North Carolina health department now says students don't have to wear masks outside at recess

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

3:25 p.m.
The Johnston County Public Health Department has scheduled the following first and second dose clinics:
  • May 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Johnston County Public Health Department
  • May 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Johnston County Public Health Department
  • May 12 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Johnston County Public Health Department
  • May 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Johnston County Public Health Department


The COVID-19 vaccine is free. The Health Department will Moderna (age 18+), Pfizer (age 16 +) and Johnson & Johnson (age 18+) vaccines.

Vaccinations will be administered on an appointment or walk-in basis while supplies last.

3:13 p.m.
In Chatham County, 34,350 residents have received at least one vaccine dose, accounting for 46.1% of the county's population. Overall, 40.1% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Chatham County Public Health Department is offering first- and second-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at its Siler City clinic (1000 S. 10th Ave.) on Fridays beginning May 7. To make an appointment, call (919) 742-5641. Walk-ins will also be welcome.

StarMed Healthcare will begin providing Pfizer vaccinations at the Goldston Town Hall (40 Coral Ave. #A) from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 12, with clinics also occurring on May 19 and May 26. Second-dose appointments will follow three weeks later.

StarMed will continue to operate COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. These StarMed clinics offer Pfizer first doses at the Ag Center on Fridays and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

"We are grateful to the Town of Goldston and StarMed for working with us to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to southwest Chatham," said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. "We have worked hard to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines across the Chatham community and hope this new option will make it even easier for Chatham's residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19."

To register, visit starmed.care or call (980) 445-9818. Walk-ins are also accepted.

1:20 p.m.

NCDHHS announced that now more than 50% of adults 18 and older in the state have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 43% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

"This is as significant milestone toward our goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and bringing summer back to North Carolina," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. "I hope you will join the more than 4 million people who have taken their shot and help put this pandemic behind us."

North Carolina has administered more than 7.4 million vaccines so far.

More than 74% of the population over the age of 65 is fully vaccinated.

1:08 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports seven new cases for a total of 5,552 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been 110 deaths in the county.

12:55 p.m.

North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,798 new COVID-19 cases. The state is reporting a 4.4% positive test rate.

There are currently 1,031 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the state.

Sadly, 12,738 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

10 a.m.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 498,000, the lowest point since the viral pandemic struck 14 months ago and a sign of the job market's growing strength as businesses reopen and consumers step up spending.

Applications declined 92,000 from a revised 590,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims - a rough measure of the pace of layoffs - has declined significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January as employers have ramped up hiring. The pace of applications is still well above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak tore through the economy in March of last year.

THURSDAY MORNING STORYLINES

NCDHHS has made some alterations to its guidance when it comes to masking on school property.

Under the current mandate, North Carolinians are not required to wear a mask outdoors. And now, the Strong Schools NC tool kit from the health department has wording that reflects that guidance.

Face coverings are now only required indoors. Face coverings are not required when: students are outside for recess, a teacher holds class outdoors, students are participating in an outdoor P.E. class, etc.

Students are still recommended to where a mask outside when they are not fully vaccinated and they cannot maintain at least 6ft social distancing from others.

Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19's toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday.

But they also warn that a "substantial increase" in hospitalizations and deaths is possible if unvaccinated people do not follow basic precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.

Governor Roy Cooper's office on Wednesday said his Executive Order trumps the federal ruling, stating the state moratorium on evictions will remain in effect until the end on June 30.

The current federal eviction moratorium was scheduled to end on June 30. It is unclear what will happen now. The Justice Department is appealing a similar ruling in Texas.

11 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Broadway theaters can reopen Sept. 14. Many Broadway productions are scrambling to resume ticket sales in the coming days to welcome theater-goers this fall after city and state leaders have green-lit a reopening of the Great White Way at full capacity.

Broadway theaters will be allowed to decide their own entry requirements, like whether people must prove they've been vaccinated to attend a show.

Selling tickets will allow theaters to gauge interest before stages open, said Robert Mujica, Cuomo's budget director. The Broadway that reopens will look different, with "Frozen" and "Mean Girls" deciding not to restart.

10 p.m.
The U.S. departments of health and housing have launched a joint project to provide coronavirus vaccines to the homeless and people living in low-income neighborhoods and subsidized housing.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge made the announcement on Wednesday during a visit to Community of Hope. It's a service organization in an area of the nation's capital that's had high rates of coronavirus and relatively low rates of vaccination. The organization runs community health centers while also working to end homelessness among families.

"I think it is past time that this country understands that its government does care about them," Fudge said. "We have gotten the low-hanging fruit - the people who really want the vaccines -now we have to go and do the next step."

Becerra says the Biden administration is trying various communication strategies. Those include directly reaching people who lack internet access and enlisting ministers, community leaders and sports figures as vaccination advocates.

8 p.m.
President Joe Biden has met his goal of having most elementary and middle schools open for full, in-person learning in his first 100 days.

The Education Department has released survey data finding that 54% of public schools below high school offered full-time classroom learning in March. But even with that milestone, most students continued to learn at least partly away from school.

The survey found that almost 4 in 10 students continued to take all classes remotely, and 2 in 10 were split between classroom and remote learning. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona applauded the progress but also raised concerns about racial disparities.

4:54 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports just six new cases for a total of 5,545 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been 110 deaths -- 1.98% of cases.

4:40 p.m.
The Lee County Government Health Department has revised itsMay drive-thru vaccination clinic schedule to add two second-dose clinics from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on May 18 and May 25. The added clinics will take place at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.

People scheduled to receive the Pfizer or Moderna second-dose vaccine on May 18 or 25 are instructed to attend the clinics at the Civic Center and do not need to register or make an appointment. Clinic participants are reminded to bring their vaccination record card to the clinic.

3 p.m.
President Biden wants 70% of Americans vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine by Independence Day, and at least 56% of adults can confirm that status today. Now, with Canada approving a vaccine that's safe for children, local parents want to protect the youngest members of their families as well.

ABC11 turned to Dr. Charlene Wong, a Duke Health pediatrician and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service's chief COVID officer, for advice parents and caregivers can use as the focus shifts to vaccines for teens.

"One of the wonderful things that we now know is that for teens 12 and up the vaccine just works incredibly well," said Dr. Wang. "To prevent the most serious consequences of COVID right to while folks are hospitalized, folks dying from COVID-19. For these teams, it'll be really important that they also are vaccinated, so that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and make sure that we continue on this good trend that we're on in North Carolina with our trends and counseling now."

"In fact, I will say the teens that I have talked to are also very excited to get the vaccine. They want to be able to hang out with their friends, they want to be able to go return back to sports without having to wear masks, not having to get tested not being quarantined, if someone in, You know the drama club, you know, has COVID-19 of somewhere in the school has COVID-19, going into summer. So many benefits that will also very directly impact teens, and then I'm also getting from teens, they want to do their part," she said. "They want to do their part in protecting not just themselves but their loved ones and their communities, because they know that they are still on list of getting it either, they don't get particularly sick, but we do have some teams who have gotten pretty sick, but they know that they might spread it to other people. I've had some patients who speak about their younger siblings who still aren't going to have had the chance to get the vaccine, and they want to do their part to make sure they're protecting the younger siblings."

But what about teens who think the shot may hurt?

"I don't think it's one of the shots that's particularly painful when compared to other shots and again, teens do have a lot of shots, some of which are known to be a little bit more painful when you're actually having a shot," she said.
She has this advice for parents and teens concerned about possible side effects:

"It can be common to have some temporary reactions, maybe a sore arm, you're a little tired or achy for a day or two. And I think you know the best thing that parents can do is to make sure that their teens know that that's a possibility and that actually, that's a good sign, it's a sign that the vaccine is working, that it's giving your body the protection that it needs so that if you ever run into a COVID virus out in the community, your body will already know how to fight it off," she said.

Here's the doctor's bottom line for parents, after our conversation. Talk with your children when the vaccines are cleared for their age group, before they go for their shots. And if you have any questions or concerns, consult a health care professional at a clinic, or your family doctor.

2:48 p.m.
The National Football League announced that it is providing 50 free tickets to Super Bowl LVI in February 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The Super Bowl promotion includes a chance to win a pair of Super Bowl tickets for fans who share their story on why they got vaccinated or will soon get vaccinated.

Details on how to win the Super Bowl tickets will be announced Saturday night during Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World show. The global event brings together artists, entertainers and world leaders, including President Biden, to support vaccine equity. The special will broadcast nationally beginning at 8 p.m. ET across multiple platforms, including ABC

More than 3 million vaccinations have been administered at 21 NFL stadiums and facilities since January.

In addition, the NFL will also offer a 25 percent discount on purchases made at NFLShop.com for vaccinated fans later this year.

12:30 p.m.
North Carolina is reporting 1,468 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

Throughout North Carolina, 12,721 people have died from the virus. There were 21 more deaths reported Wednesday.

The state is reporting a 5.6% positive test rate.

Throughout the state, 1,000 COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized. That is down 50 from Tuesday.

Nearly 50% of adult North Carolinians have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 42.5% of adults in North Carolina are now fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS.

11:52 a.m
The Halifax County Health Department will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone ages 16 years and older by online registration on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Halifax Community College, 100 College Drive in Weldon, Building 700.

Please use the main entrance to the college campus. Please note that persons younger than 18 will require parental consent to receive the vaccine. Appointments are preferred however, walk-ups are accepted.

To schedule a first dose appointment, click here.

The Health Department, which is at 19 N. Dobbs St., in Halifax, is also offering the Moderna vaccine every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment for this COVID-19 vaccination, please call (252) 583-5021.

11:45 a.m.
The Durham County Department of Public Health is holding walk-in COVID-19 vaccination events at a local Dollar General store and CAARE: The Healing Center in Durham.

The events are free and no ID is required.

The Dollar General event is at the 101 Ganyard Farm Way location Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. It will be outside in the parking lot and Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be offered.

The CAARE: The Healing Center event at 214 Broadway Street is Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. That event will be inside and Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be offered.

11:15 a.m.
If the FDA grants emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12--which the agency is expected to do in the coming days or weeks--nearly 17 million teens will become eligible for the vaccine.

But what should parents know about the vaccine and how it works on children?

Dr. Charlene Wong, a pediatrician at Duke Health, said the COVID-19 vaccine is not a particularly painful shot.

"I don't think it's one of the shots that's particularly painful when compared to other shots and again, teens do have a lot of shots, some of which are known to be a little bit more painful when you're actually having a shot," Wong said.

What about the side effects? First of all, serious side effects are extremely rare. You're more likely to have a slightly sore arm or be tired and achy for a day or two.

"I think you know the best thing that parents can do is to make sure that their teens know that that's a possibility and that actually, that's a good sign," Wong said. "It's a sign that the vaccine is working; that it's giving your body the protection."

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, sat down to answer questions parents may have.

11 a.m.
A new federal program opening in May can help North Carolina families get help paying for high-speed internet.

Read more about that here.

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A federal government official tells CNN the Food and Drug Administration is ready to extend its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to include 12 to 15 year olds by



WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
A renewed push to increase the vaccination rate across the country has Gov. Roy Cooper and Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen renewing their statewide efforts.

Cooper and Cohen will be touring a vaccination clinic near Charlotte on Wednesday. That comes as fewer than half adults in North Carolina have at least one dose of the vaccine, and the number of doses being given has fallen 8 percent in recent days.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he wanted 70 percent of adults in the US to have at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4.

To accomplish that goal, vaccination efforts will begin to shift away from large vaccination centers in favor of things like mobile clinics, pop-up facilities and outreach campaigns.

Walk-in appointments at local pharmacies will also be a staple of the new vaccine efforts.

UNC epidemiologist Dr. David Weber said he thought the president's goal was ambitious but appropriate.

"We're dealing now not with vaccine shortages but with vaccine hesitancy and I certainly think putting other resources into vaccine hesitancy is an appropriate way to protect the public," Weber said.

TUESDAY

10:20 p.m.

A UNC doctor is calling President Biden's vaccination goal ambitious but appropriate.

"Maybe the goal is a little ambitious but it's clearly a reasonable goal and it's not just a goal they've put resources behind the goal that they'll push out to the states to achieve it," Dr. Weber told ABC11's Josh Chapin.

Dr. Weber said vaccines need to be available to those who want them and there needs to be more truths to be pushed out to the public or anyone dealing with hesitancy.

"We're dealing now not with vaccine shortages but with vaccine hesitancy and I certainly think putting other resources into vaccine hesitancy is an appropriate way to protect the public," said Dr. Weber.

RELATED: Biden aims for vaccinating 70% of adult Americans against COVID-19 by July 4

"Both across North Carolina and across the United States, there are more vaccine than there is people who are interested in obtaining vaccines," said Dr. Weber.

Darius Russell of Russell's Pharmacy Shoppe said vaccine phone calls have stopped for the most part. At the beginning of the process, they had 20 to 30 appointments a day.

"I feel like we're getting through that hurdle. The next step is being able to get to people who are hesitant and being to educate those people so they know this is safe, this is something we need to do our part together so we can get through the pandemic," said Russell.

"It's helpful in a way that it gives hope to people that the president is working hard to do something for us, to get us back to normalcy or what we can have as normalcy," Russell said of President Biden's goal.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution by ZIP code highlights gaps in access

12:15 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 981 new COVID-19 cases. The state is reporting a 6.7% positive test rate.

There are currently 1,050 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the state.

As of Tuesday, 49.7% of the adult population in North Carolina is vaccinated with at least one dose.

Nine more deaths have been reported.

Sadly, 12,700 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

11:40 a.m.
NCDHHS said North Carolina expects to receive 160,260 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine and 13,900 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine this week. Allocations to federal programs are not included in that total.

To compare, the state received about 222,430 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine last week.

11:30 a.m.
COVID-19 vaccinations are now available at all Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in North Carolina.

Both walk-up and scheduled appointments are available.

8 a.m.
Federal investigators cracked down on a website they said was scamming people out of their personal information.

The website was set up to look as if it was offering COVID-19 vaccines.

FreeVaccineCOVAX.com was the website. It purported to be the site of an actual biotechnology company and used trademarked logos from Pfizer, the World Health organization and the United National High Commissioner for Refugees.

The site collected user's personal data "in order to use the information for nefarious purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

"Members of the public should not provide personal information or click on links in unsolicited e-mails and should remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is not for sale. The Federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States," Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner said in a statement.

TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
The COVID-19 vaccine will likely be authorized for use in at least some, if not all, school aged children before the start of the next school year.

The Food and Drug Administration is already considering expanding the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to children as young as 12, and that is just the beginning.

UNC Health's Dr. Alexa Mieses-Malchuk said parents should know the vaccine has gone through the same testing for use in children as it did for use in adults.

"The most important thing that parents need to know is that the vaccine has been shown to effective and safe in this younger group of adolescents," Mieses-Malchuk said.

More vaccinated Americans means our country is one step closer to rolling back mask requirements. But it's unclear exactly when that will happen.

For now, many people are left confused about when they should be wearing a mask.

"The truth is that it could be really complicated and really nuanced," Mieses-Malchuk said of mask covering recommendations. "If you've been vaccinated and you're outdoors in a small group with people you know and everyone is vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask. But as you start to introduce new variables, it gets more complicated...the one thing you can control, is whether or not you wear a mask."

Meanwhile, one sign of things slowly getting back to normal: Baseball is back!

The Carolina Mudcats will become the first professional baseball team to play to a crowd in more than a year. The Mudcats season opener at Five County Stadium will happen Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Five County Stadium is only allowing 30-percent capacity for now.

UNC health will resume giving Johnson & Johnson's one dose COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. Appointments are available at the Friday Center and other UNC Health clinics across the Triangle.

MONDAY
4:30 p.m.
Appointments are no longer required to get a free shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Wake County. All vaccination locations will allow walk-ins and drive-ins.

Appointments are still encouraged, but no longer necessary.

The locations accepting walk-ins include Wake County Public Health Center, Wake County Northern Regional Center, Wake County Human Services Center at Departure and Green Road Park.

Information about hours can be found here.

2:45 p.m.
UNC Health is going to resume offering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

"Our experts have reviewed the data and CDC recommendations to resume Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, and continue to strongly recommend patients receive any one of the COVID-19 vaccines," a spokesperson said.

When scheduling, patients can select from either the J&J or the Pfizer or Moderna.

J&J appointments will be available starting Wednesday at the Friday Center and other UNC Health clinics.

So far, UNC Health says it has has administered more than 375,000 doses of the vaccines.

12:45 p.m.

North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,126 new COVID-19 cases. The state is reporting a 6% positive test rate.

There are currently 1,007 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the state.

As of Monday, 49.6% of the adult population in North Carolina is vaccinated with at least one dose.

Sadly, 12,691 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

9:30 a.m.
Thousands of restaurants and bars decimated by COVID-19 have a better chance at survival as the government begins handing out $28.6 billion in grant money to help these businesses stay afloat while they wait for customers to return.
The Small Business Administration is accepting applications for grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as of Monday.

For the program's first three weeks, only applications from restaurants that are majority-owned by women, minorities and veterans will be processed and paid out. The grants, up to $10 million, are aimed at replacing lost revenue at restaurant companies with up to 20 locations.

MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES
More children could soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

ABC News reports the Food and Drug Administration could extend its authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to children as young as 12 years old.

That vaccine is currently authorized for anyone 16 and older, but testing has continued on younger Americans. That testing has reportedly found 100 percent efficacy among people 12-15 years old, with no new side effects.

If the FDA agrees with the company's findings, children in that age group could start getting vaccinated later this month.

This comes as health and government officials across the country warn that younger Americans are becoming a larger share of those infected and hospitalized with the virus.

"There is a very sharp increase, it appears, in younger adults... these are largely people who think that their age is protecting them from getting very sick from COVID-19, that is not happening," Cassie Sauer, CEO and president of the Washington State Hospital Association, said during a press conference last week.

That increase is why many health experts are worried about the decreasing demand for the vaccine.

With vaccination rates lagging behind in red states, Republican leaders are starting to step up their efforts to persuade their supporters to get the shot.

"Medicine and science and illness, that should not be political," said Dr. Brad Wenstrup, a Republican congressman from Ohio and a podiatrist who has personally administered coronavirus vaccine shots both as an Army Reserve officer and as an ordinary doctor. "But it was an election year and it really was."

FRIDAY
5 p.m.
Masks are no longer required outdoors in the Tar Heel state. This is the first time in nearly a year that masks are not required in some public spaces.

4 p.m.
Special events like weddings have been on hold during the pandemic. But loosening restrictions are helping some companies make a comeback.

Strict capacity limits and safety concerns made it difficult for couples to plan their special days. The latest move to increase the size of indoor gatherings to 100 people and outdoor gatherings to 200 people is representing a key step towards normalcy.

Elana Walker is a wedding planner in the Triangle who says her average party size is 150 to 200 people.

She says business has picked up the last couple of months and she expects further loosening will only increase confidence.

"For future brides who are considering, 'should I move forward with the plans of my wedding?' I think they're going to feel a lot more confident that based on the way that things have progressed, that by the time their wedding does take place at the end of the year or the beginning of next year, that they'll be able to have the guest count they want," Walker said.

Walker says when planning your wedding, you should make sure to have ample hand sanitizer and masks available for guests. And to check with venues about their rescheduling and cancellation policies.

She adds some people may not feel fully comfortable with new restrictions, encouraging couples to take that into account when arranging seating charts.

3 p.m.
Cruise lines are cheering word the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is committed to resuming sailings in the United States by mid-summer and tweaking some of the rules around resuming trips.

A spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association says the group's experts are still reviewing the CDC comments but show progress in discussions to restart cruising.

"It also shows that the voices of community leaders and the wider cruise community are being heard -- and we are very grateful for that," said the industry spokeswoman, Laziza Lambert.

This week, the CDC said in a letter to the group that it will let ships cruise without going through practice trips if 98% of the crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency also promised a quick review of plans for practice voyages - five days instead of 60 - and changes in testing for fully vaccinated people.

The CDC had previously set conditions that the cruise industry said effectively prevented it from sailing to U.S. ports while the Caribbean and parts of Europe were opened to cruising. U.S. cruises have been shut down by the pandemic since March 2020.

Two of Carnival Corp.'s cruise lines have resumed limited sailings in Europe and three plan to launch trips in Britain this summer.

2 p.m.
Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room doctor and former Baltimore health commissioner says fully vaccinating about 40% of American adults is a great achievement, but not enough.

"The hardest part is ahead of us," Wen says. "I'm very concerned that we are not going to come anywhere close to reaching herd immunity in 2021."

Dr. Wen believes the combination of better weather and falling case counts will make it harder to reach people who have not yet been vaccinated this summer.

"Those people who are on the fence about getting a vaccine may have less reason to get one now because they don't see coronavirus as an existential crisis anymore," says the visiting professor of health policy at George Washington University in a phone interview with the Associated Press.

Wen is concerned that could lead to a resurgence in cases this fall and winter as weather forces people back indoors and new variants of the disease become more prevalent. She says to reach the unvaccinated, the U.S. needs to make vaccines available in more places -- doctor's offices, workplaces, schools and churches.

1 p.m.
U.S. health officials have concluded that anxiety - and not a problem with the coronavirus vaccine - caused fainting, dizziness and other short-term reactions in dozens of people this month.

Health experts say the clusters are an example of a phenomenon that's been chronicled for decades from a variety of different vaccines. Some people get so anxious about getting injections, it spurs physical symptoms.

Many of the 64 people affected either fainted or reported dizziness. Some got nauseous or vomited. A few had racing hearts or chest pain. None got seriously ill.

The report indicated those incidences happened in California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina.

12:45 a.m.
Drug maker Pfizer says it will start sending U.S.-produced COVID-19 vaccines to Canada next week.

It's the first time the U.S. has allowed that company's vaccine exported north. Canada has close commercial ties with the U.S., but it has been getting Pfizer vaccines from Belgium.

U.S. authorities had kept supplies made in the U.S. for domestic use. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says starting next week, Canada will be receiving 2 million doses a week from Pfizer alone.

Vaccinations have ramped up in Canada in recent months. All adults in Quebec will be eligible to make a vaccine appointment starting May 14. In Ontario, Canada's largest province, adults can book an appointment starting May 24.

12:30 p.m.
An inflated number of COVID-19 cases were reported by NCDHHS on Friday due to tests from as far back as Jan. 6 submitted to the state by Catawba Valley Medical Center that had not been previously reported.

331 of the 2,231 COVID-19 cases reported for April 30 were not actually new cases, the state said.

1,101 people are currently hospitalized in North Carolina with COVID-19.

The percent of positive tests is currently at 4.8 percent.

40.5 percent of adults in North Carolina are fully vaccinated.

12,651 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

12:15 p.m.
Beginning Monday, the Durham County Department of Public Health will open its vaccination clinic for walk-in appointments.

Walk-in hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9 to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays 9 to 6 p.m.

Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available but the choice of vaccine will depend on supply.

Pfizer will be used for all people under age 18.

FRIDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Part of North Carolina's mask mandate will come to an end Friday afternoon.

Starting at 5 p.m., masks will not be required outdoors in the Tar Heel state. This will be the first time in nearly a year that masks will not be required in some public spaces.

Gov. Roy Cooper said he was relaxing the restrictions because of the continued improvement to COVID-19 metrics and the increase in the number of adults in the state who have gotten vaccinated.

However, masks will still be required indoors.

Cooper said the indoor mask mandate would remain in place for a while longer. Before he removes that restriction, Cooper said he would like to see two-thirds of vaccine eligible North Carolinians get inoculated against the virus.

Although the outdoor mask mandate expires Friday, remember that the executive order is a minimum requirement. So individual businesses could still opt to be more strict about where customers are required to wear masks.

Some Raleigh businesses told ABC11 they planned to still require customers to wear masks while on their outdoor patios.

Also starting Friday, some high school athletes will no longer be required to wear face masks while playing their sports.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is dropping the mask requirement during outdoor activities and competitions.

Fans at outdoor games are still encouraged, although not required, to wear a mask.
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