Some North Carolina students return to class for the first time in a year

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

4:40 p.m.
Lee County health officials said 44 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last week. In total, there have been 5,549 cases and 73 county deaths since the pandemic began.

3:40 p.m.
Johnston County health officials are reporting a COVID-19 cluster at Cleveland Elementary School.

NCDHHS defines a cluster as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.

Johnston County school officials told ABC11 the impacted classroom moved to remote instruction following the first case and there are no plans to close the school.

12 p.m.
Monday's report from the NCDHHS included 1,337 newly-reported COVID-19 cases.

976 people were hospitalized and the daily percent positive rate was 5.2%, a slight decrease from Saturday's 5.4%.

18 more deaths were reported, totaling 11,709 since the start of the pandemic.

12.3 percent of the population of North Carolina is fully vaccinated. 19.5 percent of the population is partially vaccinated.

6:55 a.m.
NC Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen toured the state's only FEMA-run COVID-19 vaccination site on Monday.

That site is in Greensboro at the Four Seasons Town Centre off Interstate 40.

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Dr. Mandy Cohen gave a COVID-19 update from the state's largest mass vaccination site.



It's open seven days a week and can vaccinate 3,000 people every day--although appointments are still required to get vaccinated.

6:50 a.m.
Lunches will be one of the most different aspects of returning to class.

Students obviously won't be required to wear masks while eating lunch. However, that means other safety measures need to be in place to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

In Wake County, all lunches will be individually packaged and directly handed to each student. Students will not be able to serve themselves like they have in the past.

Moreover, all breakfast and lunches will be free to all students. The students will not need to show their student ID to receive their meal.

6:20 a.m.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. spoke to ABC11 Monday morning as students prepared to return to class for the first time in a year.

"It is an exciting day here in Cumberland County. We're so excited to have 29,000 of our students choosing in-person learning to start out this week," Connelly said.

He spoke briefly about the safety measures in place for students and faculty, saying that other than those precautious Monday is going to be just like any other first day of school.

Connelly also warned families, students and anyone on the roads Monday to be extra patient.

"Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. Everyone on the highway be watchful- we have 440 buses on the road this morning. So everyone be cautious and be safe."

MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES

Some students in Central North Carolina head back to their classrooms Monday for the first time in a year.

In Wake County, 4th- and 5th- graders are headed back to full-time in-person classes. They'll join kindergarten through 3rd-grade students who started back in-person a couple weeks ago.

Durham Public Schools is welcoming students back to the classrooms for the first time in a year. Classrooms are socially distant and everybody will be required to wear masks.

All elementary school students are included in the DPS return to school. However, they are returning to a mixture of in-person and virtual learning--as opposed to a full-time return to the classroom.

Some students in Cumberland County are also making their return to the classroom today.

Cumberland County, like Durham, is returning students to a Plan B schedule. This schedule brings one group of students into the classroom Monday and Tuesday and a second group into the classroom Thursday and Friday--with both groups working remotely on Wednesday.

SUNDAY
1:45 p.m
North Carolina health officials will not update the COVID-19 dashboard today. As of last weekend, the dashboard will only be updated on Monday though Saturday.

On Saturday, NCDHHS said a technical error on Friday will cause Monday's data to be elevated.

7:20 a.m.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 29,400,898 COVID-19 cases in the United States since the pandemic began in March 2020.

SATURDAY

8:30 p.m.
Duke University is demanding that their undergraduate students to stay-in-place for a week after witnessing a 'steady rise' in COVID-19 cases following recent off-campus fraternity-related events.

The order, which goes into effect at midnight, will not be relieved until 9 a.m. on Sunday, March 21.

Officials said over the past week, more than 180 students had to go into isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 while another 200 students are in quarantine after being exposed to the virus.

"This is by far the largest one-week number of positive tests and quarantines since the start of the pandemic," Duke wrote in a statement.

An update will be provided on Thursday, March 18.

Students who are on-campus are asked to remain in their dorm or apartment rooms at all times except for 'essential activities.' A curfew is also in place for all undergraduate students by 9 p.m.

As for off-campus students, they are asked not to come to campus for any purpose other than a few exceptions regarding student health.

For full details on the extent of the stay-in-place order, check here.

3:45 p.m.
A North Carolina inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19, prison officials said Saturday.

The Franklin Correctional Center offender was in his 60s, pre-existing medical conditions, tested positive for the virus on Feb. 19 and was hospitalized on Feb. 22.

The man died on March 12.

"We are continuing our extensive efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons. The health and safety of the staff and the offender population is our top priority," said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. "I urge the staff and offenders to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. It's important."

1:45 p.m.
Urban Ministries was able to administer 100-second doses of the Moderna vaccine Saturday.

"It's gonna be our way, our path back to getting things closer to normal. It may take a long time to do that, but any steps we can take back to normal, this is definitely something that everyone should consider," said Elizabeth A. Campbell, medical director of the Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic

That advice is especially to anyone hesitant after hearing about side effects, including headaches, chills and temporary discomfort.

"We're learning more and more about the side effects of having severe coronavirus. And the side effects pale in comparison to having a long term, severe coronavirus," said Campbell.

Organizers are not done yet, knowing more will roll up their sleeves if the vaccine is available.

"So next week, on Thursday the 18th of March we're starting to register more of our patients for a second series of the Moderna shot," said Campbell.

12:20 p.m.
North Carolina health officials said technical issues are causing lower COVID-19 cases and test counts.

Saturday, NCDHHS said 892 new COVID-19 cases were reported.

Throughout North Carolina, 28 more people have died from the virus, bringing the total to 11,691.

Nine fewer COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized, bringing the total to 1,028 statewide.

The state reported a 5.4% positive test rate.

Health officials said data on March 15 will be higher as it incorporates case and test data that would have been reported today.

7:25 a.m.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, there have been 29,347,849 COVID-19 cases in the United States since March 2020.
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