New COVID-19 cases increasing in North Carolina and dozens of other states

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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.

What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here

5:30 p.m.
The Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Litchford Falls Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 8200 Litchford Road in Raleigh.

This is the second outbreak confirmed at this facility.

4:33 p.m.
The Durham County Department of Public Health, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Durham Housing Authority, is expanding free COVID-19 virus testing capacity.

Testing will open to the public beginning October 15 at 8:30 a.m. and will continue Monday-Friday from 8:30.a.m to 5:30 p.m. until October 30 at four Durham Housing Authority locations:

  • McDougald Terrace – 1101 E Lawson St., Durham (drive-through testing available)
  • J.J. Henderson Housing Center – 807 S Duke St., Durham
  • 519 E. Main St., Durham
  • Oxford Manor – 3633 Keystone Place, Durham

Walk-up testing will be available, but residents are encouraged to register and schedule an appointment online or by calling (877) 562-4850. Anyone who meets the virus testing criteria can be tested, including people who are underinsured, uninsured, undocumented or homeless.

4:15 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports five new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1,182 positive cases. There have been 23 deaths in the county or 1.9% of cases.

3:30 p.m.
Shaw University, the oldest historically Black university in the south, has temporarily moved all of its in-person classes online until Friday after six students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.

“My priority is to keep all the Shaw community as safe as possible. We are following and will continue to follow DHHS guidelines. In addition, I will continue to communicate any important updates to the Shaw community and media,” President of Shaw University, Dr. Paulette Dillard wrote in a statement.

In the meantime, each person that has tested positive for the virus is in isolation at this time.

As of Monday, Shaw reported two active COVID-19 cases among students.

11:45 a.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,926 new COVID-19 cases as the state’s 7-day trend line for the trajectory of new cases continues to rise.

The state reported 20,689 more completed tests and a percent positive rate of 6.6%. In September, that metric had been fluctuating between 4% and 6%, but in October it has jumped between 5% and 8%.

Currently, 1,152 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 with 97% of hospitals reporting. That is the highest number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Carolina since August 5.

Forty more people have died from COVID-19.

WEDNESDAY MORNING STORYLINES

The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States is on the rise again. However, the number of new deaths from the disease continued to tick downward slightly, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night.

The memo, which is circulated to the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on COVID-19 response, said 34 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while 10 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 12 others are in a downward trend.

North Carolina is in the red zone for cases, according to the report. The following three counties had the highest number of new cases over the last 3 weeks: Mecklenburg County, Wake County and Guilford County. These counties represent 17.6% of new cases in North Carolina.

73% of all counties in North Carolina have moderate or high levels of community transmission.

Cumberland County is in the orange zone. Wake County is in the yellow zone.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen gave an impassioned plea Tuesday for all citizens to re-up their commitment to wearing a facemask, washing their hands, and waiting more than six feet apart.

“We need to recommit to these actions. Right now, like much of the rest country and the world, our trends are moving in the wrong direction,” Cohen said

Cohen is scheduled to give a more in-depth analysis of the state’s COVID-19 metrics Thursday afternoon. ABC11 will bring that update to you live on the ABC11 mobile app and streaming devices.

Meanwhile, students are returning to class in many districts across the state.

Some parents are expressing concern over sending their children back to school as cases of COVID-19 start to increase again in North Carolina.

Although many families are sending students back, ABC11 spoke to a pair of Wake County families with children who have pre-existing conditions. Those families said they are being more cautious. When Pre-K through third graders return to class on Oct. 26, they said they don’t feel comfortable having their children go back to class.

TUESDAY
6:35 p.m.
As of Monday, Oct. 12, the Health Department reports 6,138 positive COVID-19 cases in Cumberland County. Of those positive cases, 540 remain active while 5,506 cases are considered recovered.

While reconciling reports for recovery data, Health Department officials found that eight deaths that occurred from May to September were not reflected on either the NCDHHS nor the Cumberland County dashboards. The eight cases were included in the positive test count.

The most recent update October 9 reported 82 deaths. The correct death toll in Cumberland County associated with COVID-19 is 94. The four most recent deaths were reported to the Health Department since the Friday update and all 12 of the additional deaths were residents older than 65.

The NCDHHS and Cumberland COVID-19 dashboards will be updated to reflect this corrected information.

6:33 p.m.
The UNC Charlotte Athletics Department announced a cluster of seven cases of COVID-19 involving student-athletes and staff with the men’s basketball team. The positive cases were discovered through self-reporting of symptoms by individuals in the Niner Health Check, the University’s contract tracing protocols and regular testing required by Conference USA.

The affected individuals are in isolation, and the University’s contact tracing team is notifying any affected members of the UNC Charlotte community to begin quarantine protocols. All practices and in-person meetings for the basketball team have been suspended until all remaining student-athletes and staff associated are cleared through subsequent testing.

Athletics will continue to test all student-athletes and staff, following established University, conference and NCAA safety protocols.

4:39 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 19 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 1,176 cases. There have been 22 COVID 19 related deaths or 1.87% of cases.

3:58 p.m.
The Sampson County Health Department reports 16 new cases, bringing the total to 2,492 positive cases. The county death toll remains at 28.
2:30 p.m.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen spoke Tuesday in an effort to re-energize North Carolinians and their use of personal safety measures that slow the spread of COVID-19.

Cohen warned that the state’s coronavirus metrics are headed in the wrong direction. She said she would get into specifics about the numbers Thursday.

“Our cases are up, our hospitalizations are up, and our early surveillance data is up.”

For now, she stressed that there was no one event or policy that could be blamed for the rise in COVID-19 cases. Instead, she said she thought that it was because more people were not following health guidelines such as the three Ws: wearing a mask, waiting more than 6 feet apart, washing hands thoroughly.

“We need to recommit to these actions. Right now, like much of the rest country and the world, our trends are moving in the wrong direction.”

Cohen was joined by Lynn Minges, President of North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Andy Ellen, President of North Carolina Retail Merchants Association.

Minges and Ellen emphasized the hard work restaurants and other businesses have done so far to help protect employees and customers. Both said it was important for businesses to stay vigilant and for customers to continue to follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“We can’t afford to go backward. We’re counting on you,” Minges said.

Cohen, Minges and Ellen all spoke about CountOnMeNC.org. That’s a website where businesses and patrons can pledge to do their part to keep their selves and their communities safe.

The site has a list of businesses that are going the extra mile to follow COVID-19 safety regulations.

2 p.m.
Durham Parks and Recreation announced that the Edison Johnson Aquatics Center and Campus Hills Pool are now open for lap swim by reservation only.

All patrons are required to complete a DPR Wellness Screening Survey and temperature check before entering the facility. While in the facility, patrons must practice social distancing and wear a face mask, except when swimming or showering. Patrons must refrain from interactions with other patrons and any prolonged conversation with staff.

The indoor pools will be open on Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will be closed on Sunday. Swimmers can reserve a 45-minute time slot on Monday-Friday from 9:15 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8: 15 a.m. – 4 p.m. and must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their reservation timeslot.

Patrons must reserve their lap time 24 hours in advance and up to 7 days before. Reservations can be made online.
12 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,734 more COVID-19 cases. According to the state dashboard, the 7-day trend line for the trajectory of new cases has been increasing through the month of October after dropping and stabilizing in September.

The state also reported 20,630 more completed tests, including 20,407 PCR tests and 223 antigen tests. As of Sunday, 7.1% of tests are positive, a sharp increase from the end of last week when the percentage of positive tests dipped closer to 5%.

Currently, there are 1,103 people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, marking the second day in a row that this metric remained above 1,100 for the first time since August. In the last 24 hours, 344 suspected COVID-19 patients were admitted to North Carolina hospitals.

43 more people have died from COVID-19. Since the end of March, 3,816 people have died from the virus in North Carolina.

10:45 a.m.
The Orange County Health Department is urging those in the community to get a flu shot as we enter flu season.

“Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death,” Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart said. “Flu vaccines are safe and effective. A flu shot provides protection against contracting the virus and, if you do catch the flu after being vaccinated, it has been shown to dramatically lessen the severity and duration of the illness.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for everyone 6 months and older.

TUESDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Wake County Public School System has released guidelines on students wearing masks for when they head back to the classrooms.

The district is urging parents to practice wearing masks with their children now so they’re ready to wear a mask at school. All WCPSS students will be required to wear masks while at school and on the bus. Schools will be able to help students with adjusting their mask during the day and give them short breaks outside during the day to take their mask off if needed.

As early as Oct. 26, Pre-K through third grade and special education students will be heading back to the classroom part-time in Wake County.

Cumberland County Schools are offering meal bundles to families, starting Tuesday. The district will keep providing daily meals to students not participating in these bundles.

Lee County schools will discuss a return to the classroom of all remaining students (grades K-1 started Plan B on Monday). Meanwhile, Wayne County Schools is launching a daily COVID-19 dashboard showing positive cases on campuses. The dashboard will be updated every day at 6 p.m.

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

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