 85,000 doses once the vaccine is approved.

-The Associated Press

9:30 a.m.

The Guilford County School district is partnering with a national group to assess learning loss during the pandemic.

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) will measure student academic progress.

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras says since schools closed to in-person learning, the district hasn’t had a reliable way to measure student skills in reading and math. The assessment will be used to inform instruction, personalize learning, and monitor the growth of individual students.

Kids will take a computer-adaptive test, which means if a student answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If they answer incorrectly, the next one is easier, allowing them to perform at their current level.

December 3, 2020

6:06 p.m.

State officials announced this week that residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first in North Carolina to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In Forsyth County, the virus is hitting these facilities especially hard. 

Twenty-two county residential care and nursing home facilities are currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services. Only Mecklenburg County has reported more. 

About 50% of the county’s COVID-19 related deaths are connected to long-term care settings. Statewide, that number is closer to 40%. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said at a press conference Thursday that’s why residents and staff of these facilities are being prioritized when it comes to vaccine distribution. 

5:41 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 133 new COVID-19 cases today, and 166 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 246 COVID-19 deaths. The percent positive for the last 14 days is 9.5%, and the total case count for the county is 15,165.    

4:34 p.m.

A group of experts is working with school systems across the state to help them interpret community COVID-19 data and make informed decisions about returning for in-person learning. Members of ABC Science Collaborative met virtually with educators to discuss their concerns.

The North Carolina Association of Educators hosted the Zoom event. Researchers outlined twelve steps they're recommending prior to reopening schools.

They include being transparent about the number of reported infections, developing a dashboard to track data, starting back to in-person slowly, and acknowledging pandemic fatigue by staying adherent to protocols such as mask-wearing.

1:40 p.m.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen will hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here:

1:06 p.m.

189 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Forsyth County on Thursday bringing the total to 13,892, Of those, 11,521 are presumed recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events this week:

• Thursday, Dec. 3, at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 4129 Northampton Dr, from 12 p.m.- 3 p.m.

• Friday, Dec. 4, at Southeast Plaza, 3067 Waughtown St, from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

December 2, 2020

4:51 p.m.

Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 84 new COVID-19 cases today, and 159 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 239 COVID-19 deaths. The percent positive for the last 14 days is 9.4%, and the total case count for the county is 15,032.    

1:54 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 165 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths today. The total laboratory-confirmed case count for Forsyth is 13,703. There have been a total of 168 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

11,364 county residents are presumed recovered from the novel coronavirus. 

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

11:50 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that the state will soon receive about 85,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government.

His health secretary, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said she anticipates the federal government will provide the first allotment as early as Dec. 15, with additional doses being distributed to states on a weekly basis.

Hospital workers will be the first to receive the vaccine in North Carolina, according to Cooper and Cohen. Other healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be next in line. Residents who self-report at least two serious underlying health issues will be prioritized next.

The Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a Dec. 10 meeting to discuss Pfizer's request for emergency use authorization for its vaccine, which must then be administered in two doses scheduled three weeks apart from one another. 

-The Associated Press

December 1, 2020

6:12 p.m.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is reporting 233 new COVID-19 cases today, and 163 current hospitalizations. GCDPH has verified a total of 225 COVID-19 deaths. The percent-positive for the last 14 days is 9.4 percent, and the total case count for the county is 14,948. 

Guilford County is now classified as ‘red’ under NCDHHS’s COVID-19 County Alert System, meaning there is critical community spread of the virus.

2:30 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.

1:10 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 117 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the total to 13,538. Of those, 11,142 are presumed recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will host the following no-cost COVID-19 community testing events this week:

• Thursday, Dec. 3, at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 4129 Northampton Dr, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

• Friday, Dec. 4, at Southeast Plaza, 3067 Waughtown St, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

12:26 p.m. 

A North Carolina sheriff who has been vocal in his opposition to mask mandates has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page quarantined while working from home since receiving a positive test result in mid-November.

Lt. Kevin Suthard told The News & Observer that the sheriff was doing well, but would not comment on Page’s symptoms, or whether there have been other confirmed cases related to the office.

Sheriff Page has previously referred to the governor’s statewide mask mandate as “unenforceable.”

Page signed a resolution last May from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association urging the governor to ease restrictions on indoor worship services during the pandemic.

He has also publicly stated that his office would not cite or arrest individuals who didn’t adhere to the face-covering mandate.

But Page has since said he encourages individuals to wear masks, and he enlisted the governor’s assistance in providing face coverings to the county.

According to the sheriff’s office, Page returned to work on Tuesday. 

8:53 a.m.

North Carolina has reported its highest number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus for a fourth consecutive day. The state health department said on Monday that more than 1,950 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide. The number of patients in intensive care units statewide also reached a new daily record of more than 450. Both case and positivity rates have been on the rise over the past week. The recent COVID-19 surge has led state prison officials to shutter three facilities temporarily. That decision was made so officers and staff can handle security and medical needs elsewhere.

The Associated Press

Click here for previous updates.

Copyright 2021 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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