Duke University announces new COVID-19 protocols after 364 COVID-19 cases reported in 1 week

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina
Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

11 p.m.

Amid rising COVID cases among children, Wake County father Anoop Kumar said he is considering homeschooling for his 7-year-old if virus spread does not slow down in the state.

"If homeschooling is an option, I will do that if it crosses that point," Kumar said. "That it is very dangerous, to expose my kid to sending him to the school. I will do anything I have to for keeping my kid safe."

Kumar said he emailed school administration but they did not address offering any long-term or short-term solutions to what he asked.

"They should be considerate of the kids and the kids should be given more options," Kumar said. "Radical problems would require radical solutions."

9:15 p.m.

Starting Sept. 1, Shooters Saloon in Durham will be closed amid the local rise in COVID-19 cases.

7:51 p.m.

An inmate at FMC Butner has died from COVID-19 complications, the Department of Justice said.

The man, who was 42 years old, tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 4 at Butner. After he complained of chest and abdominal pain, he was transferred to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

He died on Aug. 22. The man had long-term, existing medical conditions that increase the chance of developing more severe illness from the coronavirus.

He had been in custody at FMC Butner since December 13, 2019.

4:30 p.m.

Wake County Public Health has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Athens Drive Magnet High School on the football team. A "cluster" is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more linked cases in the same facility within 14 days.

The individuals in the cluster have been identified and have been directed to isolate or quarantine, the county said.

4:09 p.m.

Halifax County Health Department said it will offer COVID-19 vaccines weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All COVID 19 vaccines are available. Please contact the health department at (252) 583-5021 to schedule an appointment.

2:45 p.m.

Union Special bakery in Raleigh is closed until at least Tuesday after a worker tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

"We are closed tomorrow to get our staff tested and will reopen Tuesday 8/31 if and only if we have negative tests from our staff," a post on Instagram said.

The shop will continue to require masks.

"We urge everyone that is eligible and unvaccinated to go get a shot," the post said. "The sooner we all get on the same page - that one where we love each other as we love ourselves - the sooner we can relax a bit and enjoy working with and for our community again. Please."

2:30 p.m.

Duke University announced new COVID-19 protocols on Monday due to a "surge" in cases last week.

The new protocols were announced in an email to students.

The email said that last week alone, 304 undergraduates, 45 graduate students and 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The week prior, 95 students and 18 faculty tested positive.

All but eight of the people were vaccinated, the university said, and the vast majority were asymptomatic.

"Nonetheless, this surge is placing significant stress on the people, systems and facilities" that are dedicated to keeping the community safe, the email said.

For that reason, the university announced the following protocols:

  • Masks will now be required on the Duke Campus in all indoor and outdoor locations, unless you are exercising alone, eating or drinking or otherwise not around others
  • Indoor group seating at Duke Dining facilities will be temporarily suspended
  • Faculty teaching undergraduate courses have the option to teach remotely for the next two weeks if they prefer

2 p.m.

More than 19,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina over the weekend and on Monday.

7,594 were reported Saturday, 6,844 on Sunday and 4,569 on Monday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is 14.5 percent. That's the highest percent positive reported in August.

There are 3,509 people currently hospitalized in North Carolina with COVID-19.

That's down slightly from the peak last week of 3,666.

There are currently 917 adult ICU COVID-19 patients. The state saw its record high during the pandemic last week with 922.

347 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted in the last 24 hours.

93 more deaths were reported over the weekend.

North Carolina currently has the highest level of hospitalized and ventilated COVID-19 inpatients it has seen since the state started tracking that number in June.

595 inpatients are hospitalized and on a ventilator.

9:45 a.m.

North Carolina's $100 Summer Card program will end Tuesday. NCDHHS has been offering $100 Summer Cards at select locations in various counties across the state. Cards were distributed to offset the time and transportation costs of getting vaccinated.

Through Tuesday, anyone 18 and older who gets their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will receive a $100 card after vaccination. Those who drive others will receive a $25 Summer Card each time they drive someone to an appointment at the completion of the vaccination.

Previously the Summer Card program provided $25 cards. Since increasing the amount from $25 to $100 on Aug. 4, NCDHHS said several vaccine providers saw a noticeable increase in demand, and many ran out of their card allotments in a single day. Providers also saw increases of up to 98% in the number of Summer Card recipients compared to the prior week.

9:30 a.m.

Effective October 1, 2021, the Town of Morrisville announced that town employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or undergo weekly testing. All Town volunteers and contract employees will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate in programming.

"The highly contagious Delta variant has caused serious concerns throughout our entire region and nation," said Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley. "We must continue to take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of this virus, including encouraging vaccinations and continuing to wear face coverings."

9:15 a.m.

Discover Durham, in partnership with the Durham Convention Center and the Durham Workforce Development Board, will host an in-person hospitality job fair on Tuesday, August 31 from 2-5 p.m. at the convention center for Durham county hotels, restaurants, attractions, and independent retailers to address critical post-pandemic needs of the hospitality sector.

Roles range from management to entry-level positions, and no experience is required to attend.

More than 40 employers will be in attendance on August 31 for the job fair, offering a variety of full- and part-time positions.

More information here.

9 a.m.

The European Union is expected to recommend on Monday that member states reinstate COVID-related travel restrictions and halt nonessential travel from the United States and five other countries, a diplomatic source told CNN on Monday.

The EU would reestablish coronavirus travel restrictions such as quarantine and testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers from those countries, according to the source.

Other countries to be removed from the safe travel list would be Kosovo, Israel, Montenegro, Lebanon and North Macedonia, the diplomat said.

7 a.m.

New COVID-19 rules are now in place for the Wake County Public School System.

All schools that experience a COVID-19 cluster (two or more confirmed cases with a potential connection) will be required to monitor and report face-covering compliance.

WCPSS said this focus on proper face mask-wearing will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

WATCH: Wake County high school football games postponed because of COVID-19 cluster on teams

Sanderson High School's game was also postponed, according to the school's athletic director.

These changes come as COVID-19 numbers worsen in North Carolina and across the country. They also come less than a week after WCPSS reported 140 confirmed cases in just two days.

At lunch, schools will be required to ensure students have face coverings on properly over the nose, mouth, and under the chin while getting food and only remove face coverings while eating.


5:30 p.m.

Duke University has revised its COVID-19 protocol so that it will now require all faculty and staff to be vaccinated to remain employed come October.

The university said Sunday that, regardless of location, all faculty and staff members will be required to show documentation of their COVID-19 vaccine by 10 a.m. on the first of October.

Despite the requirement, university faculty and staff can still apply for medical or religious exemptions; however, they will still be subject to daily symptom monitoring, weekly surveillance testing and mask-wearing.

According to Duke, more than 91% of its university employees are vaccinated.

Should a member not be vaccinated come October 1 the following will happen:

  • Individuals will be issued a Final Written Warning and placed on administrative leave. Accrued vacation or discretionary holiday time may be used if available; otherwise, the leave will be unpaid.
  • They will have seven days to receive either the one-dose J&J vaccine, or the first dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which has now been granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • If an individual does not receive either the J&J or the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna within seven days after the Oct. 1 deadline, they will be terminated at the end of that seven-day period.
  • Those completing the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will have up to six weeks to provide documentation that they received the required second dose. If the second dose is not administered within the six-week period, the individual will be terminated.

Those who do not comply will not be eligible to be rehired by Duke in the future.


10 a.m.

Duke Health is hosting a vaccination clinic for ages 12 and up along with a school supply giveaway.

It's happening at New Bethel Baptist Church, 2508 Crest Street in Durham, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

9:30 a.m.

Durham Public Schools announced a special meeting will take place Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. At the meeting, the board will hear COVID safety procedure updates from public health advisors.


2:40 p.m.

Iconic rock band KISS has postponed its show Saturday night in Raleigh. The group announced that lead singer Paul Stanley has tested positive for COVID-19.

The End of the Road World Tour date at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek does not have a make-up date.

KISS postponed its Raleigh concert after singer Paul Stanley got COVID-19.

The music venue said the concert is being rescheduled. All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new date once announced.

KISS said everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, is fully vaccinated.

2:35 p.m.

There will be a pop-up vaccine clinic from 6 to 9 p.m. at Last Fridays in Hillsborough.

Also, in addition to a Monday-Saturday clinic at the Whitted Human Services Center on Tryon Street in Hillsborough, a number of pop-up vaccine clinics are planned during the next two weeks, including the one at Last Fridays.

12:50 p.m.

WakeMed announced it has implemented temporary changes to its visitation policy "in the face of the highly contagious delta variant and overall soaring patient volumes."

"Our capacity management team recognizes the challenges that additional visitors pose to staff and the overall environment - while also working to balance that with providing a patient-centered care environment," a spokesperson said in a statement.

At noon, a revised visitation policy went into effect:

  • Adult inpatients can have up to two visitors in a 24-hour period.
  • Pediatric outpatient and procedural patients can have two support persons. Pediatric inpatients can still have up to four support persons - two at a time at the bedside - in 24 hours.

12:20 p.m.

8,105 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Friday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is 12.8%.

3,651 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

That's up significantly from Thursday.

912 adults are in the ICU with COVID-19. That's the highest number the state has seen in the pandemic.

394 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals in the last 24 hours.

47 more deaths were reported on Friday.

12:15 p.m.

University of North Carolina Wilmington said some classes "may temporarily be modified to an alternate format/modality through Sept. 17, 2021" due to "an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 test results."

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. James Winebrake sent an email to students Friday morning with the information.

"If your course modality is approved to change, your faculty will communicate that information to you directly," the email said.

Most Student Affairs social programs, events and activities that do not have a direct academic component will also be moved to a virtual format until Sept. 17.

"We also urge all unvaccinated students to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Only through widespread vaccination will we be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19," the email said.

12:10 p.m.

Beginning Wednesday, the Durham County Department of Public Health will adjust its weekly vaccination schedule to add Thursday clinic hours for all people 12 and older, and it will offer third doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines each day for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

New clinic hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This clinic will remain closed Fridays-Sundays. This will affect only the DCoDPH vaccination clinic located at 414 E. Main St., Durham, NC 27701. Walk-ins and scheduled appointments will be offered for all vaccine doses. To schedule an appointment, call 919-560-9217.

12 p.m.

Unvaccinated people in North Carolina were 15.4 times, or 1,540 percent, more likely to die from COVID-19 during the four-week period ending Aug. 21, 2021. This comes as the state hit a pandemic high on Aug. 26 with 912 adults in the ICU with COVID-19. The number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators also reached a record high at 574.

During the week ending Aug. 21, 2021, unvaccinated people were also 4.4 times, or 440 percent, more likely to catch COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to NCDHHS.

The difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated teens was even greater during the week ending Aug. 21, 2021, with unvaccinated people aged 12 to 17 being 6.3 times, or 630 percent, more likely to get COVID-19 than vaccinated people in the same age group.

North Carolina has been experiencing the fastest acceleration in cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic started, health officials say.

"The vast majority of people dying with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. If you are not vaccinated please don't wait until it is too late," Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "The authorized and approved vaccines have been through rigorous clinical trials and met scientific standards. Millions of North Carolinians have been safely vaccinated."

There were 187 deaths among unvaccinated persons younger than 65, compared with eight deaths among vaccinated persons younger than 65 during the four-week time period. There were 215 deaths among unvaccinated persons older than 65, compared with 67 deaths among vaccinated persons older than 65.

9:05 a.m.

Fort Bragg officials said Survivor Outreach Services received enough boot donations to honor the legacy of fallen service members since Sept. 11, 2001.

Unfortunately, the memorial boot display and the "Run, Honor, Remember" 5k have been postponed at Fort Bragg in an effort to limit transmission of COVID-19.