Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina

11:28am Jun 05, 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: 

-33,255 North Carolina residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 966 North Carolinians have died, and 482,147 tests have been completed, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 659 people are currently hospitalized. Last updated 12:00 p.m., June 5, 2020.

- North Carolina is under a state of emergency. At 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, the state moved into Safer At Home Phase 2. Executive Order No. 141 lifts the Stay-at-Home order, though people at high risk for serious illness are encouraged to stay at home. Under Phase 2, certain businesses are allowed to open at limited capacity, including restaurants, personal care businesses, salons, barbers, camps, childcare facilities, and pools. Employees of personal care businesses must wear face coverings. Gatherings of up to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors will be allowed. Residents are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, wear a face covering, and wait six feet apart. Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.

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June 5, 2020

12:40 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 85 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday’s daily briefing was issued. There have been 1,705 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 1,705, 864 have recovered.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “Hispanic outreach continues with an increased emphasis on education about how to prevent COVID-19.”

According to a media release, the Public Health Department has placed educational ads on local Hispanic Radio and social media, handed out cloth face masks and prevention literature in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus among the Hispanic community. 

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has a call line, 336-582-0800, which can direct any Hispanic community member to the Hispanic liaison team for help and COVID-19 related resources.

June 4, 2020

6:15 p.m.

Guilford County is reporting a total of 1,498 cases of COVID-19 and 75 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak. There have been 247 hospitalizations and 784 recoveries in total.

4:15 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a media briefing at 4:30 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

2:15 p.m.

This Friday, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health will open a new respiratory assessment center to test and treat those with symptoms of COVID-19. 

The new center is located at 650 N. Highland Ave., Suite 120 in Winston-Salem, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Appointments or referrals are not required to visit the clinic. 

The health systems have already opened three other Winston-Salem centers: 

· Novant Health Adult Primary Care- Waughtown. Located at 656 East Monmouth St., the center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

· Novant Health Screening Center- Highland Oaks. Located at 600 Highland Oaks Dr., the center is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

· Wake Forest Baptist Health Family Medicine and Internal Medicine – Peace Haven. Located at 1930 N. Peace Haven Rd., the center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1:05 p.m.

Cone Health is offering free COVID-19 testing for people with and without health insurance starting this Saturday. Tests are available without a doctor’s order or an appointment. 

According to a press release, testing will be offered in Greensboro on Saturday, June 6 at Mt. Zion Church of God from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and every Wednesday in June at Mount Zion Baptist Church from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested are asked to bring a photo ID and wear a face mask. Test results will be returned in approximately 72 hours. 

12:30 p.m.

103 new cases and five COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday’s daily briefing was issued. The five deaths were in persons in the age range of 50-80 years old. There have been 1,620 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 1,620, 815 have recovered.

June 3, 2020

6:10 p.m.

A group of local business owners in the hospitality industry is asking lawmakers for help as they try to emerge from closures due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

The Triad Food and Beverage Coalition polled several business owners and industry workers in the region. They used that information to create a list of policy recommendations for local, state, and federal officials. The white paper outlines their safety and financial needs.

It includes a request to modify the federal Paycheck Protection Program, and protection from lawsuits by employees or customers regarding illness or death from COVID-19.

3:58 p.m.

Guilford County is reporting 1,415 cases of COVID-19, 71 deaths, and 239 hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak. 748 recoveries have also been reported. Case numbers are specific to county residents.

2:16 p.m.

A federal prison complex near Raleigh has begun mass testing for COVID-19 after six inmates died in eight days.  

The warden of the Butner federal prison complex sent out an email saying that all inmates in a low-security facility would be tested for COVID-19 this week.

The News & Observer reports that 15 inmates at the prison have died since March.

The first major outbreak at Butner occurred at one of its two medium-security facilities. All inmates who tested positive were then moved into what had been a closed special housing unit. That unit now has the most active cases, affecting 270 inmates and seven staff members.

12:40 p.m.

Fifty-two new cases and one death have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday’s daily briefing was issued. The one death was a person in their late 50s with underlying medical conditions. There have been 1,517 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 1,517, 787 have recovered.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “COVID-19 poses the greatest risk to those with underlying medical conditions. Examples of these medical conditions include: serious heart conditions, diabetes, liver disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, severe obesity, moderate to severe asthma, and those who are immunocompromised such as undergoing cancer treatment.”

12:00 p.m.

The Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro is providing new COVID-19 safety guidelines for passengers. In a press release, airport officials said they’ve recently seen an uptick in travelers, though “the overall numbers are still low”. 

Passengers are encouraged to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and use mobile boarding passes to limit contact with others. Non-passengers are advised to refrain from entering the airport when dropping off or picking up travelers. The airport is offering one hour of free parking at metered spaces near the terminal to facilitate drop-offs and pick-ups. 
 

June 2, 2020

6:55 p.m.

Eight employees at IFB Solutions in Winston-Salem have tested positive for COVID-19. The manufacturing facility has been closed since May 28, when the company learned of the first case and will be closed the remainder of the week. Those who tested positive are in isolation, and individuals who came in contact with them are quarantining at home for 14 days. 

4:51 p.m.

Guilford County is reporting 79 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths since yesterday’s briefing. This brings the total of the county to 1,352 cases and 70 deaths. There have been 230 hospitalizations since the beginning of the outbreak and 729 people have recovered.

4:50 p.m.

The City of High Point has confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 within City Hall. The Municipal Building has been cleared. The City Council meeting scheduled for this evening has been canceled.

3:37 p.m.

North Carolina's Democratic Governor Roy Cooper said Tuesday it's "very unlikely" the state can permit a packed Republican National Convention in Charlotte to go forward this summer.

"The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity," Cooper wrote Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

1:30 pm.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

11:48 a.m.

24 new COVID-19 cases and one death were reported Tuesday in Forsyth County. The person was in their 70s with underlying health conditions. There have been 1,465 cases in the county. Of those, 704 have recovered.

11:30 a.m.

The president of Greensboro College in North Carolina said the school will end its fall semester before Thanksgiving in order to reduce the number of trips students make during the coronavirus outbreak. A news release says the school's fall semester will now end on Nov. 24. Final exams will be held online during the first week of December. Students will have class on Labor Day and fall break will be canceled to make up for the early fall dismissal. The spring schedule will remain as before. The college also announced it has resumed “limited” in-person campus tours for prospective students and families. - The Associated Press

 

June 1, 2020

1:50 p.m.

NC Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen, M.D., Sr. Deputy Dir. for NC Division of Public Health Dr. Cardra Burns and Director of NC Emergency Management Services Mike Sprayberry will hold a press conference on COVID-19 updates at 2 p.m. today. You can watch it live here or listen to it on 88.5 WFDD FM.

1:40 p.m.

The City of High Point is suspending public transit services due to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

In a social media post, officials said all High Point Transit System (HPTS) bus routes have been halted. The stoppage includes the system’s ACCESS service, which serves people with disabilities. The system will continue to provide service to people who need transportation to receive dialysis treatments. 

Those with questions about alternatives are asked to call the Piedmont Triad Transit Resource Center at 336-889-7433. 
 

1:20 p.m.

Guilford County is rolling out a new small business grant program this week. The funding is designed to help business owners who have experienced losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the program, businesses with 25 or fewer employees can receive up to $10,000 in aid.

According to a news release, Guilford County will use $20 million of the funds it received from the federal CARES grant program. With roughly 600,000 residents, the county meets the minimum population requirement to qualify for the small business assistance. Guilford is one of only three North Carolina counties to receive direct federal funds totaling almost $94 million.

12:45 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to create a pool of qualified vendors to support the response to COVID-19. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued on May 29 for diagnostic and antibody testing including specimen collection and laboratory processing, reserving potential laboratory capacity and contact tracing. 

11:40 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 162 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths since yesterday’s briefing. The three deaths were persons in their 30s, 50s, and 80s with all having underlying medical conditions. There have been 1,441 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of these, 642 have recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The cases today and over the weekend are under investigation. Our drastic increase in cases shows we cannot let down our guard. COVID-19 is highly contagious. To be safe we should assume that we’ll likely be exposed while out in public or even at home. Continue taking the necessary precautions of ‘Wear, Wait and Wash.’ This is especially serious for people that are considered high risk and can lead to death.”

May 31, 2020

7:49 p.m. 

The Republican National Committee says it wants to hear from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper by Wednesday on whether the state can fully accommodate the party’s national convention in August this summer. The letter sent Saturday by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to Cooper comes a day after Cooper talked by phone with President Trump about the issue. The two disagreed about the viability of a full-fledged convention. The convention is currently scheduled to begin Aug. 24 in Charlotte. Trump and Republicans have said they want no coronavirus-related restrictions on attendance or hotel and restaurant capacity. 

-The Associated Press

7:41 p.m. 

Governor Roy Cooper has designated June 1 as a day of mourning, a chance to grieve the over 100,000 people in America and nearly 1,000 in North Carolina who have lost their lives to COVID-19. 

According to a press release, more than 100 faith-based organizations will lead a moment of silence on Monday, June 1 at 12 p.m. 

Cooper will order all state flags to be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who passed from Coronavirus.

“This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that our death count is not just a number, it represents people, communities and families in mourning,” Governor Cooper said. “I encourage North Carolinians to join in this moment of silence in honor of the people we have lost and their loved ones who are struggling in the wake of this cruel virus.”

11:41 a.m. 

22 new cases of COVID-19 cases are reported in Forsyth County Sunday, bringing the total up to 1,279. Of those, 642 have recovered.

May 30, 2020

2:40 p.m.

Guilford County has announced a grant program designed to aid small businesses struggling amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the program, which launches Monday, June 1, 2020, small businesses in Guilford County can receive up to $10,000 in aid through the county. 

Businesses in Guilford County with 25 or less full-time positions that have suffered significant, temporary loss of revenue directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible.

The goal of these funds is to provide temporary financial relief to those most impacted by the pandemic and resulting business closures and modifications. Guilford County will use $20 million of the funds it received from the federal government for the grant program from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

12:45 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 142 to extend the prohibition of utility shut-offs and implement a moratorium on evictions. The Order goes into effect today with the Governor’s signature.

“North Carolinians need relief to help make ends meet during the pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Extending housing and utility protections will mean more people can stay in their homes and stay safe as we all work to slow the spread of this virus.”

The Council of State concurred on this Executive Order with no objections. 

The Order will aid in efforts to stop the spread of the virus by preventing homelessness due to eviction and ensuring access to essential utilities such as water and power. Though the Order allows for extended windows to pay rent and utility bills, all tenants and customers are still ultimately responsible for making their rent and utility payments. 

The Order’s evictions moratorium:

  • Is effective immediately and lasts for 3 weeks;

  • Would prevent landlords from initiating summary ejections or other eviction proceedings against a tenant for nonpayment or late payment of rent;

  • Prevents landlords from assessing late fees or other penalties for late or nonpayment;

  • Prevents the accumulation of additional interest, fees, or other penalties for existing late fees while this Order is in effect;

  • Requires landlords to give tenants a minimum of six months to pay outstanding rent;

  • Requires leases to be modified to disallow evicting tenants for reasons of late or nonpayments; and

  • Makes clear that evictions for reasons related to health and safety can take place.

The Order’s utility shutoff moratorium:

  • Continues effective immediately and lasts 60 days;

  • Prohibits utility disconnections for all customers;

  • Prohibits billing or collection of late fees, penalties, and other charges for failure to pay; and

  • Extends repayment plans at least six months, and sets the default term for repayment to six months for cases when the utility and customer cannot agree on the terms of an extended repayment plan.

11:55 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 50 new cases of COVID-19. The county's total case count is now 1,257. 642 residents have recovered from the disease. There have been 12 deaths in the county.

Today's statewide total of 27,673 reported cases is a daily increase of 1,185, which marks a new highest daily increase. The previous daily increase record was 1,107 new cases of COVID-19 reported on May 23, 2020.

May 29, 2020

6:15 p.m.

At the request of Chief District Judge Lisa Menefee, the Winston-Salem Human Relations Department on Monday, June 1, will begin mediating landlord-tenant disputes related to the non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The courts are scheduled to reopen June 1. All mediations will be conducted remotely.

4:45 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, bringing the total to 1,187. There have been 65 deaths, 218 hospitalizations and 635 recoveries.

 

2:45 p.m.

North Carolina officials announced that all 420 offenders at Caswell Correctional Center will be tested for COVID-19. Results are expected next week. According to a press release, "Since mid-April, a total of 19 of the 420 offenders at Caswell Correctional have tested positive and 19 of the 136 staff assigned to the dormitory-style prison have tested positive." 

1:15 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health is expanding COVID-19 testing. GCDPH is working with, UNC Greensboro, the City of High Point Parks and Recreation Department, and the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department to host testing sites on their properties. Community testing sites operated by GCDPH in the month of June are listed below and offer free testing for Guilford County residents.

  • UNC Greensboro, Oakland Parking Deck, Greensboro Monday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; testing is outdoors and is an automobile drive-up process
  • Washington Street Terrace Community Center, 101 Gordon St, High Point, NC 27260 Friday, June 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m, testing is indoors
  • Windsor Recreation Center, 1601 East Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro, NC 27401 Monday, June 8, Wednesday, June 10 and Friday, June 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m, testing is indoors
  • Southside Recreation Center, 401 Taylor Ave, High Point, NC 27260 Monday, June 15, Wednesday, June 17 and Friday, June 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m, testing is indoors
  • Peeler Recreation Center, 1300 Sykes Ave, Greensboro, NC 27405 Monday, June 22, Wednesday, June 24 and Friday, June 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m, testing is indoors

Testing will be done by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance by calling 336- 641-7527. Confidential pre-screening will also take place during the call to confirm a person is a candidate for testing. Testing is available regardless of insurance status. If the individual has private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare they will be asked to bring their insurance card. If a person is uninsured, testing can still take place. The testing event is open to all Guilford County residents.

 

12:15 p.m.

According to a Forsyth County press release, beginning June 1, anyone visiting a county facility is expected to wear a face-covering in an effort to protect employees and the general public. Social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures are also in effect. The public is asked not to visit county facilities if they are sick. Visitors may be asked screening questions prior to entering facilities.

11:50 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 47 new cases of COVID-19, and three deaths, bringing the county's total related-deaths to 12. The county's total case count is now 1,207.  612 residents have recovered from the disease. 

11:25 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is requesting Congressional support to extend the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program to provide food for children beyond the traditional school calendar year. Extending P-EBT benefits through the summer months would help provide the families of nearly half of North Carolina school children about $250 in additional support per child to buy groceries.

“One of the challenges of COVID-19 is making sure our children have the nutritious meals they need to thrive while schools are closed,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “That need doesn’t go away at the end of the school year, and neither should food assistance for families.”

Secretary Cohen has written a letter to the NC Congressional delegation urging them to support extending P-EBT through the summer as families continue to struggle from the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 emergency. Currently, states are not authorized to provide P-EBT benefits beyond the end of the state school year, which is June 12. 

10:00 a.m.

Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina has received a $6 million federal grant to support jobs and workforce training to help address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions requested the funds, which were awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor. North Carolina is among a number of states and territories receiving these national Dislocated Worker Grants, which are funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Through the grant, eligible North Carolina residents may receive certain employment services or workforce training for industries that are hiring workers. Opportunities funded by the grant will vary depending on local needs, but may include: 

  • On-the-Job Training, in which a wage reimbursement incentive may be provided to a business to help offset the cost of training a new employee with limited skills.  

  • Temporary Employment, in positions that either conduct humanitarian assistance and public health duties. Jobs like like contact tracing, delivering food and medical supplies to those in need, and assisting with disaster clean-up and sanitizing areas to prevent the spread of disease. 

  • Occupational Skills Training and Supportive Services, including short-term training to dislocated workers, allowing them to pivot into jobs that are in-demand and services that provide transitional support to ensure jobseekers have the tools they need to be successful entering a new career. 

To administer this grant, DWS will partner with 14 participating local workforce development boards that, collectively, serve 59 counties. These boards include:

  • Cape Fear WDB (Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties);

  • Capital Area WDB (Wake and Johnston counties);

  • Centralina WDB (Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties);

  • Charlotte Works WDB (Mecklenburg County);

  • Cumberland WDB (Cumberland County);

  • Eastern Carolina WDB (Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico and Wayne counties);

  • Gaston WDB (Gaston County);

  • Guilford WDB (Guilford County);

  • High Country WDB (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga, Yancey, Mitchell and Wilkes counties);

  • Kerr-Tar WDB (Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance and Warren counties);

  • Lumber River WDB (Bladen, Hoke, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland counties);

  • Mountain Area WDB (Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties);                                           

  • Piedmont Triad Regional WDB (Caswell, Davie, Forsyth, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin counties); and

  • Regional Partnership WDB (Alamance, Montgomery, Moore, Orange and Randolph counties).

May 28, 2020

5:55 p.m.

On May 29th, the nonprofit organization Mi Casa is hosting a drive-thru face mask distribution event for the Hispanic community. The masks can be picked up for free in the parking lot of the organization, located at 1721 Link Rd. in Winston-Salem, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. while supplies last.

5:25 p.m.

North Carolina’s governor said Thursday that his administration hasn’t received the written safety plan for the upcoming Republican National Convention requested by his health secretary in response to President Donald Trump’s demands for a full-scale event.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said during a media briefing that his administration has yet to see plans for how the RNC envisions safely holding the convention in Charlotte in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter Monday to the top RNC organizer asking for a written safety plan after Trump demanded in a tweet that North Carolina guarantee a full-scale, in-person convention. 

4:55 p.m.

Guilford County Schools is rolling out its new “smart buses” into communities in Greensboro and High Point.

Twice a week, Monday through Thursday, these buses will go into communities that are historically underserved and allow students to use the vehicles’ hotspot capabilities to access the internet for free. 

Each smart bus can manage up to 65 simultaneous connections and the Wi-Fi reach for each bus is about 300 feet. 

Students are not allowed on the buses, which are simply serving as Wi-Fi hotspots. Multiple buses will be parked strategically throughout large apartment complexes, mobile home parks and neighborhoods where census data indicates a lack of connectivity near where GCS students live. 

4:15 p.m.

Changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in North Carolina and funds to improve safety at in-person voting sites during the COVID-19 pandemic have received overwhelming approval in the state House. The bipartisan measure approved Thursday by the chamber is designed to help those at higher risk for developing complications from the coronavirus be able to vote.

The measure now heading to the Senate expands the options for registered voters to receive an absentee ballot request form and to turn it back in. The bill also distributes money for equipment and security upgrades and for personal protective equipment. -Associated Press

3:30 p.m.

During Gov. Roy Cooper’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing, he announced a new partnership with CVS to expand COVID-19 testing sites.

"Today, another private partner, CVS, has announced 55 new drive-thru testing locations all across North Carolina. We're glad to have another retail store that offers testing, especially as we work to make testing available to historically underserved communities. COVID-19 is shining a bright light on long-standing inequalities that we have in healthcare," Cooper said.

A complete list of CVS Pharmacy drive-thru test sites can be found here.

2:00 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

12:20 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 97 new cases of COVID-19, the largest single day increase since the pandemic began. The county's total case count is now 1,160.  568 residents have already recovered from the disease. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift is scheduled to provide an update on the county's COVID-19 response efforts today at 2 p.m. Members of the public can watch it live via WSTV.

May 27, 2020

4:45 p.m.

51 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Guilford County, bringing the total to 1,143. There have been 53 deaths in the county, 195 hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, and 566 recoveries. 

3:40 p.m.

Latino community leaders are urging the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board to hire additional bilingual interpreters as the district finalizes budget plans.

In an online press conference organized by the Forsyth County Latino Congress Tuesday, parents, and advocates said the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need. 

They said the language barrier has prevented some students from accessing online learning tools and parents from communicating with teachers. 

As of this week, the Latino community accounted for 57 percent of the county’s COVID-19 cases, despite representing just 13 percent of the total population.

2:04 p.m.

Appalachian State University is eliminating three of its sports programs, as pandemic-related budget cuts are forcing the school to reevaluate its athletics offerings. 

Men’s soccer, men’s tennis, and men’s indoor track and field programs are all being discontinued at App State, effective immediately.

This follows a review of the school’s sports offerings in response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is facing a 20 percent overall budget reduction for the coming fiscal year, which amounts to about $5 million. 

12:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is making an effort to reach historically marginalized communities to share information on COVID-19 prevention. The campaign will involve radio and video messages. NCDHHS data show that "African Americans and LatinX/Hispanic communities make up a disproportionate number of North Carolina’s COVID-19 laboratory-confirmed cases and deaths."

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 51 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday. There have been a total of 1,063 laboratory-confirmed cases. Of the 1,063, 381 have recovered. In the daily briefing, Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “We are reporting a fourth outbreak at a long-term care facility in Forsyth County. Four residents at Piney Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation tested positive for COVID-19." He added that "our rate of cases per 100,000 now exceeds the state rate.”

11:05 a.m.

The City of Greensboro will return to the regular residential yard waste collection schedule on Monday, June 1. Residents should continue to limit their yard waste to a total of 10 bags, bundles or cans. Keep bundles and limbs to five feet or less, and cans and bags to less than 50 pounds.

May 26, 2020

6:47 p.m

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing the following chart outlining Phase 2.

 

5:05 p.m.

The City of Greensboro has canceled its annual July 4th fireworks show due to considerations related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press release, City Manager David Parrish says, “This type of event would likely draw thousands to our city and given public safety is of utmost importance, we will wait until it’s safer to bring people together for such an event.”

 

4:47 p.m.

Two GOP governors are offering up their states to host the Republican National Convention, a day after President Donald Trump demanded Governor Roy Cooper guarantee a full-capacity RNC in August.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Florida Governor Ron Desantis are both asking President Trump to consider their states as alternate sites. 

At a press conference earlier today, Governor Cooper responded to Trump’s tweets, saying pandemic response should not be political.

“This virus is still going to be with us in August and we're gonna have to take steps to protect people. We have asked the RNC to present to us in writing their proposals. We've had discussions with them about a very limited convention all the way up.”

The convention is set to gather more than 2,500 delegates and thousands of guests in Charlotte. Plans for it have been underway for more than a year. 

3:41 p.m.

The Greensboro Aquatic Center will reopen on a limited basis on June 1. Activities will be limited to:

  • adult lap swimming for GAC members only (members must register/reserve lane online in advance)
  • select adult water fitness and rehab programs (participants must register online in advance)
  • contracted swim club team practices

More information can be found here.

2:40 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a media briefing at 3 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

1:00 p.m.

President Donald Trump is demanding assurances from North Carolina’s Democratic governor that the Republican National Convention can go forward in August despite coronavirus fears. This comes as at least one GOP governor began lobbying for the convention to move to his state.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sent an open plea to Trump Tuesday to consider his state as an alternate site for the quadrennial convention, which is set to gather more than 2,500 delegates and thousands more guests, press and security officials.

Plans have been underway for more than a year to host the convention in Charlotte, but Trump and national Republican officials have expressed concerns that local officials may not allow gatherings of that size amid the pandemic.

-The Associated Press

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 1,012. Only five other North Carolina counties have reported more than 1,000 cases. 361 Forsyth County residents have recovered from the disease.

May 25, 2020

11:45 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting an additional 53 cases of COVID-19, bringing its to total case count to 968.  360 county residents have recovered from the disease.

“Forsyth County continues to see increased cases of COVID-19 in the Hispanic/Latino community," said Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift. "Health department nurses and health educators have been and continue to work with community members by distributing cloth face masks and educating families and businesses on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

May 24, 2020

11:40 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 21 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its to total case count to 915. 360 residents have already recovered from the disease.

May 23, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 25 new cases of COVID-19 and one death since yesterday. There have been 894 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 894, 358 have recovered. The death was a person in their late 50s who had underlying
medical conditions

In today's briefing, Public Health Director Joshua Swift says, “Remember as we move about this weekend, we want to not only protect ourselves but the ones we love and those that are at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19. Wearing a mask shows that you are strong and that you care about people who may be at high risk. They may be a relative or work in a store--So, wear it for them.”

12:00 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is reporting the state’s highest one-day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,107 cases reported. 

According to a press release, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says, “This is a notable and concerning increase. As we head into a holiday weekend, please practice the three Ws – wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash your hands frequently. When it comes to our health, we need to work together to protect our families, friends and neighbors.”

Ten percent of all tests conducted were positive "among labs that report both negative and positive tests into the state electronic reporting system."

May 22, 2020

4:18 p.m.

State officials say North Carolina’s unemployment rate ballooned to just over 12% in April as the state dealt with a coronavirus-related economic slowdown. The rate represents a nearly 8 point increase from the rate in March, which had been around 4%. The national rate for April was 14.7%. The number of people classified as unemployed grew by nearly 360,000, more than doubling the number in March. The industry hit the hardest was leisure and hospitality, which declined by about 250,000 over the month. Employment in education and health services fell by about 60,000, and trade, transportation, and utilities declined by a similar number.

-The Associated Press

3:12 p.m.

At a press conference Friday, Governor Cooper highlighted a training program for restaurants and other businesses to safely reopen. The Count on Me NC online program is free training on social distancing practices, employee health, and sanitation. As of Friday, more than 3,500 businesses had already participated in the course. Businesses then receive a certificate to display showing they have completed the training. 

1:15 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force  will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates  at 2 p.m. Watch live, stream, or listen on 88.5 WFDD-FM.

12:10 p.m.

There are 48 new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County since yesterday. The total number of laboratory-confirmed cases is 869. Of the 869, 358 have recovered. The county is reporting eight deaths. 

11:25 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a one-time supplemental payment to families enrolled in the Work First Cash Assistance program with one or more children. These payments are intended to help vulnerable families during the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All Work First Cash Assistance families that received a benefit in April and had one or more children in their household will receive a supplement of $265 per child for a total of more than 17,000 children. Some families will receive the payment today on their Electronic Benefit Transfer card, others will receive the payment on Monday via a direct deposit. 

Work First is North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The Work First program provides parents with short-term training and other services to help them become employed and move toward self-sufficiency. Families in which grandparents and relatives are caring for their relative children and legal guardians can receive services and support that prevent children from unnecessarily entering the foster care system.

May 21, 2020

4:50 p.m.

Greensboro restaurants can apply for a special city event permit to offer outdoor dining on sidewalks, public streets, or on-street parking areas during the state's Phase 2 of reopening. Greensboro is waiving special event permit fees for this purpose. The permitting process includes application review, applicant outreach, and a final site inspection.

Businesses must comply with the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ guidance for reopening restaurants, state ABC requirements, and other applicable rules. The permitting process does not apply to outdoor dining on private property.

To apply for a special event permit, find the Restaurant Expansion into Public Right of Way Permitting section of the city's website. 

1:40 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

 

1:15 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting its first case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.

According to a press release, "While children generally experience mild symptoms with COVID-19, recently a possible link has been found between COVID-19 and a serious inflammatory disease in some children and teenagers who have current or recent infections. The first reports of this syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April. Cases in the United States were first reported in New York City in early May."

Most children with MIS-C have fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or greater) lasting several days, along with other symptoms. Other common symptoms include:

  • Irritability or decreased activity
  • Abdominal pain without another explanation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes)
  • Poor feeding
  • Red, cracked lips or red, bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry
  • Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red

NCDHHS says to call your child’s doctor immediately if your child has a persistent fever plus any of the above symptoms. If your child is severely ill, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately. 

12:00 p.m.

There are 48 new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County since yesterday. The total number of laboratory-confirmed cases is 821. Of the 821, 352 have recovered.

9:25 a.m.

Meat producer Tyson Foods is reporting 570 cases of COVID-19 at a poultry processing complex in North Carolina. Tyson said in a news release that it tested more than 2,000 staff members and contractors who work at its facility in Wilkesboro. Tyson said that most of the 570 didn’t show symptoms. Tyson said it’s increasing testing and health care options at 30 of its facilities and providing face masks, putting physical barriers between work stations and implementing social distancing practices.  Tyson had temporarily closed parts of the North Carolina complex that houses multiple plants for deep cleaning, including a multi-day closure announced last week. 

May 20, 2020

5:21 p.m.

Governor Cooper gave the green light to a "Safer At Home" Phase Two, beginning on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. Dr. Mandy Cohen cited that most indicators remain stable to proceed with relaxing some statewide restrictions, but increases in daily case counts mean that a scaled-back step is necessary. Read Executive Order No. 141. 

Here is what Phase Two entails: 

 

4:45 p.m. 

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates Joint Force Headquarters. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

 

3:20 p.m.

Guilford County Public Health is reporting 931 total cases of COVID-19, and 49 associated deaths. The county has had 163 hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, and is counting 392 recoveries.

2:00 p.m.

Guilford County Division of Public Health is providing a free COVID-19 community testing option on Friday, May 22. Testing is by appointment only at the Windsor Community Recreation Center and can be scheduled in advance by calling 336.641.7527. It is only available to those at high-risk for COVID-19. 

12:45 p.m.

There have been 35 new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County since yesterday, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 773. Of the 773, 305 have recovered. There have been eight deaths.

Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift says, “This week’s cases appear to follow the same trend as last week and indicate COVID-19 is spreading among close contacts of family members. If you are sick, keep your distance from family members when at home and also limit visitors from coming into your house.”

11:55 a.m.

Greensboro city officials are looking at how they might cut spending in the face of an expected $8 million drop in revenue, partly due to reduced sales tax revenue because of shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

City manager David Parrish presented a $613 million recommended budget for the coming fiscal year at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

It would maintain Greensboro’s current property tax rate, with no changes to water and sewer fees. There would also be no reduction in full-time staffing positions.

According to a news release, the budget proposal includes a reduction in building maintenance projects, a freeze on new hires, and a delay for new city programs.

May 19, 2020

5:05 p.m.

Guilford County announced today that its Park aquatic centers will remain closed until further notice due to Covid-19. The aquatic centers, which typically open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, are located at Bur-Mil Park, Hagan-Stone Park, and Northeast Park. 

Staff shared that they are working closely with Public Health officials and monitoring guidance from the State’s Department of Health and Human Services on the safe opening of pools. 

Guilford County parks, trails, and open spaces will remain open to the public with modified hours and amenities. Staff continues to encourage visitors to practice social distancing guidelines.

1:40 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

 

12:50 p.m.

Forty new cases and one death have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday. The death was an individual in their late 70s with underlying medical conditions. There have been 738 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. All cases reported by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health are Forsyth County residents. Of the 738, 303 have recovered.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “ We have heard from the medical community that people may be exposing themselves to others with COVID-19 to gain immunity. Knowingly exposing yourself to COVID-19 is irresponsible and can put you and your loved ones at risk.”

May 18, 2020

6:20 p.m.

According to NCDHHS, the estimated number of patients presumed to be recovered from COVID-19 is 11,637. 

5:30 p.m.

As of Monday, Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 872 cases of COVID-19. The county has verified 47 deaths. There have been 145 hospitalizations and 359 recoveries. 

4:35 p.m.

Forsyth County is getting substantially less in federal COVID-19 relief funds than other metro counties in the state. New legislation could help alleviate the disparity, but it faces an uphill climb.

The CARES program guidelines dictate that the federal government limits direct aid to counties with at least 500,000 residents.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that while Guilford County will be allotted close to $94 million, Forsyth will receive $6.4 million. 

1:30 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a briefing on COVID-19 updates at 2 p.m. Watch live on our blog, stream from our website, or listen on 88.5 WFDD-FM.

12:45 p.m.

53 new cases have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday. There have been 698 laboratory-confirmed cases in the county total. All cases reported by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health are Forsyth County residents. There have been seven deaths, and 236 recoveries.

11:15 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities. All long-term care facilities in the state will receive personal protective equipment packs, and facilities will receive a limited increased rate for some Medicaid services to support infection prevention and management.

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. says, “We want to help them do all that they can because once an outbreak occurs in a congregate living setting, it can be difficult to prevent the spread of the virus.” 

PPE packs will go to more than 3,000 state-licensed long-term care facilities and include a 14 day supply of face shields, procedure masks, gloves, and shoe covers. Adult care homes, family care homes, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and mental health facilities will receive supplies. 

May 17, 2020

11:40 a.m.

24 new cases have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday. There have been 645 laboratory-confirmed cases in the county total. All cases reported by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health are Forsyth County residents. There have been seven deaths, and 236 recoveries. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “Two additional congregate living facilities in Forsyth County are now designated as having a COVID-19 outbreak. In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases. Trinity Elms independent apartment building has two positive staff members that are now in isolation, and no residents are showing symptoms at this time. The second facility, Silas Creek Rehab, had a resident and staff member test positive. All other residents and staff are currently asymptomatic. Both long term care centers, Forsyth County Department of Public Health, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services are working together to prevent any further spread in each of the facilities. Forsyth County Health Department has a team of nurse liaisons assigned to long term care facilities since early March to help prevent or mitigate COVID-19 in congregant living facilities.”

May 16, 2020

5:55 p.m. 

A federal judge in North Carolina has sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the pandemic. The order from Judge James C. Dever III came Saturday, days after two Baptist churches, a minister, and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit seeking to immediately block enforcement of rules covering religious services within the Democratic governor’s executive orders. The plaintiffs argued the limits violate their rights to worship freely and treat churches differently from retailers and other secular activities. Cooper's office says it won't appeal the ruling.

11:30 a.m. 

Five news cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday in Forsyth County, bringing the total number to 621. 236 have recovered. The death total remains at. 7. 

May 15, 2020 

5:20 p.m. 

Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 48 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 768. GCDPH has verified 45 deaths. There have been 142 hospitalizations and 332 recoveries to date.

4:05 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance today on who should be tested for COVID-19.

The new guidance recommends clinicians ensure the following populations have access to testing, regardless of symptoms:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms 
  • Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
  • Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
  • Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
  • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
  • Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain

1:40 p.m.

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of North Carolina Emergency Management  Mike Sprayberry will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. regarding COVID-19. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

 

11:35 a.m.

61 new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, bringing the total to 616 laboratory-confirmed cases. Of those, 235 have recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “We continue to see clusters in families across Forsyth County: if you are sick, stay separated from other family members in the household; wear a cloth face covering at home when you cannot social distance; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and wash your hands often; avoid sharing a bathroom with well family members; limit visitors to the home; last and most important, stay home if you are sick and do not go out in public.”

Due to COVID-19, Tanglewood Park pool operations have been suspended until further notice.

 

10:43 a.m.

A new program in Guilford County aims to help families facing financial hardships. The Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) will provide additional resources to the families of public school students. They'll receive the benefits through an EBT card, which will be mailed in the coming weeks. 

To qualify, families must have students enrolled in Guilford County Schools (GCS) and they must qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

Applications available here and for more information, click here.

May 14, 2020

5:45 p.m.

Tyson Foods announced today that it is limiting operations at its Wilkesboro, N.C. poultry processing facility. This is in order to carry out additional deep cleaning due to a combination of positive COVID-19 cases and team member absences related to the quarantine.

This closure follows coronavirus testing of all Tyson employees and contractors last week. Tyson will share verified test results with health and government officials as they become available. 

Some of the newly diagnosed cases were found in asymptomatic individuals, meaning they have potentially carried the virus into the community where it can spread via community transmission. 

Because of this risk, a reminder has been issued that all of Wilkes County remains under a modified stay-at-home order as outlined in Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 138. Violations of this order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Residents are strongly encouraged to stay at home to the fullest extent possible. No resident should participate in any public activity that is not essential to life, health, or safety. If residents must go out in public, the local governments insist that they follow the three Ws: wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands frequently. 

In a press release, the county said that going out in public risks exposing others to the virus. One transmission can spread exponentially throughout the community. Therefore, the county and towns are asking all Wilkes County residents to keep the health of their neighbors in mind, act in good faith, and stay at home as much as possible. 

4:10 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen shared an update on North Carolina’s key COVID-19 indicators. They say the data and trends show that North Carolina remains stable nearly one week into Phase 1. 

“Our COVID-19 decisions are guided by the data and the science,” said Cooper. “We will use the time in this phase to keep a careful eye on the data and the indicators before we are ready to announce the start of Phase 2. North Carolinians should continue to stay home if they can and take precautions to keep themselves safe.” 

Gov. Cooper and Secretary Cohen also announced that DHHS now has a list of testing locations on the DHHS website. The list includes more than 200 sample collection sites in 54 counties, with more being added as they are verified. The list is comprised of health care providers, pharmacies and retail locations, local health departments, and others that are providing testing for COVID-19. Some of the sites that are federally funded do not cost anything for the individual being tested. Doctors and clinicians may also provide testing at their offices.

 Based on the metrics laid out last month, officials need to continue watching the trends before announcing a shift into Phase 2.

2:20 p.m.

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

11:45 a.m.

Sixty new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths are being reported in Forsyth County since yesterday’s daily briefing was issued. The two deaths involved an individual in their early 60s and one in their early 70s. Both individuals had underlying medical conditions. There have been a total of 555 laboratory-confirmed cases in Forsyth County. Of the 555, 233 have recovered. Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “The recent uptick in cases and two new deaths are a reminder that COVID-19 remains prevalent in our community. These cases are related to close contacts of confirmed cases.” Swift will provide more information at a County Commissioners' meeting at 2 p.m.

May 13, 2020

5:45 p.m.

According to The News & Observer, Gilead Sciences has donated a supply of remdesivir to seven North Carolina medical centers including Moses Cone Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The new, experimental drug is used to treat patients with COVID-19.  

4:05 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) estimates that as of Monday, 9,115 North Carolinians with COVID-19 are likely to have recovered from their symptoms.

To calculate this number, NCDHHS estimates the median time for recovery from symptoms to be 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized or if hospitalization status is unknown, or 28 days for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases. 

Patients’ actual recovery times could be shorter or longer depending on the severity of illness. 

2:46 p.m.

The Guilford County Animal Shelter has suspended pet adoptions after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. 

Shelter officials say at least one person has tested positive for the virus and is currently in self-quarantine.

According to a news release, the shelter is working with county health officials to determine when that individual may return to work. All other Animal Services staff are being tested for the illness, and the building is undergoing a deep cleaning.

Pet adoptions will be put hold until May 19 unless the county determines adoptions can resume sooner.

2:00 p.m.

Members of the state Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

 

11:45 a.m.

For the second consecutive day, Forsyth County is reporting 50 new cases of COVID-19. County Public Health Director Joshua Swift says the spike is under investigation.

"Many of the cases from yesterday appear to be connected to close contacts such as family members and loved ones. It is important, even when at home, to practice good hygiene, proper cleaning and social distancing from sick family members," he says.
"Family members should also limit their errands to only one or two household members.”

The county's total case count is now 495. 210 residents have already recovered from the disease.

11:30 a.m.

The City of Greensboro is closing two streets to through motor vehicle traffic until Governor Roy Cooper’s Stay-At-Home order expires. The move is part of the city’s Slow Streets pilot program, which aims to encourage outdoor exercise while social distancing restrictions remain in place.

The following streets will close on Friday and reopen when the statewide Stay-at-Home order is lifted:

  • Highland Avenue from Haywood Street to Florida Street
  • W. Greenway Drive from W. Market Street to Walker Avenue

The roads will remain open to residents. The city says the streets were chosen based on neighborhood interest, their proximity to parks and relatively low traffic volumes. The program may expand to include other streets if the pilot project is deemed successful. 
 

May 12, 2020

5:15 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 649 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. There have been 137 hospitalizations, 42 deaths, and 294 recoveries in the county to date.

4:30 p.m.

North Carolina is working with local manufacturers to shift their production to make critical medical supplies.  

In March, Governor Roy Cooper established the state’s Task Force for Emergency Repurposing of Manufacturing (TFERM) to increase the amount of protective gear made here at home.  

TFERM has partnered with the N.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Carolina Textile District, and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. to identify and collaborate with manufacturers statewide who are able to pivot their operations to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) including face shields, hand sanitizer, cloth masks, gowns and more. 

Apple Rock of Greensboro normally makes trade show displays and other graphic products, and are now producing isolation gowns. 

Winston-Salem based Hanes, in partnership with N.C. State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is developing high-grade masks for medical workers. Designs are currently being evaluated for performance and fit. 

1:45 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

1:10 p.m. 

Fifty new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday. There have been a total of 445 laboratory-confirmed cases. Of the 445, 208 have recovered.

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “Today’s case increase is currently under investigation and does not appear to be connected to Tyson. We must continue to emphasize the importance of staying home when you feel sick, practice social distancing, and wear a face cloth covering when inside and around others.”

He added, “From last week’s reported long term care facility outbreak, three additional staff members at the Oak Forest Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID-19. We are awaiting test results for the rest of their staff. All residents have been tested and all were negative except for two residents who are awaiting results. So far, four staff and one resident have tested positive.”

12:07 p.m.

A residential alcohol and drug treatment center in Greensboro is temporarily shutting down after three clients tested positive for COVID-19. 

A treatment manager at Malachi House II  says the three men were asymptomatic before they received positive findings. Willie Wooten tells the News & Record that the program’s other participants have been moved off-campus, and all are being tested.

Malachi House II has been added to the state’s list of congregate living facilities experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. That list also includes two Guilford County nursing homes and a strawberry farm that hosts on-site housing.

10:30 a.m.

Wake Forest Baptist Health is asking everyone to wear a mask at all times while visiting or working at any location within the health system. These guidelines apply to all patients (including children when developmentally appropriate), visitors, students, and staff – even those who are not involved in direct patient care. Patients and visitors can wear personal, homemade, cloth, or dust masks. Those not wearing a mask will be provided with a cloth or ear-loop mask upon entry.

9:25 a.m.

The City of Winston-Salem is facing a major budget gap due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At a finance committee meeting Monday, Patrice Toney, the city’s budget and evaluation director, presented a preview of the outlook for the next fiscal year. It projected a $13.1 million shortfall in the city’s general fund budget due in part to a reduction in sales tax revenue. 

Toney suggested a number of ways to close the gap, including eliminating 20 currently vacant positions and postponing raises. 

May 11, 2020

5:20 p.m.

The City of Winston-Salem plans to distribute free face masks to those 65 and older on May 12, on what officials are calling Senior Day. The initiative is part of Winston-Salem’s Mask the City project. Beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, a total of 20,000 masks will be given to seniors at nine drive-through distribution sites, including BB&T Ballpark and the Fulton Family YMCA. A maximum of 2 masks per car will be given to seniors who present their IDs. A full list of distribution sites can be found at MaskTheCity.com.

5:10 p.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted North Carolina’s request to extend its non-congregate sheltering program for COVID-19 through June 6. The program provides housing alternatives, such as hotels, motels, and dormitories, for North Carolinians with unstable housing who may need to quarantine in response to or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

64 counties are participating in the program, which has housed about 600 people since it began in early April.

The temporary sheltering is designated for:

  • People who test positive for COVID-19 and need to be isolated but do not require hospitalization, including those discharged from hospitals.

  • People exposed to COVID-19 and identified by a health care professional as needing quarantine but do not require hospitalization.

  • People needing social distancing as a precautionary measure, as determined by public health officials, particularly for high-risk groups such as people over 65 or with certain underlying health conditions such as respiratory illness, compromised immunities, or chronic disease. This may include those who are homeless or whose living situation makes them unable to adhere to social distancing guidance.

The federal government through FEMA will pay 75 percent of the costs associated with operating the non-congregate sheltering program. North Carolina will pay the remaining 25 percent. Funding includes the cost of all supporting infrastructure, such as electricity and waste disposal, as well as other services such as laundry, food, cleaning, and security.

 

2:20 p.m.

Members of North Carolina's Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 at 2:30 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

 

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19, bringing its to total case count to 395. 207 residents have already recovered from the disease. 

May 10, 2020

11:30 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its to total case count to 386. 176 residents have already recovered from the disease. 

10:00 a.m.

A Wilkes County Tyson chicken processing plant has been temporarily closed in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 among its employees.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the plant was closed on Saturday for deep cleaning and will reopen Tuesday. 

Tyson has not disclosed how many of the facility’s employees have tested positive for the virus. Wilkes County officials have said the majority of its 228 cases are related to the plant. Forsyth County has said at least 70 of its 369 cases are connected to it. 

The facility employees about 2,200 people. 
 

May 9, 2020

3:20 p.m.

There have been 15 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Forsyth County since yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 369. Of the 369, 176 have recovered.

 

May 8, 2020

5:30 p.m.

North Carolina has now moved into Phase 1 of the plan to slowly ease certain COVID-19 restrictions that Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier this week. The Stay at Home Order remains in place with some modifications.

North Carolina is taking a three-phased approach – based on data from testing, tracing, and trends – to safely lift restrictions while continuing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives.

People who are sick or at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should continue to remain at home as much as possible. More information is included in a list of frequently asked questions about the governor's modified Stay at Home Order.

Below is a general overview of what Phase 1 means for North Carolina.

4:50 p.m.

As businesses around the area begin to reopen, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities is urging owners and tenants of temporarily or partially closed buildings to ensure water is safe and odor-free before resuming normal water use.

Conditions may develop that increase the risk of waterborne bacteria in building piping. Disinfectant already present in the water, such as chlorine, will have likely dissipated or become ineffective.

Before reopening a business, the city is suggesting taking steps like flushing the building’s water system, cleaning decorative water fixtures, and ensuring water heaters are maintained.

1:45 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force to hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates at 2 p.m. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

11:39 a.m. 

There are seven new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, bringing the total to 354. Of those, 170 have recovered. The number of deaths in the county remains at 5. 

10:00 a.m. 

One North Carolina transit system is requiring its passengers to wear masks beginning next week. The News & Record of Greensboro reported that, starting Monday, High Point Transit passengers will have to wear protective masks or face coverings. A news release from the city said the mask must cover passengers’ noses and mouths. Passengers without a face covering will be given a disposable mask. The city said that while High Point Transit will continue to operate fare-free until further notice, passengers must have an intended destination.

May 7, 2020

4:10 p.m.

Wear. Wait. Wash. As North Carolina moves to ease some COVID-19 restrictions at the end of this week, the NC Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to remember “the three Ws” to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.

  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

3:20 p.m.

The City of Greensboro and the United Way of Greater Greensboro’s campaign to provide 30,000 free face coverings to Greensboro residents has concluded. The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation underwrote the campaign, which began on April 29.

The face coverings were distributed at the Melvin Municipal Office Building and United Way’s office on Yanceyville Street. The fabric coverings are reusable and it’s recommended to be worn at all times in public, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

1:45 p.m.

Members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing at 2 p.m. today. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

 

12:30 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 18 new cases of COVID-19, bring its total case count to 347. 170 residents have already recovered from the disease. 

May 6, 2020

3:15 p.m. 

As of Wednesday, Guilford County is reporting 527 cases of COVID-19. Guilford County Division of Public Health has verified 35 deaths. There have been 114 hospitalizations and 216 recoveries to date.

1:48 p.m.

Members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing at 2 p.m. today. Watch live or listen to 88.5 FM. 

12:28 p.m. 

A staff member and a resident at a Forsyth County rehabilitation center have tested positive for COVID-19. The two cases are considered an outbreak. Both are in isolation and the Forsyth County Public Health Department is working with the NC Division of Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to screen and test staff and residents. 

County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt, who serves on the Health and Human Services Board, said, "While we are saddened by the 2 cases at the Center, we are confident that our Public Health Department will follow guidelines to help the facility protect other patients and staff."

33 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Tuesday, bringing the total to 329. Of those, 145 have recovered. 

9:56 a.m.

Health care facilities, long-term care ones especially, are facing a staff shortage and are seeking to hire temporary, part-time, and full-time positions. An initiative at East Carolina University is underway to match workers with these facilities. Registered Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants are particularly in need. 

"A crucial part of our response to COVID-19 is bolstering the health care workforce so we can respond to outbreaks as soon as possible," said Ben Money, Deputy Secretary for Health Services. "The East Carolina University School of Nursing is partnering with us to match health care workers with the ability to pick up extra shifts to facilities in the nurse’s local area."

Interested health care employees can register at https://nc.readyop.com/fs/4cjq/697b.

 

May 5, 2020

5:30 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions effective Friday, May 8 at 5 pm. Certain businesses remain closed as the state continues battling COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 is still a serious threat to our state, and Phase 1 is designed to be a limited easing of restrictions that can boost parts of our economy while keeping important safety rules in place,” said Governor Cooper. “This is a careful and deliberate first step, guided by the data, and North Carolinians still must use caution while this virus is circulating.”

5:21 p.m. 

COVID-19 cases in Wilkes County have spiked dramatically within the past two weeks — over 130 reported as of Tuesday. Local officials say many of them are coming from the Tyson Foods Processing Plant. The numbers are expected to grow as county officials conduct random tests there.

The county health department and state officials are working with Tyson to better understand the scope of the outbreak. They tested around 200 employees on Monday. Those results are expected back in the next few days.

4:40 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force to hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live, listen to 88.5 FM, or stream at www.wfdd.org

 

3:14 p.m. 

Guilford County has reported 18 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 494. GCDPH has verified 32 deaths. There have been 106 hospitalizations and 206 recoveries to date.

12:30 p.m.

There are nine new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County since yesterday. There have been a total of 296 laboratory-confirmed cases in the county. Of the 296, 144 have recovered.

 

11:30 a.m.

More than half (51.1%) of North Carolina adults are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they are 65 or older, have at least one underlying health condition or both, according to data analyzed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Findings from the analysis include:

  • In 2018, 27 percent of people 18–24, 36 percent of people 25–49, 49 percent of people 50–64 and 56 percent of people 65 and older had at least one underlying health condition that is a risk factor for serious illness from COVID-19.
  • In 2018, 45 percent of blacks and 42 percent of whites had at least one underlying health condition.
  • As of May 4, 2020, 31 percent of all people with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 had at least one underlying health condition.
  • As of May 4, 2020, 75 percent of all laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths had at least one underlying health condition. 

9:30 a.m.

Guilford County is providing community COVID-19 testing for those at highest risk for the disease. According to a press release, testing will be done by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance by calling 336-641-7527. Testing is available regardless of insurance status. Testing will begin on Tuesday, May 5, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and continue Monday through Friday.

May 4, 2020

6:00 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 476 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 31 deaths. There have been 102 hospitalizations and 190 recoveries to date.

 

5:30 p.m.

Governor Cooper joined by House and Senate leaders signed SB 704 and HB 1043. The relief package, which was passed unanimously, includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations.

HB 1043, the spending package, allocates federal funding sent to the state from the CARES Act. It includes:

  • $50 million to provide personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies

  • $25 million to support enhanced COVID-19 testing and tracing

  • $125 million in small business loans administered through the Golden LEAF Foundation

  • $50 million in health support for underserved communities including rural areas and minority communities

  • $95 million to support North Carolina hospitals

  • $20 million to support local health departments and the State Health Lab

  • $75 million for school nutrition programs

  • $70 million for summer learning programs

  • $30 million for local schools to purchase computers and other devices for students

  • $6 million for food banks

  • $9 million for rural broadband

  • $85 million for vaccine development, antibody testing, community testing, and other COVID-19-related research at Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Campbell University, and Wake Forest University.

Senate Bill 704 contained provisions to help North Carolinians. It includes:

  • An extension of driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines

  • Waived interest on tax payments normally due in April

  • Modifies end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools

  • Adjusts the 2020-21 K-12 public school calendar

  • Allows pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed

4:00 p.m.

License and registration expiration dates for North Carolina drivers are extended five months. The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle says it is a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the provision included in the COVID-19 bill signed into law by Governor Cooper grants the extension.

The bill also allows the DMV to waive any penalties for a late registration renewal during the extension period. Customers who already paid a $15 fee for a late renewal in March or April will be reimbursed.

The five-month extension applies to any credential that expires on or after March 1, and before August 1.

The bill also extends the due dates for motor vehicle taxes that are tied to vehicle registration to correspond with the extended expiration dates

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting an additional 19 cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 287. Of those, 142 have already recovered.

"Testing increased last week with the rise in positive cases being connected to Forsyth County residents who work at the Tyson plant in Wilkesboro," said Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift. “Overall, Forsyth County resident hospitalization related to COVID-19 remains low; the majority of cases are able to recover at home.”

10:50 a.m.

Govenor Roy Cooper will give an update on the state's COVID-19 response today at 11:30 a.m. Watch here, or listen live on 88.5 WFDD.

 

 

May 3, 2020

11:40 a.m.

No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Forsyth County, so the total number remains at 268. Of those, 131 people have recovered.

Statewide, 11,664 North Carolina residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 422 North Carolinians have died, and 143,835 tests have been completed.

May 2, 2020

4:03 p.m.

The General Assembly has finalized a relief package to address the new coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina, agreeing to send money to schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers. A pair of bipartisan measures approved unanimously by the House and Senate on Saturday direct how nearly $1.6 billion in federal funds are distributed and how government activities during the outbreak are deferred or delayed. Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign the bills into law. He and Republican legislative leaders praised the collaboration in fashioning the measures. The Legislative Building was closed to the public while the General Assembly worked this week.

11:36 a.m. 

16 new cases have been reported in Forsyth County, bringing the total number to 268. Of those, 130 have recovered. Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “At least half of the cases reported today continue to be connected with the Tyson plant in Wilkesboro.”

May 1, 2020

4:25 p.m.

North Carolina’s top public health official says the state is on track to ease some COVID-19 related restrictions next week.

At a press briefing this afternoon, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen noted the number of coronavirus cases is increasing daily. But she said the state is meeting testing goals, and the overall percentage of positive test results is trending downward.

“As I look at the data, I remain optimistic that the trends will be stable enough to move us into phase 1 next week,” she says.

Last week, Governor Roy Cooper identified several key goals he said the state must meet in order to begin the first of a three-phase economic reopening plan. In phase 1, some retail businesses will be allowed to reopen with certain social distancing restrictions. 

Cooper’s original stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 8. 

3:40 p.m.

Brenner Children’s Hospital’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The department was moved last month to make room for an adult Comprehensive Acute Respiratory Evaluation (CARE) unit. The CARE unit is now located closer to the adult emergency department.

1:45 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 WFDD.

11:45 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 252. 124 county residents have already recovered from the disease.

April 30, 2020

5:35 p.m.

Forsyth County reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, many of which are due to an outbreak at the Tyson meat plant in Wilkesboro.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl says containing the spread is a challenge.

“It’s a little bit like playing a game of whack-a-mole, you know, [a] cluster comes up over here, boom, we try to get in and knock it down, and [then a] cluster over here," he says. 

Ohl did share some good news at a weekly update. He says testing capacity has improved and that numbers of hospital admissions in Forsyth County continue to go down.

3:45 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting a total of 372 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 28 deaths, 99 hospitalizations and 156 recoveries to date.

2:30 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 today at 3 p.m. Watch here, or listen live on 88.5 WFDD.

11:52 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting an additional 32 cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 242. 89 new cases have been reported since Sunday. County officials are attributing the spike to an outbreak at a Tyson Foods plant. 

”A majority of the cases reported this week continue to be connected to the outbreak at the Tyson plant in Wilkesboro and are either employees or close contacts to the employees," said Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift. "COVID-19 cases reported by the health department are Forsyth County residents."

123 county residents have already recovered from the disease.

 

April 29, 2020

4:45 p.m.

Winston-Salem's Mayor Allen Joines Wednesday rescinded the city's stay-at-home order to align with the statewide order, which is expected to expire on May 8th. According to a city press release, the move does not change which businesses are considered essential or non-essential. Joines says the intent is to eliminate confusion moving forward. 

“My goal has been and continues to be one of keeping our citizens as safe as possible while limiting the negative impact on the economy,” Joines said. “Governor Cooper has laid out a reasonable plan for reopening the economy based on science, data and guidance from our medical professionals.

 “I will be working in conjunction with Forsyth County officials and local businesses on a strategy to facilitate the reopening of the economy once the governor issues formal executive orders lifting his restrictions.”

Local governments cannot issue orders that are less restrictive than the governor's. But Joines said the measure does not preclude him for enacting more stringent restrictions in the future. 

 

4:33 p.m.

The leader of North Carolina’s public university system says he plans to reopen campuses in the fall with precautions against COVID-19. University of North Carolina System Interim President Dr. Bill Roper issued an announcement Wednesday that he expects to reopen classrooms across the system’s 17 public campuses for the fall semester, though with some limitations or modifications, as long as virus trends don’t deteriorate.  Meanwhile, a county near Charlotte issued a symbolic order urging the governor to ease statewide business restrictions, while acknowledging its residents are still subject to the governor’s stay-home order meant to fight the virus outbreak.

1:45 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

12:44 p.m. 

A spike in cases in Forsyth County is mostly connected to positive cases of COVID-19 at a Tyson Foods plant in Wilkesboro, according to the Forsyth County Health Department. Since Monday, there have been 57 cases of people with coronavirus. Health Director Jonathan Swift told the Winston-Salem Journal that most are related to the plant. Forsyth Assistant Health Director Tony Lo Guidice says the department is conducting contact tracing to find people who came into contact with the infected residents. He says it's not clear how many of the cases specifically are Tyson employees and how many workers there have tested positive. 

11:45 a.m.

Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) is experiencing an immediate stoppage in transit services due to a temporary lack of bus operators and supporting staff. Until further notice, GTA is unable to provide fixed-route bus service and SCAT is providing limited service. Residents must consider other options for necessary travel.

On Monday, GTA was notified that a fixed-route operator tested positive for the coronavirus. The agency took precautionary steps to sanitize vehicles and workspaces. Staff were informed of the situation but not the identity of the individual who tested positive, with GTA citing HIPAA laws.

According to a press release, "Operators expressed concern with remaining unaware of the affected employee’s identity and responded by choosing not to report for work on April 29. The walkout was repeated by supervisors and supporting staff. With insufficient staffing levels, GTA had no choice but to halt operations."  

April 28, 2020

5:15 p.m.

The Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) is being expanded to support those working in North Carolina’s child care programs. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) set up Hope4Healers to provide mental health support for health care professionals, as well as first responders and their families who may be experiencing stress from being on the front lines of COVID-19 response.

3:20 p.m.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health is reporting 345 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County, which is 14 more than on Monday. The county has verified 23 deaths. There are currently 79 hospitalizations and 100 recoveries. 

1:45 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates at 2 p.m. Watch live or listen at 88.5 WFDD. 

 

11:30 a.m.

Five new cases have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday's briefing bringing the total case count to 183. Of those cases, 118 have recovered.

April 27, 2020

7:30 p.m.

Four North Carolina nursing homes have each had at least 10 deaths of residents diagnosed with COVID-19. That comes from new detailed data released on Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services. It names more than 70 long-term facilities, rehabilitation centers or adult care homes where outbreaks have occurred. The department hadn’t earlier identified the specific facilities, with officials saying it could break confidentiality rules on patient information. But some county health agencies had released those details anyway. Overall, North Carolina reported more than 9,100 positive cases statewide as of Monday and over 300 deaths.

5:45 p.m.

Twenty-three local agencies and other non-profit groups were selected to receive grants from the city’s $1 million portion of the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County. The largest grant went to the Forsyth Backpack Program, which provides food for children suffering from food insecurity. Click here for a full list of recipients.    

4:30 p.m. 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative today. The collaborative will build upon local health departments' current tracing efforts as testing increases. According to NCDHHS, "When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing identifies who that individual may have been in contact with so those people can take precautions to avoid infecting others." Up to 250 local staff will be hired, with the potential to add more. Those interested in applying can find more information here. NCDHHS says, "Special consideration will be given to those who are unemployed, have community engagement experience and live in the communities that they will serve. Successful contact tracers require excellent communication skills with an empathetic mindset."  

4:00 p.m.

North Carolina residents may be tiring of social distancing, as numbers show that more people are starting to venture out of the house.

Research from the University of Maryland indicates that North Carolinians left their homes more and traveled longer recently than in the first weeks of a statewide stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 30th. 

The results come from a formula that tracks privacy-protected data from cell phones, government agencies, health care systems, and other sources.

2:45 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry will conduct a live media briefing at 3 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 WFDD.

2:20 p.m.

Researchers at Duke University are adapting a rapid testing platform originally designed for Ebola to see whether it can be used to detect COVID-19. They've received a Rapid Response Research Grant from the National Science Foundation to try to detect antigens from a drop of blood or throat- or nose-swab sample. The hope is for a faster testing process.  

12:30 p.m.

The City of Greensboro is partnering with Cone Health and United Way of Greater Greensboro to provide free face coverings to Greensboro residents, beginning Wednesday, April 29. The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation is underwriting this initiative.

Residents can pick up one face covering for each member of their household while supplies last at the following locations:

·  Melvin Municipal Office Building, 300 W. Washington St., Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

·  United Way of Greater Greensboro, 1500 Yanceyville St., Wednesdays only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The face coverings will be made of reusable fabric. The recommendation is to wear the face covering at all times when you’re in public.

11:25 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 25 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday’s daily briefing was issued. The County’s total case count is now 178. Of the 178, 114 have recovered. There have been five deaths from COVID-19 in Forsyth County.

April 26, 2020

7:15 p.m.

As of Sunday, April 26 at Noon, Guilford County Division of Public Health (GCDPH) has been notified of 314 cases of COVID-19 in Guilford County. GCDPH has verified 21 deaths.

The county's most recent COVID-19 data graphs:

1:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting one additional case of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 153. 108 county residents have already recovered from the disease.

April 25, 2020

11:50 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting six additional cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 152. 108 county residents have already recovered from the disease.

April 24, 2020

5:45 p.m.

In response to the announcement that public schools will remain closed through the remainder of the school year, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras said in a press release, “While we are disappointed we won’t be able to physically be with our students in the classroom for the remainder of this school year, we understand that keeping our students and staff healthy is a priority.”

She added, “The learning loss of the 2019-2020 school year will be the single greatest challenge educators across the country will face in the coming months and years. ... We must dedicate resources now to address the impact this loss is having on our students, particularly the most vulnerable. In fact, we have already started planning for this.” The district is expected to get approximately $21 million in K-12 Emergency Relief Funds, which are included in the superintendent’s budget recommendations. 

5:00 p.m.

Continuum of Care, Forsyth County, and the City of Winston-Salem announced further measures to help protect those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partners plan to open a temporary shelter for the medically fragile. The shelter will be hotel-based and have on-site peer support and staff working to help with transition planning to permanent housing. 

4:15 p.m.

The City of Greensboro’s Office of Equity and Inclusion is offering a free, online webinar from 10-11 a.m., Thursday, April 30, focused on funding relief options for small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration is required by Wednesday, April 29.

3:15 p.m.

North Carolina’s public school buildings, already shuttered for the past month due to COVID-19, won’t reopen this school year, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday.

The decision was largely expected. Cooper originally closed K-12 schools in all 115 districts in mid-March for two weeks, then extended his executive order through May 15.

1:45 p.m.

Governor Cooper, education leaders and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will conduct a media briefing at 2 p.m. Watch live here or stream on 88.5 FM.

1:15 p.m.

Locally manufactured facemasks offered for purchase as part of Winston-Salem's Mask the City program have officially sold out at Lowes Foods locations throughout Forsyth County, just hours after they were first made available. In a press release earlier this week, officials said community organizations will distribute additional masks to low-income residents at no cost. 

11:45 a.m. 

Forsyth County is reporting three additional cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 146. 108 county residents have already recovered from the disease. 

11:35 a.m.

Wake Forest Baptist Health is planning on furloughs for some leadership and administrative employees. There will also be temporary pay cuts for senior management.

Hospital employees were informed on Wednesday that the furloughs could begin next week or in early May. According to a memo sent to workers, the furlough period would last 16 weeks.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that senior management and department chairs will take pay reductions of between 20 and 30 percent during this time.

Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, the center’s chief executive and medical school dean, says that while Wake Forest Baptist is at the center of the response to the outbreak, many of its main sources of income have essentially stopped.

 

April 23, 2020

5:20 p.m.

Governor Cooper has shared information about how North Carolina can gradually re-open. The three phases are designed to prevent hot spots of viral spread while bringing the economy back. Gov. Cooper says the phases could be altered as new information emerges. The state has also laid out the guidelines of what it would take to begin the phases.

Pictures from the April 23, 2020 Coronavirus Task Force media briefing. CREDIT/UNCTV

3:55 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order No. 135 extending North Carolina’s Stay At Home order through May 8. The orders extending the closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses are also extended through May 8. 

Gov. Cooper plans to lift restrictions in three phases once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction. That means seeing sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in the following: COVID-like illness surveillance over 14 days, Lab-confirmed cases over 14 days, percent of tests returning positive over 14 days, and hospitalizations over 14 days.

Information about K-12 public schools will follow later this week. 

2:40 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force will provide updates on COVID-19 during a press conference at 3 p.m. today. Watch live here or listen on 88.5 FM.

12:47 p.m.

Guilford County Public Health is reporting 9 more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 242. GCDPH has verified 16 deaths, which has not changed since Wednesday report.

A second nursing home has been added to the list of Guilford County facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks.

State officials say Clapp’s Nursing Center in Pleasant Garden has reported 21 residents and 12 employees testing positive for the coronavirus.

 

11:45 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday. The County’s total case count is 143. Of the 143, 107 have recovered.

April 22, 2020

2:40 p.m.

Members of North Carolina's Coronavirus Task Force will provide updates on COVID-19 during a press conference at 3 p.m. today. Watch live here or listen on 88.5 FM.

1:30 p.m.

An offender housed at Pender Correctional Institution who tested positive for COVID-19 has died at the hospital. This is the first coronavirus death of an individual in custody at a North Carolina state prison.

A statement from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety states that the offender exhibited symptoms of a viral infection on April 8, 2020. He was promptly isolated from the population, in keeping with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive on April 10, 2020. He was hospitalized on April 13, 2020. His condition worsened, and the offender died at the hospital on April 21, 2020. 

The offender was a male in his late fifties and had underlying health conditions.

12:30 p.m.

Cone Health has launched a COVID-19 support fund to help patients and staff impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Money raised will go towards things such as iPads so that patients can stay connected with loved ones who are prohibited from visiting, personal protective equipment for staff, and perhaps meet future needs such as housing staff who may have been infected by coronavirus or who wish to self-isolate to protect their families.

11:45 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday. The County’s total case count is 141. Of the 141, 99 have recovered.

10:00 a.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the state’s behavioral health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will go towards strengthening the Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002), Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) in areas of the state particularly hard hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic, additional supports for individuals transitioning from jails and prisons who have existing substance use disorders, and to provide counseling and other supports for underserved populations at high risk for mental health disorders.

April 21, 2020

6:00 p.m.

U.S. health regulators on Tuesday OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states.

The test from Burlington-based LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S.

5:40 p.m.

Hundreds of people angry and frustrated with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order designed to blunt COVID-19 marched on Tuesday around his home, demanding that he cancel it now to unleash the state's economy.

Carrying placards and banners and chanting, the crowd gathered in a parking lot before being escorted by Raleigh police motorcycles to walk through downtown Raleigh streets, including those surrounding the Executive Mansion. The final participants in the ReopenNC crowd, while raucous at times, ultimately dispersed peaceably after about three hours.

4:50 p.m.

An initiative in Winston-Salem has begun to combat COVID-19 with a goal of providing everyone access to facemasks. They'll be widely distributed throughout the community as part of a new program called Mask the City.

Mayor Allen Joines, local business leaders, healthcare professionals, and church organizers are urging residents to begin wearing the new masks and continue social distancing through May 31. The masks are designed and produced — up to 900,000 of them per week — locally. 

Mayor Joines says distribution efforts are already underway.

3:40 p.m.

There are currently outbreaks (two or more positive cases) of COVID-19 in five food processing facilities located in Bladen, Chatham Duplin, Lee and Robeson counties.

Food processing plants report that they are doing temperature and symptom checks, encouraging sick employees to stay home and implementing paid sick leave for those with COVID-19 or suspected of having COVID-19. They are also providing personal protective equipment and employing social distancing policies where possible.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS), local health departments, food plant managers and corporate owners, community health centers and local hospitals are working together to keep workers at food processing plants safe and to help ensure the world’s food supply remains stable.

Interim guidelines for how to achieve this can be found here

1:50 p.m.

Governor Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will do a press briefing at 2 p.m.  Watch live here or listen on 88.5 FM. 

1:24 p.m.

According to Guilford County Public Health, as of Tuesday at noon, there were 201 cases of COVID-19 in reported, up from 191 the day before. GCDPH has also verified 2 more death, bringing the county's total to 15.

11:39 a.m.

One new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Forsyth County bring the total number of cases to 131. Of those, 97 have recovered.

April 20, 2020

5:00 p.m.

The Winston-Salem Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee will hold an online meeting Friday, April 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to review applications and award grants from the city’s $1 million contribution to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County. The meeting will be conducted online to comply with social distancing recommendations for fighting the spread of COVID-19.

Residents who want to listen to the meeting can contact Meridith Martin by calling 336-747-7212 or emailing meridithm@cityofws.org.  

3:00 p.m.

North Carolina has been approved for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, to help families purchase food for children impacted by school closings due to COVID-19. NCDHHS is working to operationalize the program and families will begin to receive this benefit in the coming weeks. 

The program provides a benefit on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school. Families will receive $250 in P-EBT benefits per child, provided in two installments, with the possibility of an additional benefit if North Carolina schools are closed beyond May 15. Families will be able to use the P-EBT benefit to purchase food items at EBT authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores. 

1:55 p.m.

Members of the state Coronavirus Task Force will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. today. You can watch it live or listen at 88.5 WFDD FM or stream it online at www.wfdd.org

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting two new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total case count to 130. 96 county residents have already recovered from the disease. 

 

April 19, 2020

1:05 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting a total COVID-19 case count of 128. Of those, 95 people have recovered. 

April 18, 2020

12:15 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting one additional case of COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 127. Of those, 95 have recovered. 

Public Health Director Joshua Swift commented, “Cases reported are laboratory confirmed cases and are known from testing. While positive cases help to represent disease spread in a community, they do not account for all possible cases.”

April 17, 2020

5:45 p.m.

Cone Health will not yet reorient Wesley Long Hospital for COVID-19 patients. The health care system will first fill the Green Valley campus (formerly Women's Hospital) before expanding to other hospitals. In the meantime, Cone Health says:

  • There will be no change in the way we currently care for behavioral health patients.
  • Patients being treated for cancer will continue receiving outpatient treatment at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long Hospital.
  • Inpatient oncology, sickle cell and urology units remain at Wesley Long Hospital. 

4:45 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper responded to President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the economy by stressing that the state needs the federal government’s help supplying medical professionals to ramp up COVID-19 testing. The state government also said Friday that it was tripling the staff handling unemployment claims as the state faces a crush of hundreds of thousands requests. Trump told governors Thursday that restrictions could be eased to allow businesses to reopen in the coming weeks in areas that have extensive testing and a decline in cases. Cooper, a Democrat, said Friday that states need more supplies from the federal government to expand testing enough to reopen their economies.

4:15 p.m.

Prison officials say a COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to more than 250 inmates. State prisons Commissioner Todd Ishee said during a media briefing that 259 inmates had tested positive as of Friday afternoon at Neuse Correctional Institution, a state prison in Goldsboro. He said none were hospitalized and that 98% of those testing positive were asymptomatic.  All 700 inmates have been tested but some test results are pending.   Newly positive inmates are being put into isolation, and the state is sending additional medical and security staff to the facility. 

1:45 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force to hold a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD.

 

1:19 p.m. 

Surry County is reporting an error in the amount of its COVID-19 cases. According to a press release, the Assistant County Manager says the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services incorrectly stated Surry County with 16 cases, when there were only 11 cases confirmed at 1 p.m. on April 17th. 

"In an effort to validate lab equipment, there were test patient labs submitted through a local healthcare facility to LabCorp," the statement reads. "There were 5 positive test labs and 5 negative test labs submitted, the test labs were counted towards the County’s laboratory confirmed case count mistakenly. Surry County Health and Nutrition Center apologizes for any inconveniences this may have caused."

11:36 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting no new cases of COVID-19, leaving its total case count at 126. 95 residents have already recovered from the disease. Statewide, an additional 394 people have tested positive for the virus since Thursday. 

10:55 a.m.

Three workers at a North Carolina Harris Teeter distribution center have tested positive for COVID-19. 

A spokeswoman for the grocery chain says that three employees who work in the Greensboro distribution center have tested positive for the coronavirus. The workers are all currently under a physician’s care.

The News & Observer reports that an employee who works in a Charlotte Harris Teeter outlet also tested positive for the virus last week.

According to the company's website, employees directly affected by coronavirus are offered emergency paid leave, additional financial assistance, and mental health services.

April 16, 2020

6:00 p.m.

A Guilford County initiative to help the homeless during the pandemic is starting to bear fruit. Clients with COVID-19 now have a place to quarantine. 

The COVID-19 response task force identified two primary strategies: socially distancing the shelters and their occupants, and forging a viable path forward once clients begin testing positive.

Brian Hahne is with Partners Ending Homelessness, the organization spearheading the response team. Hahne says the county provided a centrally-located hotel in Guilford County. Area shelter clients who are symptomatic of COVID-19 are permitted to stay for up to 14 days. The city is providing transportation, lodging, food, and on-site security costs. Additional supportive services are being overseen by Partners Ending Homelessness.   

1:35 p.m. 

Members of the COVID19NC Task Force will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. today. You can watch it live or listen at 88.5 WFDD FM or stream it online at www.wfdd.org

 

12:00 p.m.

Guilford County is reporting 160 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. This Guilford County map, updated weekly, is from April 15, 2020. 

11:51 a.m.

Guilford County's stay-at-home order is set to expire at midnight tonight and will not be extended. The county now falls under statewide restrictions.

“The expiration of a local order is not a call to return to business as usual. Guilford County is still experiencing infection locally and we are not out of the woods. We still face, and we will continue to face for many more months, a virus that spreads through physical contact. It continues to be important that residents do everything they can to minimize the amount of physical contact with other people,” says Jeff Phillips, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

According to a press release, under the statewide order, residents will see very little difference from the County’s order regarding mass gatherings, essential travel and social distancing restrictions

11:42 a.m. 

There are two new cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, bringing the total to 126. Of those, 92 have recovered. Five people have died due to the virus. 

10:16 a.m.

The spring High Point Furniture Market is canceled due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was originally supposed to take place this month. As the coronavirus pandemic worsened, the High Point Market Authority announced a postponement until June, in hopes that conditions might improve.

Tom Conley is president and CEO of the Market Authority. He said in a news release that the decision was difficult but prudent given the current circumstances. The cancellation was unanimously approved by an executive committee.

The economic impact of the combined spring and fall markets is estimated at more than $6 billion within a 75-mile radius of the heart of High Point, according to a study released last year.

8:38 a.m.

A Greensboro firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. According to a release from the city, the unidentified firefighter is quarantined and reportedly doing well. The Fire Department is taking measures to reduce the spread, and it decontaminating all spaces and equipment that the firefighter came into contact with. 

 

April 15, 2020

5:30 p.m.

As of Wednesday, 5,123 North Carolina residents have tested positive for COVID-19. State officials say case numbers are beginning to trend downward. 

At a press briefing today, Governor Roy Cooper credited his stay-at-home order with preventing a surge, but said the state’s restrictions aren’t sustainable long-term.  

He outlined several factors officials are considering to decide when and how to ease those mandates, including testing capacity and case trends.

Cooper said it’s likely that rules will be relaxed strategically and gradually, rather than all at once. 

“In our new normal, you may see more people wearing masks or having their temperature checked," Cooper said. "A restaurant you go into may have tables that are only partially full. The only sporting events or concerts that you may be able to watch for awhile will have no in-person crowds.”

Cooper did not specify when non-essential businesses may be allowed to reopen. His statewide stay-at-home order is set to expire at the end of the month. 

3:30 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a briefing on COVID-19 updates at 4:00 p.m. today. Watch live or listen on 88.5 WFDD.

2:50 p.m.

Many North Carolina DMV offices are either temporarily closed or only open to appointments, in support of efforts to flatten the COVID-19 virus curve. 

In order to renew a vehicle registration, an inspection must be on file with the DMV and have been completed within 90 days. Pending state legislation, the inspection process is still required to be done in-person. 

In an email to NC drivers, the DMV said that all NC inspection stations are following CDC recommended social distancing guidelines and offering “very brief or even no direct contact” with inspection staff

NCDMV says to not visit a vehicle inspection station if you are high-risk or in self-quarantine. Also, the owner of the vehicle does not have to be present, as any NC-licensed driver can bring the vehicle in for inspection

North Carolinians automatically receive a 15-day grace period on expired inspections

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is urging residents to conduct their DMV-related business online through the state’s official app myNCDMV.

11:35 a.m.

A conservative Christian nonprofit group is suing Guilford County and the City of Greensboro. This comes after four abortion protesters were charged under the city’s stay-at-home order.

The federal lawsuit was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom. The group argues that four anti-abortion protesters were arrested “for engaging in peaceful prayer outside an abortion facility.”

But police say the four were charged because they were violating local and state orders that require people to stay home except for essential activities and prohibit gatherings in large groups.

10:00 a.m.

Greensboro city boards and commissions will be able to meet electronically regarding time-sensitive issues, effective April 18. Groups will use Zoom, the video conferencing app, and must provide public notice of meetings. This update follows the mid-March decision to cancel board and commission meetings through April 17.  

April 14, 2020

3:10 p.m.

The Winston-Salem Transit Authority is set to begin offering free rides on city buses starting Wednesday. The decision, announced by Mayor Allen Joines, will reduce personal contact between drivers and bus passengers. 

1:45 p.m.

Members of the COVID-19 Task Force will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. today. Watch live or listen to 88.5 WFDD FM or stream us as www.wfdd.org.

 

12:19 p.m.

Alamance County officials say the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services erroneously reported a spike of COVID-19 cases in the county.  

The county says on Monday, it had only 39 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 29 fewer than the state reported.

On Facebook, a spokesperson for the county’s health department explained the error was likely due to a mix-up at a LabCorp facility.

“This increase is due to a large batch of LabCorp test results with no addresses listed,” officials wrote Monday. “The results default to Burlington because of the location of LabCorp and are then reported by default to the Alamance County Health Department.” 

County officials say Labcorp is working to reassign those cases to the correct area. 

The number has not been amended on the NCDHHS website as of Tuesday afternoon. The state is reporting 73 Alamance County cases. In a Tuesday Facebook post, county officials said the correct number is 41, and that they are working together with NCDHHS and LabCorp to resolve the issue. 
 

11:45 a.m.

Forsyth County is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 123. Officials say four county residents have died from the disease, and 83 have recovered. 

11:00 a.m.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines is extending the city's stay-at-home order to May 7. He announced the decision at an online press conference earlier this morning.

A statewide stay-at-home order is set to expire on April 29. The order does not prohibit local muncipalities from enacting stricter measures. 

 

8:45 a.m.

Yadkin County is reporting its first coronavirus-related death. In a statement, county officials said the individual died from complications related to the virus on Monday. The patient was over the age of 65. 

 

April 13, 2020

5:15 p.m.

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security has received official guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to implement the three unemployment programs of the federal CARES Act.

  1. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): This program provides an additional $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits to eligible claimants. This system is being tested, and DES anticipates making the first payments by April 17, 2020.

  2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): This program provides unemployment compensation for individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance or any extensions to unemployment insurance. This will provide benefits to eligible self-employed workers and independent contractors. DES anticipates the system will be ready to accept claims for this assistance around April 25, 2020.

  3. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): This program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for those who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits. A definitive timeline for completing system updates for this program is not yet available.

2:35 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a briefing on COVID-19 updates at 3:00 p.m. Watch live or listen on 88.5 FM.

1:50 p.m.

The Greensboro-based grocery chain, The Fresh Market, is implementing a new policy that requires shoppers to wear face masks while in stores. 

The News & Record reports the new policy will take effect on Tuesday. It follows other safety measures the market has already put in place, including shortening some business hours, limiting the number of customers allowed in stores at one time, and setting aside the first business hour for senior shoppers.

1:27 p.m.

Cone Health will use Wesley Long Hospital and the former Women's Hospital (now Green Valley campus) to care for COVID-19 patients. The health care system says this will help with the anticipated increase in volume of infected patients in the weeks to come.

12:00 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 119. Of the 119, 73 have recovered. The county is now also providing new weekly reports (seen below) from Public Health’s Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit.

 

10:30 a.m.

Yesterday evening, Guilford County Schools announced it will not be distributing meals today due to inclement weather. The cancellation includes all meal distributions including grab and go sites and satellite meal distributions.

April 12, 2020

5:10 p.m.

The Humane Society in Forsyth County is consolidating operations into one facility and changing the process for adoptions during the pandemic. 

The agency is limiting guest interaction and ensuring social distancing for staff and guests. It’s appointment only, no walk-ins allowed. Some adoptions are made using Facetime and Skype.

Sarah Williamson, director of the Forsyth County Humane Society, says they haven’t seen an uptick in pet surrenders at this time, but they’re prepared to handle the situation if it changes.

“Because of the great outpouring of support for foster[ing], we were able to move all of our animals out of Country Club and into the Sturmer Park Circle location,” she says. "And then we were able to take a lemonade out of lemons opportunity to do a deep clean and sanitation of our Country Club shelter, holding it in preparation if we need to have animals housed there.”

Williamson says the community support during this time has been overwhelming. The shelter is accepting donations online and she says they’ve been getting a lot of deliveries lately.

12:30 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting one new case of COVID-19, bringing its total to 116. Four residents have died from the disease. 67 have already recovered. 

April 11, 2020

5:00 p.m.

The latest demographic charts from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show that the majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina are among those between 25 and 49, while the majority of deaths are in those 65 and up.

 

12:30 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 and one death since yesterday. The County’s total case count remains at 115. Of the 115, 67 have recovered.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 helpline (336) 582-0800 is automatically being forwarded to NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) over the holiday weekend. NCDHHS COVID-19 helpline can be reached at (866) 462-3821.

 

April 10, 2020

3:45 p.m.

A residential facility in Greensboro has confirmed an "on-going" outbreak that has affected three residents. The News & Record reports that the Heritage Greens retirement facility confirmed that it is apparently one of four residential facilities identified by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services dealing with an outbreak.

In a recent update, Executive Director Jeremy Reid says one resident tested positive March 30th and recovered. Another resident tested positive and is being treated at a hospital, and he said an additional resident tested positive and will be cared for by a separate team that would tend to this individual only. 

As of April 10th, State health officials reported other outbreaks at residential facilities in Henderson, Northampton, Stanly, and Wayne counties. 23 nursing homes in 20 counties are also affected, but none are in the Triad. 

3:15 p.m.

Guilford County is amending its stay-at-home order and the modifications will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10th. According to a press release, the changes target “Drive-In” Religious Services and Automobile Dealers providing clarification for some areas of specified retail business and service provisions related to automotive industry and relaxes some restrictions surrounding religious gatherings.

Chairman of the Board Jeff Phillips stated, “It is our hope that all of our residents will continue to take the Amended Stay-At-Home order very seriously, and will voluntarily comply. The County and our city partners are continuing to assess the spread of the disease in our community. We understand the importance of this time of year within our religious community and the need for individuals to be able to exercise their religious beliefs with like-minded believers while being cognizant of public health concerns.” He added, “We have heard and are listening to our business community. We understand that these are trying times economically and we are all working together to weather these difficult times.

1:45 p.m.

A $50 million study is underway at Duke Clinical Research Institute to prevent COVID-19 in health care workers. It aims to evaluate hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug for the novel coronavirus.

The antimalarial drug has been around for decades, but now finds itself in the spotlight. Many people, including President Trump, have been touting the promise of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against COVID-19, without much data to back that up.

But its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties are why it's of interest. This new study of HCQ will focus on health care workers. Duke researchers are building a registry of medical professionals to track workers' experiences with the coronavirus and address specific needs. It will also facilitate getting them into clinical trials.

1:00 p.m.

Two new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Forsyth County since yesterday. The County’s total case count is 115. Of the 115, 67 have recovered.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 helpline (336) 582-0800 is automatically being forwarded to NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) over the holiday weekend. NCDHHS COVID-19 helpline can be reached at (866) 462-3821.

9:00 a.m.

The Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services — Public Health Division, Partners Ending Homelessness, and Guilford County Continuum of Care have come together to create a new initiative to address public health concerns facing the county's homeless population. It's called the Guilford County Homelessness Initiative.

 

April 9, 2020

6:10 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper says he will sign a new executive order addressing recent COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes, the surge in unemployment claims, and crowding at essential businesses. 

At a press conference earlier today, Cooper said stores that remain open will be required to follow new social distancing requirements. 

“Effective 5 p.m. Monday, stores may not have a number of people inside at one time that is more than 20 percent of the stated fire capacity or either five people for every 1,000 square feet,” Cooper said. “Stores must also mark 6 feet of distance at places where people need to gather.”

The order also establishes new rules at long-term care facilities designed to slow the spread of the virus. The final part of the order is designed to make it easier for employers to file claims on behalf of their employees. 

The Division of Employment Security has processed nearly half a million unemployment claims since March 16. Many seeking benefits have reported widespread technical issues and long wait times. 

5:20 p.m.

Forsyth County Public Health Officials say local stay at home orders are making a difference in containing the spread of COVID-19. 

The county’s rate of cases per 100,000 is 28 compared to 31.8 across North Carolina.

Most of the confirmed cases are in people under 45. Health officials are concerned that young adults may have few or no symptoms and spread COVID-19 to those at highest risk. Forsyth Public Health Director Joshua Swift also released more information about race and other local demographics.

“Fourteen percent of cases are African American. Four percent are Hispanic. 44 percent are white -  and 37 percent unknown. Unknown because the medical provider who requested the test did not complete that part of the electronic order that was sent to the lab.” 

Local health experts believe the rush by providers and the state lab to get early test results may have contributed to the unknown data. Advocates say the information is important to help tackle health care disparities in communities.

4:45 p.m.

Dr. Christopher Ohl with Wake Forest Baptist Health says new COVID-19 case numbers are rounding off across the state. 

“So by after Easter, we'll know for sure if we've come up and over the peak.”

Ohl says the Triad is likely to hit what he called a “mesa” in cases soon. He says that means it’s unlikely that area hospitals will be overwhelmed if social distancing measures continue. 

“The one downside about being a mesa, if you've ever been out west, is that you have to walk on the top of a mesa for a long time before you get to the other side. So I think it means that our numbers of cases and how they go are going to last longer here in this area.”

The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated North Carolina will reach peak resource use on April 15.

3:45 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live or listen on 88.5 FM. 

 

2:30 p.m.

The City of Winston-Salem is reminding residents to put safety first as they celebrate Easter and Passover this weekend. These events traditionally include large family and church gatherings. 

COVID-19 is highly contagious, and can be deadly for seniors and for people with compromised immune systems, respiratory ailments, and other underlying medical conditions.  People who are infected can have the virus for days before showing symptoms—and some will never have symptoms, says Forsyth Health Director Joshua Swift. “You could feel fine and yet be bringing COVID-19 into your home and to your loved ones without knowing it,” Swift said. “In the worst-case scenario, that might be an elderly relative or someone ill-equipped to fight it off.” 

The best prevention is to follow the local and state orders to stay at home unless you're going out for an essential reason. If you must go out, remember: 

· Wear a face mask to reduce the chance of passing the virus to others, if it turns out you were already infected but did not know it. 

· Follow the order to not assemble in groups of 10 or more. 

· Maintain the social distance guideline of 6 feet.

 · Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

· Keep your hands away from your face.

1:30 p.m.

Forsyth County cases of COVID-19 are up by five since yesterday. A total of 113 people have tested positive, with 61 having recovered. There have been three deaths in the county.

 

*Correction: an earlier version of this post had an error in the number of Forsyth County cases.

12:51 p.m.

Local, state and federal officials are reaching out to warn people about schemes to profit illegally off of coronavirus fears.

The potential for scamming grows with any crisis, and as with many scams, authorities say seniors are at particular risk.

The IRS is warning retirees that no one from the agency will reach out to them by phone, email or in-person about their money from the stimulus package. The agency is sending these $1,200 payments automatically to eligible retirees and no additional action or information is needed on their part to receive the money.

12:00 p.m.

The northernmost section of the Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed to support COVID-19 prevention efforts. The National Park Service says the Parkway from Milepost 0 to 13 will close immediately in coordination with closures at Shenandoah National Park. 

10:05 a.m.

The CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC has been hospitalized with COVID-19. Eric Aft initially entered a local hospital for pneumonia, but later tested positive for the virus. The organization shared the following statement:

“To protect the health and safety of food bank staff, partner agencies, and volunteers and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines, Aft began self-isolating and quarantining at the first signs of symptoms and continued to lead the organization remotely,” said Michelle Butt, Second Harvest Food Bank Board Chair. “Prior to Eric’s quarantine, the organization had already taken steps to dramatically alter our footprint and processes, ensuring the safety of our staff, volunteers, partners, and product. Now, as Eric turns his attention to his recovery, the food bank’s highly capable senior leadership team and staff, supported by myself and Board Vice Chair Phil McAdams and with the full support of the board, continues the essential work of the food bank.”

9:00 a.m.

A member of the Greensboro Police Department has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer is in quarantine and doing well. GPD is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and will decontaminate "all spaces and equipment the employee may have come in contact with."

April 8, 2020

5:15 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has two new mental health resources to help North Carolinians during the COVID-19 crisis. The Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) puts people in touch with mental health and resilience resources. It is available 24 hours a day for everyone in all 100 counties.

The second is the Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) which provides resources for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response.

Hope4Healers is also recruiting and onboarding additional licensed behavioral health professional volunteers to support this helpline. Volunteers must register though the NC Training, Exercise, and Response Management System (NC TERMS). That system can be accessed through: www.terms.ncem.org/TRS.

Additional resources can be found here.  

4:30 p.m.

Guilford College has furloughed more than half of the school’s non-faculty employees. It’s among the colleges and universities enacting cost-cutting measures as economic concerns linger over the coronavirus pandemic.  

This time of year, the small, private school in Greensboro is usually bustling with student events and activities. But Guilford College’s campus has been eerily quiet for weeks as buildings remain closed due to COVID-19 concerns.

The university is operating with a small number of essential staff and faculty members have shifted to online classes. The changes are leaving deep budget holes and a lot of uncertainty. Guilford College President Jane Fernandes says they’ve had to make some tough decisions.

“The furloughs are temporary and they are continuing to June first,” says Fernandes. “But in the middle of May we will check in with the staff regarding when we will be open or if we can be open in June because at the time, we don’t even know that.”

3:00 p.m.

Watch a press briefing with Governor Roy Cooper, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry:

2:30 p.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved North Carolina’s request for shelters that follow social distancing guidelines.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that FEMA will help provide shelters for North Carolinians without stable housing who may need to quarantine or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

1:55 p.m.

Forsyth County is reporting an additional 2 cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 108. Of those, 59 residents have already recovered. The county has also released demographic data revealing 25.5% of its cases are people over the age of 65. 22.6% were people ages 25-34. All other age groups made up less than 20% of the county's cases. 

1:20 p.m.

North Carolina's Department of Information Technology has created a map to help residents find free and low-cost internet access options in their areas. 

“North Carolina is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with everything we’ve got,” Tracy Doaks, NCDIT secretary and state chief information officer, said. “In these uncertain times, more and more of our residents are being asked to work and learn from home, making access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet more critical than ever.”

State officials say the map is updated daily and includes the locations of free public Wi-Fi hotspots. 

11:20 a.m.

State elections officials are bracing for major impacts on voting in this year’s election in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Elections director Karen Bell gave a somber update to board members via a telephone meeting. Potential social distancing rules, loss of volunteers, and changes in how people are expected to vote will all have to be considered.

“As we go forward, we will not be cutting our services for in-person voting,” Bell says. “We will maintain those and deliver those actually with more care as we set up sanitation stations, as we do crowd control with stanchions and other efforts to create social distancing.”

She says the state needs to prepare for a huge jump in mail-in ballots. They usually account for about four percent of the total votes cast, but she says that could jump tenfold.

April 7, 2020

5:30 p.m.

In a press release, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines noted that no city money has been allocated yet by the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County. This comes in response to recent concerns cited by citizens and members of the City Council. The release continues to say that the city will exercise oversight in how its contribution is disbursed to the community.

The fund has raised more than $3.3 million. On Monday, fund administrators announced an inaugural round of grants totaling $1.06 million to 15 local agencies. However, none of that came from city money, which had not been sent to the fund pending council approval.

4:10 p.m.

Researchers have lowered a projected COVID-19 death toll for North Carolina, and say this could be an indication that the state’s social distancing guidelines may be working.

Researchers at the University of Washington say the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina will likely peak next week with far fewer deaths than originally projected.

The study group now predicts that about 500 people in the state will die from COVID-19. That figure was closer to 2,400 hundred just a week and a half ago.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, warns that there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to how the coronavirus pandemic will play out. DHHS models show the need for hospital beds will peak in mid-to-late May, a full month after the University of Washington projections.

2:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing financial assistance to help essential workers afford child care, and bonuses to child care teachers and staff who provide care during the COVID-19 crisis. 

NCDHHS established an Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program for essential workers as defined in Governor Roy Cooper’s March 27 Executive Order 121. Essential worker emergency child care financial assistance will be offered through May and may be extended. To receive an emergency care subsidy, parents must complete the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care and submit it to their child care provider. Financial aid is available to parents and caregivers who are essential workers and who meet the following criteria:

  • Their income is below 300 percent of the poverty line; 

  • They are an essential worker fighting COVID-19 or protecting the health and safety of communities; and

  • They feel they have no other viable child care options available to them.

1:45 p.m.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are holding a briefing on COVID-19 updates. Watch live or listen on 88.5 FM. You can also stream the hearing live at www.wfdd.org.

 

11:44 a.m.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Guilford County is reporting 119 cases of COVID-19 and 5 deaths.  

In a release, Forsyth County is reporting 7 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 106 cases. Of those, 53 have recovered. 

Effective immediately the Forsyth Humane Society is suspending the provision of elective spay/neuter services during the COVID-19 crisis. Procedures are being rescheduled to later dates in an effort to contribute to the preservation of personal protective equipment at this time. People are being allowed to adopt unaltered animals with a contract requiring the animal to be spayed/neutered by October 31, 2020. Forsyth County parks remain open and are operating on a normal schedule, but the following are now closed: playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts and boat rentals. Groups larger than 10 people are not allowed, and park visitors must maintain proper social distancing.

11:24 a.m.

The COVID-19 Response Fund of Forsyth County has awarded its first grants to local nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Officials announced plans Monday to disperse over $1 million to 15 organizations including the Salvation Army, Neighbors For Better Neighborhoods, and Legal Aid of North Carolina. 

More than $3 million has been raised for the fund since it was created late last month, including $1 million from the City of Winston-Salem. Council members formally approved the city’s contribution at a virtual meeting Monday night.

 

April 6, 2020

5:40 p.m.

Forsyth County is continuing the practice known as contact tracing to limit the spread of COVID-19. This comes as the state no longer requires it because community spread is ramping up. 

Local health departments use contact tracing when they are notified by the state of a positive coronavirus case. The infected person is asked to provide a list of anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more. They are instructed to quarantine at home for several days. The process takes a lot of manpower for local officials, and it’s becoming harder to do as case counts continue to mount.

5:20 p.m.

The Public Health Director for Vance and Granville Counties says that 59 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Center in Butner. The News & Observer reports that number is significantly higher than the figures reported over the weekend.  

4:00 p.m.

Watch a media briefing with NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen and NCEM Director Mike Sprayberry:

2:25 p.m. 

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced that the North Carolina Division of Prisons will not accept offenders from county jails and will reduce the transfer of offenders for the next two weeks. The goal is to help contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Seven inmates have tested positive at three prisons. The Department says that face masks were distributed to all offenders and staff at those prisons over the weekend. Offenders will still continue to be transferred for the following reasons:

•    To comply with court orders.
•    For medical or mental health reasons.
•    For security purposes to address critical incidents within the prisons.
•    To release offenders who have completed their prison sentences  

12:40 p.m.

The City of Greensboro is instituting new options for those having difficulty paying their water bill during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a media release, If water service was cut off for nonpayment prior to mid-March, and is still off, it will be reconnected it for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Also in mid-March, water shutoffs for non-payment and late fees on past-due water accounts were temporarily suspended.

Payment plans are available and can be arranged by calling 336-373-CITY (2489) on Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

11:30 a.m.

In Forsyth County, there are now 99 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 45 have recovered. Guilford County is reporting 103 cases and three deaths. The case count is subject to change throughout the day but will only be reported once per day in the daily briefing.

 

April 5, 2020

2:15 p.m.

Yard waste fees for Winston-Salem residents are temporarily waived at the Overdale and Forum 52 Yard Waste Facilities. This is in response to the City of Winston-Salem's suspension of brush, limb and yard waste cart collection. Residents dropping off yard waste must practice social distancing to protect the health, safety and welfare of all citizens.

Fees will be waived for residents in cars, vans, SUVs, pickup trucks (up to half-ton with an unaltered bed) and single-axle trailers. People must unload their own leaves, grass clippings, tree limbs, brush, untreated wood or other yard waste. 

 

10:05 a.m.

The North Carolina Division of Prisons have begun staff coronavirus medical screenings that include temperature checks at every prison, in an additional effort to reduce the chances the coronavirus gets into a prison.

The screening of staff, as well as anyone else authorized to enter a prison, began on March 20 at Central Prison and North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women. Efforts expanded to every prison on March 31 once a shipment of no-touch thermometers arrived and were distributed to facilities across the state.

Entry to any prison will be denied to anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more, individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms of cough or shortness of breath, those showing fatigue and muscle aches indicative of a viral infection, or people who has been exposed in the past 14 days to anyone who is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

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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