Crowds return to downtown Raleigh restaurants, bars as some COVID-19 restrictions expire in North Carolina

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

SUNDAY

4 p.m.
Lee County will expand COVID-19 vaccine registration to everyone starting Monday.

At this time, the Lee County Health Department is only administering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

To register for a vaccine, people are asked to contact the Lee County Health Department at (919) 842-5744 or to register in Spanish, (919) 718-4640 option 8. The line will be open MOnday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2:40 p.m.
Children may not need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for parents to send them to camps or playgrounds this summer, the nation's top infectious disease expert told CBS News on Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has previously said that elementary school-aged kids won't likely be vaccinated until the first quarter of 2022, as vaccine developers continued to study their effects in children.

12:20 p.m.
In a statement sent to Duke students on Saturday, school officials said all of East Campus Union, including the Marketplace and Trinity Cafe will be closed until further notice due to several COVID-19 cases in dining staff.

Duke said other dining options will be made available to students. Starting Monday, hot, catered meals will be prepared in a separate kitchen and available for pick-up. Rotating food trucks will also be an option for dinner each night in front of the East Campus Union.

7:40 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 30,219,071 COVID-19 cases throughout the United States since the pandemic began.

SATURDAY

6 p.m.
Bars and restaurants in downtown Raleigh saw more crowds as some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted Friday evening.

The alcohol curfew has been eliminated as of Friday night and restaurants can operate indoors up to 75% capacity.

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Raleigh restaurants and bars saw more crowds Saturday as some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted as of Friday.



Fauci lays out scenario for when experts could loosen face mask recommendations; US COVID cases still way too high

12:45 p.m.
As of Friday, March 26, the NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard data will be only be updated Monday through Fridays.

7:20 a.m.
As of Saturday morning, Johns Hopkins University is reporting 30,160,408 COVID-19 cases in the United States since the pandemic started.

FRIDAY

8:19 p.m.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen to 30,151,278 according to latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University. There have been 548,052 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the nation.

Worldwide, the case count stands at 125,919,413 with 2,765,942 recorded.
5:20 p.m.
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health continues to hold free COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Crown Expo Center for eligible individuals in Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. People in Group 5 will be able to begin to schedule appointments next week.

The health department said one additional death was recorded since March 19, bringing the county total to 290 deaths. There have been 25,555 cases reported since the onset of the pandemic.

Cumberland County's COVID-19 positive test rate is at 6.7%.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 15.1% of Cumberland County's population is at least partially vaccinated and 10.8% is fully vaccinated.

5:11 p.m.
The Chatham County Public Health Department said that as of Thursday, 28.3% of Chatham County residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 19.6% of county residents were fully vaccinated.

StarMed Healthcare continues to conduct mass vaccination clinics at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. The next event will be held Monday, March and then April 2. To be contacted when appointments are available, complete the CCPHD's Vaccine Interest Tool or call (919) 545-8323 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"Unlike the early days of vaccine distribution, supply in Chatham County and around the state is growing and more appointments are becoming available from a variety of providers. If you are eligible but have not yet moved forward with getting a COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time. If you are an adult who is not yet eligible, you will be on April 7," said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek.

5:07 p.m.

Orange County reports 131 cases in the past seven days for a total of 8,006 cases, There have been 100 deaths in Orange County since the start of the pandemic.

4:53 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 26 new cases for a total of 5,148 positive COVID 19 cases. In all, 103 people have died of COVID-19 related illness countywide.

4:07 p.m.
The Lee County Government Health Department will expand vaccine registration to include people in Group 5 on Monday.

To register for the COVID-19 vaccine with the Lee County Health Department, call (919) 842-5744 or to register in Spanish, (919) 718-4640 option 8. Calls will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. You can also fill out an online form

3:56 p.m.
Johnston County Public Schools held a second-dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Johnston County Public Schools staff members Friday.

The drive-through second-dose clinic at North Johnston High School was a coordinated effort between JCPS, the Johnston County Public Health Department, Johnston County Emergency Services, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office, and the National Guard.

The district had more than 1,800 employees registered for the second-dose vaccination event, which ran from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staffers got the The Moderna vaccine.

"I am so looking forward to getting back to normal," said Jordan Berube, a teacher at McGee's Crossroads Elementary school. "I'm looking forward to being able to hug my first-grade babies and see their smiles soon."

Staff members received their first dose at a similar, large-scale vaccination clinic on Feb. 24. Thanks to the coordinated effort, an average of 300 educators were vaccinated every hour.

"I was simply amazed at the participation we had from our staff today," said JCPS Area Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Pearce, who helped plan the vaccination event. "Everyone came in with a smile on their face, were prepared for the event, and followed instructions perfectly. Their participation made for a smooth event for all."

3:40 p.m.
The Johnston County Health Department has scheduled a first-dose drive-thru clinic for April 1 from 8 a.m. until supplies last at West Johnston High School, 5935 Raleigh Road in Benson.

The Health Department will be administering the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older. People younger than 18 need an adult present to receive the vaccine. Patients will need a second dose between 21 and 42 days after the first dose.

Vaccinations will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until the capacity of 2,000 doses has been reached.

3:30 p.m.
The University of North Carolina System will receive 20,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to distribute next week as institutions prepare to vaccinate students.
Earlier this week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that all adults will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 7. People who live in congregate settings, such as students in dormitories, will be eligible March 31.

Since February, several UNC campuses have operated vaccine clinics to serve their communities. As of Thursday, more than 27,000 vaccinations had been administered at the 12 clinics now running at UNC institutions.

3 p.m.
Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Tower Nursing and Rehab, 3609 Bond St. in Raleigh.

This is the second outbreak at this facility. The previous outbreak occurred in June.

1:48 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department is taking first-dose appointments by online registration for groups 1-5 -- essentially anyone 18 and older.
Appointments are preferred however, walk-ups will be accepted.

12:45 p.m.
NCDHHS on Friday reported 2,154 new COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. 933 people are hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.

103 confirmed patients were admitted to hospitals in the last 24 hours.

The percent of positive tests is at 4.3 percent.

15.7 percent of the population in North Carolina is vaccinated. More than 3.7 million doses have been administered by North Carolina providers.

12 p.m.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says scientists are trying to answer the two most pressing questions for millions of Americans already fully vaccinated against COVID-19: Can they become infected without showing any symptoms, and if so, can they transmit the coronavirus to someone else?

Fauci said at the White House coronavirus briefing Friday that a large trial is under way involving 12,000 college students at more than 20 universities.

"This is a question of extreme importance," he said. "This will help inform science-based decisions about mask use and about social distancing post-vaccination."

Half the students will get the two-dose Moderna shot and the other half will initially serve as a control group, while getting the same vaccine four months later.

All the students will keep an electronic diary, swab their noses daily and provide occasional blood samples. They'll also provide the names of close contacts. Fauci says it may take about five months to get some answers.

11:30 a.m.
North Carolina's unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month in February, the state Commerce Department said on Friday, as the state economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 5.7%, compared to 5.9% in January. The state unemployment rate spiked at 13.5% last spring as Gov. Roy Cooper and governors nationwide mandated severe business restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. rate in February was 6.2%. In February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold nationally, the state rate was under 4%.

The number of employed workers last month rose by 4,800 compared to January, or to nearly 4.75 million, according to department data. The number of unemployed people dropped by more than 10,900 to about 286,800.

Industry categories seeing the most month-over-month employment increases were in business and professional services as well as in trade, transportation and utilities, according to department figures.
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