156,652 COVID-19 patients are presumed to be recovered in North Carolina

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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4:20 p.m.
North Carolina health officials said Monday an estimated 156,652 COVID-19 patients are presumed to be recovered. That's up 10,768 from last week.

12:20 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,018 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths.

The state also reported just 10,730 more completed tests with 5.6% of tests returning positive--a decrease from previous weeks when the percent positive rate had been hovering between 6 and 8%.

Though North Carolina reported 765 COVID-19 hospitalizations--a nearly three month low--NCDHHS released a statement saying the agency is experiencing technical and submission issues with hospital systems' data, adding that those issues had been exacerbated by the holiday weekend.

"It is likely that actual hospital numbers are higher than what is on the current dashboard," the agency wrote. According to the state dashboard, just 78% of hospitals reported data today.

12 p.m.
Duke Gardens will be closed through the end of 2020.

Duke Gardens and Duke University administrators said they will continue to confer about the possibility of a phased reopening in 2021, depending on the progression of the pandemic and campus-wide safety plans for the spring semester.

"We understand that this news is disappointing to the many people who cherish Duke Gardens and have been eager to return to this beloved oasis in the heart of the Duke campus," Bill LeFevre, the Gardens' executive director, said of this difficult decision.

"We look forward to the day when we can all gather together again to enjoy these nationally acclaimed gardens and the beauty, serenity and inspiration they provide to the more than 600,000 visitors who come here each year," he said. "But as part of the comprehensive Duke United health and safety initiative, we are committed to minimizing any opportunities for this devastating virus to spread within the Duke and Durham communities and beyond."

9:30 a.m.
Duke University announced it tested 6,840 tests students, faculty and staff from last week with six positive cases. Eight students who had previously tested positive were cleared to return to campus.

MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES

The North Carolina Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance is holding a car caravan and parade in Raleigh on Monday at 11 a.m.

The alliance wants better workplace safety, protections and benefits amid the panademic. The parade is expected to go throguh Black neighborhoods to further highlight the issues. In Durham, workers will stop to speak at the Durham County courthouse, Duke University and Rolling Hills Apartments to make their demands known.

Orange County is ramping up COVID-19 testing this week. Starting Monday, free tests are available at Whitted Human Services Center in Hillsborugh from 1 to 5 p.m.

The latest COVID-19 numbers for North Carolina will be released around noon on Monday.

SUNDAY
8:43 p.m.

According to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University, there are 6,274,388 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and the death count is 188,909

Worldwide, there have been 26,980,731 cases and 881,314 deaths.

12 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,086 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 176,901.

There has been another death, bringing the total to 2,890. With 77 percent of hospitals reporting, 830 people are hospitalized. That is down one from Saturday. NCDHHS said in a statement on its dashboard that a potential error in submitted data has led to recent delays in posting hospitalization data.

According to NCDHHS data, 537 ICU beds and 5,321 inpatient hospital beds are empty.

There have been 19,925 more tests completed, bringing the total to 2,442,950

7:30 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 6,246,203 COVID-19 cases in the United States since to date.

SATURDAY

10 p.m.
Durham County is reporting 36 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,120. There have been 86 deaths county-wide.

6 p.m.
ABC11's Josh Chapin was at Laurel Hills and spoke to Raleigh children and parents out and about on the first full day of playgrounds being open again in Phase 2.5.

"It's just good to be outside and be able to come here," said Scott Tafar, who was out with daughter, Sasha. "This is her favorite playground and we've been coming here for years and she was just doing this thing behind us here where you walk through the ropes almost forgot how to do it."

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The county said it will put out cones or close gates if the park gets too full. The city is also reminding guests the playgrounds are not being sanitized daily, so be sure to assess one's risk

"It's so nice especially when you have a child full of high energy she can run and play and get everything done so it's been nice," said Knightdale mom Grace Propes who was out with 2-year-old Chandler.

1:15 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports 50 more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the total death toll since the start of the pandemic in North Carolina to 2,889. That's the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths ever seen in North Carolina.

The newly released numbers show 1,561 new positive tests. The state said that brings the positive test rate down to 5.7%.

Hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 are currently not accurate. NCDHHS put a note on its dashboard saying that a technical issue caused two hospitals to not be able to report their hospitalization numbers, thereby making the reported number on the website incomplete.

You can go through the state's numbers for yourself at this website.

FRIDAY UPDATES
5:30 p.m.
During a White House briefing, President Donald Trump criticized Gov. Roy Cooper for not opening the state fast enough.

"Speaking of politics, I think North Carolina, I think that Michigan and Pennsylvania and other states, they should open," Trump said. "The governors -- the Democrat governors should open -- open on November 4, but they should open now. It's very unfair to people to have shutdowns continuing at the level that they continue."

1:14 p.m.
Durham City and County officials announced changes to the current Safer-At-Home Order which will relax some rules and bring the local order in line with Governor Roy Cooper's Phase 2.5.

"We believe Durham's earlier adoption of Stay-At-Home orders and maintaining some stricter actions than the State, have served us well, enabling us to align with the Governor's orders at this time. Our case numbers have fallen and are holding steady with our low number of hospitalized COVID patients," Mayor Steve Schewel said. "As always, we will be keeping a close eye on our case numbers. If we see a significant rise in cases or hospitalizations, we may be forced to go back to some of our earlier restrictions. But we are also very hopeful that our businesses can continue to open up in this step-by-step way to bring our economy back."

12:30 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,045 new COVID-19 cases, the second time in a week that the state reported more than 2,000 cases in a single-day. The increase in cases comes as the country heads into a holiday weekend, and health experts and health leaders urge North Carolinians to wear face coverings and keep social distance even among extended family members and close friends.

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The state also reported 36 more COVID-19 deaths for a total of 2,839 since March.

Currently, 955 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with just 82% of hospitals reporting. NCDHHS said in a statement on its dashboard that a potential error in submitted data has led to recent delays in posting hospitalization data.

Completed tests jumped significantly Thursday with 36,259 tests reported--the highest value in the past month. Additionally, the state reported 23,655 completed tests Friday, a number which is likely to increase as testing data continues to come in from participating laboratories. As of Wednesday, 6.4% of tests are positive.

10:30 a.m.

The Orange County Health Department is reporting 2,344 cases of COVID-19 and 50 virus-related deaths.

On Thursday, UNC-Chapel Hill identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases in a Rams Village building, marking the ninth cluster in a residence hall at UNC.

FRIDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Phase 2.5 of North Carolina's reopening plan goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m. as the state has made progress in several key COVID-19 metrics in recent weeks. Parks, playgrounds and gyms will reopen across the state.

Gov. Roy Cooper introduced the phase on Tuesday. Gyms and indoor fitness centers can open at 30% capacity. Triangle-area YMCAs will reopen their facilities on Sept. 9.

Bowling alleys can also reopen, but bars must remain closed. Museums, which have been closed since March, will be able to welcome half capacity.

A $1.1 billion COVID-19 relief bill is on Gov. Cooper's desk. The proposal would give every household with at least one child a one-time $335 check. It also includes an additional $50 a week in unemployment benefits.
Copyright © 2020 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.