North Carolina sees 62% increase in K-12 school COVID-19 clusters

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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.

Q&A: Should COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory for children to go to school?

Dr. Alexa Mieses-Malchuk talks about the recent spread of COVID-19 -- especially with respect to children.

3:45 p.m.

NCDHHS released its weekly cluster report on Tuesday. It showed that there were 38 clusters in childcare settings and 73 in K-12 schools. That's a 3% increase from last week in childcare settings and a 62% increase in school settings.

2:35 p.m.

Wake Tech is teaming with Activate Good, Wake County, Raleigh-Apex NAACP, Raleigh Village East, and Deiter Mediation for a pop-up walk-in vaccine clinic from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.Wednesday at the college's Beltline Education Center.

Anyone who gets the first or second dose of the vaccine at the event will get a cash prize and be entered into a drawing for AirPods. Anyone who brings someone to get the vaccine will also get a cash prize.

The event also aims to raise awareness about employment opportunities. A job board will be on-site for attendees to learn about job openings in the area.

First and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna, as well as the single dose of Johnson & Johnson, will be administered.

The shot is free with or without insurance. However, if you have insurance, make sure to bring your insurance card.

Wake Tech's Beltline Education Center is located at 3200 Bush St. in Raleigh.

1 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper visited a drive-thru vaccine clinic hosted by the Nash County Health Department to encourage North Carolinians to get their shot.

There he announced that he will soon be signing an executive order to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which the CDC says can help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.

The treatment can "decrease the severity of the disease and prevent people from being in the hospital," NCDHHS Dr. Betsey Tilson said at the event.

Still, Tilson said the vaccine is preferred.

"It's great to see North Carolinians get their doses of this lifesaving shot, and even better to see those who are immunocompromised get an additional shot for further protection," Cooper said. "The more people we get vaccinated, the sooner we can turn the final corner on this pandemic."

On Friday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released new data showing that unvaccinated people were 15.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 during the four-week period ending August 21, 2021.

12:15 p.m.

The Chatham County Public Health Department said the county recently saw its first deaths due to COVID-19 since May.

Since early July, nearly a quarter of COVID-19 cases in Chatham County have been among children under age 18.

The county said it implores all residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a mask in public places to protect themselves and their community against the deadly virus.

11:45 a.m.

5,351 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is at 14.6 percent.

3,612 people are currently hospitalized in the state with COVID-19. That's up from 3,550 on Monday.

There are 941 adult COVID-19 ICU patients.

336 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into North Carolina hospitals in the last 24 hours.

56 additional deaths were reported on Tuesday.

11 a.m.

University of North Carolina identified COVID-19 clusters in three different campus dorms.

The university said it started an early testing process last week targeting the residence halls where multiple COVID cases had been reported.

That testing has resulted in the clusters--which are defined as at least five cases of illness within a 14-day period that have a plausible link.

UNC said the clusters are in the following locations:

  • Ehringhaus, 3rd floor
  • Hinton James, 7th and 8th floors
  • Parker, 3rd floor

All of the individuals in these clusters have been notified and are isolating. The university said it is performing ongoing contact tracing for each case.


Today is the last day people can get $100 by receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been offering $100 gift cards for the last few weeks.

Since upping the gift card amount from $25 to $100, the state said providers saw a 98 percent increase in the number of people who signed up to get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

However, it's important to note that the increase came as the Delta variant began raging across the country. So it's unclear what ultimately pushed unvaccinated people to roll up their sleeves.

According to NCDHHS, 65 percent of eligible North Carolinians are partially vaccinated; 60 percent are fully vaccinated.

Moreover, a week into the 2021-2022 school year Durham Public Schools is set to get an update from public health advisors about how COVID-19 safety protocols are holding up so far.

That comes just a day after Wake County Public School System intensified its own COVID-19 protocols.

DPS leaders are set to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Stay with ABC11 for updates.


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 the 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.

The owners said in an Instagram post that the decision was made because the virus is so easily transmitted from person to person.

The bar will be closed until further notice.

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 illnesses 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 during 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.