North Carolina tops 2,000 COVID-19 cases again, percent positive holds steady at 8

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

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4:20 p.m.
Wake County has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 at The Addison of Knightdale, an assisted living and memory care facility, located at 2408 Hodge Road.

3 p.m.
Halifax County health officials reported eight more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 504. There have been six deaths county-wide.

2:45 p.m.
ABC11’s Charlotte affiliate WSOC obtained information about new restrictions on alcohol sales in Mecklenburg County in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new restrictions ban onsite food and drink consumption after 11 p.m. in places that serve alcohol, which applies to indoor and outdoor seating. Restaurants that serve alcohol will only be able to offer takeout or delivery after 11 p.m.

RELATED: Raleigh to halt late-night sales of alcohol at restaurants to slow spread of COVID-19, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin says

People are also not allowed to eat or drink while sitting or standing at the bar and puts holds on shared touch games like pool, darts and pinball.

WSOC reported the restrictions will go into place once the proclamation is signed by county officials along with leaders in Charlotte, Matthews, Davidson, Mint Hill and Pineville.

1:40 p.m.
Sampson County health officials are reporting 60 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1,382. There has been one more death, bringing the total to 11.

1:20 p.m.
Lee County has reported its ninth COVID-19-related death.

12 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 2,140 new cases of COVID-19 in its latest numbers update Wednesday.

There have now been 105,001 lab-confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March. Wednesday marks the seventh time the state has eclipsed 2,000 cases in a single day.

With 90 percent of hospitals reporting, 514 ICU beds and 5,021 inpatient hospital beds are empty. Thirty more deaths were reported, bringing the total in the state up to 1,698.

The state completed 32,823 more tests. The percent of positive tests for July 21 is currently at 8 percent, which is in line with the overall positive rate in our state.

The total number of hospitalizations decreased by 42 to 1,137. The latest data shows people ages 25 to 49 make up 44 percent of the cases across North Carolina.

WEDNESDAY MORNING STORYLINES

North Carolina’s largest public school district is sticking with only online student learning to start the academic year. The Wake County school board voted unanimously Tuesday to join the growing list of school districts not ready to return to classrooms next month due to COVID-19.

Board members had committed earlier to a rotating schedule for in-person instruction to begin the year, but district officials said things have changed since coronavirus hospitalizations and the percentage of positive cases have increased. Gov. Roy Cooper also last week gave school districts the option to conduct all instruction online.

Johnston County Schools is up next. Administrators will discuss their district’s reopening plan Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in a special session. Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy will lead the discussion. On Tuesday, Cumberland County Schools announced it would be on Plan C, which is exclusively online classes, for at least the first six weeks of the school year.

Other school districts that have opted to start the school year without any in-person classes include Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Chatham County Schools, Durham County Schools, Orange County Schools, Vance County Schools, Warren County Schools, and Weldon City Schools.

Harnett County Schools is having a meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m. to explain the options available to parents. The district said parents can choose between two options: face-to-face instruction or remote learning.

Free COVID-19 testing is available at Carrboro High School Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. Those wanting a test must pre-register through StarMed.

Positive COVID-19 cases have now exceeded 100,000 in North Carolina. According to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 1,179 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state. An update on cases, tests, hospitalizations and deaths will come in Wednesday around noon.

TUESDAY
7:30 p.m.
Sampson County Schools announced it will reopen with remote learning on Aug. 17. High schools will stay in remote learning through Oct. 17. The remote option for K-8 will be revisited before Sept. 14.

7:15 p.m.
Durham County health officials are reporting 5,219 COVID-19 cases, up 89 from Monday. There have been 73 coronavirus-related deaths county-wide.

5 p.m.
Wake County health officials are reporting 192 more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 9,143. The county is reporting six more deaths since Monday, bringing the total to 99 county-wide.

4:50 p.m.
Halifax County health officials are reporting four more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 497. There have been five virus-related deaths county-wide.
3:45 p.m.

The Moore County Health Department reported four new deaths attributed to COVID-19.

All four victims were residents of Seven Lakes Assisted Living & Memory Care. Three of the people died July 14t; another on July 18. All four of the patients — three men and one woman — were 65 or older.

COVID-19 testing for residents and staffers at Seven Lakes has generated a 36 positive results, consisting of 31 residents and five staff members.

A total of 18 people have died in Moore County from COVID-19. Twelve of those have been linked to outbreaks at long-term care facilities: Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (six deaths), Seven Lakes (four deaths), and Fox Hollow (two deaths).

There have been 705 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Moore County.

Also in Moore County, the Health Department was notified of confirmed positive COVID-19 test results for three staff members of Accordius Health at 915 Pee Dee Road, Aberdeen). At this time, no residents of the facility have tested positive.

This marks the fourth COVID-19 outbreak at a congregate living facility in Moore County.

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper said at a media briefing that those who refuse to wear masks in public places are “selfish.” Cooper said wearing a mask is not only the best way to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus but is also the best way to help pave the way for economic recovery.

Cooper applauded major retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s and Costco, as well as small businesses for requiring customers and staff to wear masks. Though daily case numbers have not decreased since the state’s mask mandate went into effect ahead of the July 4 weekend, Cooper said he and health officials believe that as more people comply with the mask order, the state will begin to see a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

“What you’re doing when you wear it is protecting other people around you, your family, strangers,” Cooper said.

Additionally, Cooper announced that the state would provide more than 900,000 face masks to farm workers across the state.

“We must keep food in our grocery stores and on our tables,” Cooper said. “To do that, we must help protect the farmers and their families from the virus.”

In her comments, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen recognized the continuing delay in testing turnaround times not just in North Carolina, but across the country. Cohen said health leaders are working to ameliorate these delays on a number of fronts, including pairing testing sites with labs that do have supplies and capacity available, buying additional lab capacity, and using other diagnostic test methods such as antigen testing, which tests for specific markers of the virus and typically has a much faster turnaround time.

Additionally, Cohen said a change in guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may alleviate some of the burden on laboratories processing COVID-19 tests. While a COVID-19-positive patient previously needed a negative test result in order to end their isolation period, Cohen said the CDC now recommends those with mild symptoms will only need to isolate for 10 days, and can resume normal activities once they haven’t had a fever or other symptoms for a number of days.

Both Cohen and Cooper said North Carolina will need federal assistance and leadership, as well as a more coordinated federal strategy, to get additional testing supplies to the state.

In addition, both Cohen and Cooper noted that the state passed 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, and urged North Carolinians to continue to do what they can to slow the spread of the virus.

“Here in North Carolina, this pandemic remains at a simmer, not a boil” Cohen said. “Flattening the curve and keeping it flat requires daily, ongoing actions. There’s no one and done here.”

12 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported another record high number of hospitalizations in the state with 1,179. That’s up 93 from Monday. The previous record was 1,178 on July 16.

339 suspected COVID-19 patients were reported as admitted into a hospital statewide in the past 24 hours. 124 confirmed COVID-19 patients were reported as admitted in the last 24 hours.

73 percent of the state’s ventilators are still available.

On July 17, the state reported 1,180 hospitalizations. However, it has since updated its dashboard to a more automated system which now shows 1,154 hospitalizations on that day.

As DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen has repeatedly said, the region including Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has the highest number of hospitalizations in the state.

1,815 new cases were also reported on Tuesday. 24,087 tests were completed, according to NCDHHS.

26 more deaths were reported, bringing the total in the state to 1,668.

People ages 25 to 49 make up 45 percent of the cases across North Carolina.

9:45 a.m.
Cumberland County Schools have finalized a decision to open the 2020-2021 school year under Plan C for at least the first six weeks of the year. The school board’s choice was unanimous and echoed Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr.’s recommendation.

Plan C, which involves students participating in online only classes, would run through at least Sept. 25. The plans calls for the district to subsequently operate under Plan B–a mix of online and in-person classes–no earlier than Sept. 28 provided that the Director of Cumberland County Public Health confirms that COVID-19 conditions have improved significantly.

Dr. Connelly must get approval from the board for the district to continue operating under Plan C beyond Sept. 25.

“Our goal is to get children and teachers back in the building as quickly as we can,” said Susan Williams. “But we have to keep safety in mind.”

TUESDAY MORNING STORYLINES

The Museum of Life and Science canceled all of its in-person camps in Durham for the rest of this week after learning two siblings who attended one of its on-site summer camps last week tested positive for COVID-19.

The siblings who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic and passed daily temperature checks while at camp last week. They learned of someone in their outside social circle who contracted the virus. The family of the campers told the Museum on Monday morning.

“Camper safety is our top priority, so we canceled camp this week to be as cautious as possible,” said Davis Tate, Program Manager of Camp Experiences at the Museum. “After finding that we had received a positive test, we discussed the situation internally and felt the best course of action would be to cancel camps for the week and give our staff the opportunity to be tested. We want to ensure that no campers will be at risk.”

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin banned alcohol sales in the city after 11 p.m. in an effort to curb the coronavirus spread. Baldwin signed an executive order Monday announcing the sale ban in bars, restaurants and grocery stores.

The alcohol curfew will be from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and will take effect Wednesday.

According to the order, social distancing and face-covering requirements weren’t being followed at restaurants and other businesses in the evening and early morning

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force will hold a briefing at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Wake County Public School System and Cumberland County Schools are also scheduled to hold meetings Tuesday. WCPSS will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss moving to Plan C, which would be online-learning only. Cumberland schools meet at 8:30 a.m. The Cumberland Superintendent is recommending the district move to Plan C.

So far, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Chatham County Schools, Durham County Schools, Orange County Schools, Vance County Schools, and Warren County Schools announced they would reopen with classes only available online.

Copyright © 2020 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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