Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina (December 2020)

Live Updates: Coronavirus In North Carolina (December 2020)

12:28pm Jan 01, 2021

December 30, 2020

5:30 p.m. 

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

5:23 p.m. 

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

1:00 p.m. 

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

 

December 23, 2020

1:53 p.m.

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

12:51 p.m.

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The Moderna vaccine. Image courtesy: Forsyth Public Health

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

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

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

December 22, 2020

6:10 p.m.

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

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

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

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

5:40 p.m.

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

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

2:45 p.m.

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

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

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

2:30 p.m.

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

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

 

 

1:23 p.m. 

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

 

1:09 p.m.

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

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

More information on vaccines and vaccine distribution can be found here

10:20 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

 

December 21, 2020

5:35 p.m.

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

4:20 p.m.

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

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

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

2:05 p.m.

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

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

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

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

This testing site does not offer travel screening.

1:20 p.m.

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

December 18, 2020

5:15 p.m.

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

2:19 p.m.

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

12:54 p.m.

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

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

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

December 17, 2020

5:15 p.m

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

4:10 p.m.

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

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

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

The phases for vaccine rollout are:

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

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

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

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

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

2:40 p.m.

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

12:51 p.m. 

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

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

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

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

11:37 a.m. 

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

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

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

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

10:45 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

10:15 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 16, 2020

5:00 p.m.

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

3:40 p.m.

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

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

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

12:47 p.m.

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

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

 

December 15, 2020

4:40 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

4:30 p.m.

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

2:45 p.m.

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

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

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

1:45 p.m. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

1:36 p.m. 

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

10:42 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

10:05 a.m. 

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

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

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

9:48 a.m.

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

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

December 14, 2020

5:09 p.m.

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

1:35 p.m.

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

1:26 p.m.

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

9:50 a.m.

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

December 11, 2020

6:20 p.m.

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

5:47 p.m.

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

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

5:28 p.m.

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

4:08 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1:20 p.m.

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

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

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

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

For more information visit www.forsyth.cc/covidupdate

12:27 p.m.

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

12:04 p.m.

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

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

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

9:15 a.m.

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

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

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

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

December 10, 2020 

4:56 p.m.

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

12:46 p.m. 

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

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

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

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

For more information visit www.forsyth.cc/covidupdate

10:29 a.m.

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

 

December 9, 2020

4:19 p.m. 

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

1:08 p.m.

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

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

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

12:41 p.m.

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

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

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

December 8, 2020

5:00 p.m.

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

3:24 p.m.

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

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

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

2:40 p.m.

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

2:00 p.m. 

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

11:32 a.m.

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

December 7, 2020

6:19 p.m.

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

12:56 p.m.

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

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

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

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

December 5, 2020

12:20 p.m.

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

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

December 4, 2020

4:45 p.m.

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

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

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

4:14 p.m.

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

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

1:15 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

9:38 a.m.

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

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

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

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

-The Associated Press

9:30 a.m.

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

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

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

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

December 3, 2020

6:06 p.m.

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

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

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

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

5:41 p.m.

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

4:34 p.m.

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

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

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

1:40 p.m.

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

1:06 p.m.

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

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

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

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

December 2, 2020

4:51 p.m.

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

1:54 p.m.

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

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

More Forsyth County COVID-19 data is available here.

11:50 a.m.

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

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

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

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

-The Associated Press

December 1, 2020

6:12 p.m.

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

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

2:30 p.m.

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

1:10 p.m.

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

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

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

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

12:26 p.m. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:53 a.m.

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

The Associated Press

Click here for previous updates.

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