Dr. Cohen praises North Carolina as COVID-19 'standout' among states in the region, citing FEMA report

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

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3:19 p.m.
The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners approved a modified Coronavirus Relief Fund that outlines the proposed use of $12.2 million allocated to the county by the General Assembly. The County submitted the revised plan to the N.C. Pandemic Recovery Office by the Sept. 15 deadline.

The legislation directed that at least 25% of the total amount of funding, or $3,055,096, go to municipalities. Using a per capita formula for the municipalities that completed the required application, the City of Fayetteville will receive $2.7 million; the Town of Hope Mills will be granted $202,163; and the Town of Spring Lake will receive $153,130. In a late submission, the Town of Stedman requested and will receive $2,050 to install a physical barrier.

All funding must be spent by Dec. 30 and monthly reports will be due to the state. The federal guidelines require that funds must be used for COVID-19 response. CRF money can be used for payroll expenses for "public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency."

Staff recommended that for reporting and accounting purposes, approximately $8.3 million of the funding be charged out to the County's payroll expenses for COVID-19 mitigation and response and for the payout of the federally mandated Family First Coronavirus Recovery Act leave (Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Medical Leave).

The redirected payroll funding will be used to address internal County government and community COVID needs. County departments have requested $4.8 million for technology, office and workspace modifications, protective barriers and other expenses related to COVID response.

For community funding, $250,000 was allocated for community-based organizations to set up virtual learning centers for school-age children. The county will be issuing a Request for Proposal and information on how to apply for the funding.

In addition, the commissioners approved allocating $500,000 to the 20 volunteer fire departments to purchase personal protective equipment, defibrillators, and disinfecting misting sprayers.

"On behalf of the fire service, we are very, very appreciative of this funding and it will do a lot of good things for our citizens," said Freddy Johnson, president of the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs' Association.

2:56 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 930 total positive COVID 19 cases, including five new ones.

There have been 17 COVID 19 related deaths countywide.

2:30 p.m.
North Carolina Health Secretary Mandy Cohen joined Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry on Tuesday afternoon for a COVID-19 update.

Cohen started with a quick rundown of the state's metrics, which had at least 50 more deaths added to the virus' total.

"(It's) a stark reminder that this virus continues to be dangerous and sometimes deadly," Cohen said.

She announced that a new vendor was joining the state. That vendor will help the state create 230 free COVID-19 testing events in 80 counties over the next two months.

Cohen said that last week's FEMA report showed North Carolina as having the lowest percent positive COVID-19 rate in the region. She said that was because of the state's evidence-based response on how to slow the spread of the virus.

"North Carolinians are wearing masks and practicing social distancing and it's helping our state standout from the rest of the South."

Cohen said she plans on doing a deep dive into the numbers and trends on Thursday. That's when she'll have a slightly better idea how the state's move into Phase 2.5 is going. However, she warned that it would not be a complete evaluation of Phase 2.5, because she would need another week or so of data to make a more complete evaluation.

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Cohen said that last week's FEMA report showed North Carolina as having the lowest percent positive COVID-19 rate in the region.



2:22 p.m.
The Moore County Health Department was notified of a new COVID-19 related death.

The man was older than 75 and died Sept. 8. There have been 23 deaths countywide.

In total, there have been 1,498 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Moore County to date.

12:21 p.m.
The Sampson County Health Department is reporting 17 new cases, bringing the total to 2,074 positive cases of COVID-19. The number of deaths has increased by one to a total of 25.

11:30 a.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,106 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Tuesday.

9,563 new tests were reported as completed and 916 people are currently hospitalized. That snaps the three-day streak of hospitalizations being under 900 in the state.

The percent positive test rate in the state is at 5 percent, a slight increase from Monday's 4.8 percent. The percentage has been around 5 percent in the last few days -- a number Dr. Cohen has identified as a goal for that metric.

Durham County is around 3.9 percent positive, Wake County is around 4.3 and Cumberland County is at 8.1 percent.

51 more deaths were reported in North Carolina on Monday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 3,111. You can see complete data via the state's COVID-19 response website.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. and Director of North Carolina Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry are scheduled to speak to the media at 2 p.m. today about the state's COVID-19 response.

8:15 a.m.
A county in North Carolina incorrectly told nearly 7,000 residents they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Charlotte Observer reports the messages were sent by text messages to more than 6,700 residents in Mecklenburg County on Friday. More than 500 people also received a county email with the notice. The county said Friday on Twitter the messages went out due to a technical glitch.

The county's manager told county commissioners on Monday they were sent through HealthSpace Data System, a company based in Canada. The county has been using the company's software to help with contact tracing efforts in the pandemic.

6 a.m.
Parents in Wake County may learn when their kids can return to the classroom on Tuesday.

Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore is expected to update the Board of Education with a plan to get back to in-person learning. Other Triangle districts like Durham Public Schools say they're committed to virtual learning for the first nine weeks while Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools are sticking with online classes through the entire semester.

Wake County's board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

WCPSS should get an update on plans for high school athletes to practice and play again during a 4 p.m. work session.

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Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center reports more than 29,000,000 global cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.

MONDAY
11 p.m.
Orange County Schools met Monday to talk about next steps, how they can try to move to Plan B and about the challenges of remote learning

Meanwhile in Durham, DPS is still going to be under Plan C for the first nine weeks. They will be presenting results from a Thursday survey from parents later this week.

Tuesday, Wake County Schools's superintendent will give an update at the board meeting on the COVID-19 scientific advisory.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announced a few weeks ago they would be operating remotely for the first semester and will look at it if things change.

ABC11's Josh Chapin spoke to parents awaiting answers who hope their children get back into a classroom but understand the challenges.

"My heart goes out to any kid who doesn't have a parent who can sit there close by or child with disability or anything like that it's gotta be really, really challenging," said April Washington, mom of Cameron Park Elementary student.

Wanda Hunter is the parent of three students and wants the county to stay virtual.

"I think the uncertainty with the virus and the numbers continuing to increase, I think virtual is the thing to do because we have to put our kids' health and safety and wellness at the forefront of everything," said Hunter.

6:15 p.m.

167,257 patients are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19 in North Carolina, an increase of 10,605 from last week.

Because NCDHHS does not track when specific patients recover from the disease, officials use an estimated recovery time of 14 days for non-hospitalized patients and 28 days for those in the hospital.

The number of recovered patients does not reflect the number of people who are currently infectious.

4:07 p.m.
Lee County confirmed a total of 1,533 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of 46 cases since last Wednesday.

There have been 13 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Lee County.

The rolling seven-day average for new cases in Lee County is six and the percent positive tests is 6.8%.

The Health Department will hold community testing events at 106 Hillcrest Drive every Tuesday in September from 9-11 a.m.by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call (984) 368-2112 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

3:26 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department is reporting 925 total positive COVID 19 cases, including five new cases since Friday.

There have been 17 COVID 19 related deaths in the county.

1:25 p.m.

The Sampson County Health Department is reporting 37 new cases since its last report on Thursday, bringing the total to 2,057 positive cases of the novel coronavirus. There have been 24 deaths attributed to COVID-19 countywide.

12:20 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Monday reported 845 new cases of COVID-19 in the state.

13,313 new tests were reported as completed and 895 people are currently hospitalized. That marks the third day in a row of hospitalizations under 900 in the state.

The percent positive in the state is at 4.8 percent and has been around 5 percent in the last few days -- a number Dr. Cohen has identified as a goal for that metric.

Durham County is around 4 percent positive, Wake County is around 4.8 and Cumberland County is at 8.3 percent.

8 more deaths were reported in North Carolina on Monday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 3,060.
MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Free COVID-19 drive-thru testing will return to the Sunnybrook building parking deck on Holston Lane behind WakeMed Hospital. You can go to the Wake County website to sign up for testing, which will happen from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m this week.

The Wake County Sheriff said the gun permit department will be working on a modified crew and schedule to process the hundreds of appointments in the next few days after a positive COVID-19 test was announced within the gun permit office.

The town of Wake Forest will offer limited access to community centers for the first time since March on Monday. Visitors must register online.

The state will announce how many people are presumed recovered from COVID-19 sometime Monday. The state announced nearly 1,200 new cases on Sunday.
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