WCPSS details plans for graduation ceremonies

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

4:31 p.m.
St. John's Metropolitan Community Church along with the LGBT Center of Raleigh and Raleigh PRIDE is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

There are 200 doses of Moderna vaccine available

The church is at 622 Maywood Ave. in Raleigh.

You can register for the event here.

4:08 p.m.
Cumberland County Government will hold a COVID-19 Remembrance Vigil on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on the front steps of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse.

Attendees are asked to wear a mask and practice physical distancing.

There have been 296 coronavirus-related deaths of Cumberland County residents.

3:24 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reported 10 new cases for a total of 5,422 total COVID 19 cases. There have been 108 deaths or 1.99% of cases.

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper indicated the state is on track to have almost all capacity and social distancing restrictions lifted by June 1.

With the nation about to mark its 200 millionth vaccination, the Tar Heel State itself opened up vaccinations to all residents 16 and older earlier this month, and the campaign appears to be working.

"North Carolina's strong safety protocols and actions to slow the spread are why we've been able to avoid a surge in cases overwhelming our hospitals," Cooper said. "Our careful, reasoned approach has worked, striking the right balance."

Face coverings, however, will still be required.

Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen did note a slight increase in the state's COVID-19 metrics, urging North Carolinians to continue to practice the prevention methods they have been using for more than a year now and get in line quickly to get their shot.

"Until enough of us are protected by the vaccine, we need to keep protecting each other," Cohen said. "For now, keep wearing your mask in public so we keep our trends where we want them."

Cooper encouraged people who have gotten vaccinated to push their friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors to get the shot. Once two-thirds of the adult population has at least one shot, he said, the state will be able to begin lifting mask mandates.

1:54 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said there are 1,963 new cases and the daily percent positive stands at 7%.

Hospitalizations were at 1,168, a slight decline from the previous day.

There were 43 more deaths reported, bringing the total to 12,480 recorded deaths attributed to COVID-19 in North Carolina.

In all, 37% of North Carolina's population is fully vaccinated and about 28% is partially vaccinated.

1 p.m.
The Wake County Public School System is discussing plans for graduations.

Students will be given four tickets to graduation ceremonies and students will be spaced six feet apart, Rolesville High School Principal Dhedra Lassiter said in a media briefing.



Lassiter said Rolesville's graduation will take place in the football stadium on campus, Friday, June 11.

There will be 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. graduation ceremonies.

WATCH: Rolesville principal details graduation plans
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Raw video: Rolesville Principal Dhedra Lassiter details plans for graduation ceremonies.



Brian Pittman, Senior Director of High School Programs for WCPSS said there will be no screening or rapid testing before graduations as of now. Most schools will have the same plan as Rolesville, with the vast majority of graduations in stadiums, though some will be in gyms.

12:21 p.m.
The Johnston County Health Department is holding a first and second dose Pfizer drive-thru clinic on Friday from 8 a.m. until supplies last at Johnston Community College, 245 College Road in Smithfield.

The Health Department will be administering the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine (16 years of age and up) as well as second doses.

Individuals seeking a second dose should have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on or before April 2.

9:40 a.m.
Duke Health is relaxing visitor restrictions for patients at its three hospitals.

The health group explained that it came to that decision due to the current rate of COVID-19 in the community combined with the increase in vaccination rates.

All adult patients at Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital will be allowed to designate two support people aged 18 or older. Those two people can visit anytime between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Both of them may be in the patient's room at the same time.

6:20 a.m.
With anyone 16 and older now eligible to get vaccinated, there's a growing push to get older teens to take the shot.

Chapel Hill Pediatrics is working with high schools in the area to encourage juniors and seniors to get vaccinated.

"They are getting the virus at an increasing rate and many of them are being hospitalized or getting severe COVID. So we're trying to spread the word that yes they are at risk, yes they are susceptible to severe disease. So want to change that mindset that they're invincible and won't contract the virus," Dr. Mary Braithwaite said.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only one authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds.

WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Governor Roy Cooper will give a COVID-19 pandemic update at 2 p.m. today.

Cooper's announcement comes as the state's hospitalizations reach their highest point in a month.

Meanwhile, Wake County Public Schools is expected to make an announcement today about graduation plans for this year. That announcement is expected at 1 p.m.

Yesterday the school district confirmed that Virtual Academy would be an option for parents and students for the next school year.

Vaccinations continue to push ahead across the country. More than half of all adults have been at least partially vaccinated.

A first dose drive-thru vaccination clinic is happening today in Johnston County. Appointments are not required. The clinic begins at 8 a.m. at West Johnston High School in Benson.

TUESDAY
8:15 p.m.
The Wake County school board has approved the Virtual Academy for 2021-22.

The board approved the plan Tuesday. The academy will serve grades K-12 and there will be a separate virtual learning option for Pre-K students.

The registration window will open on Thursday, April 22 and close May 2.

More information can be found here.

2:28 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports 1,200 new cases for a total of 950,566 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The case count is the lowest in two weeks. The percent positive of tests is at 7.4%, higher than the 5% range that NCDHHS would like to see ut lower than the same time a week ago.

A total of 74 more people are hospitalized, for 1,170 overall. It's the first time hospitalizations have topped 1,100 in a month (since March 9 with 1,147).

Nineteen additional deaths were reported Monday for a statewide total of 12,437.

In all about 37% of the state's population is partly vaccinated and about 27% of the population is fully vaccinated.

1:58 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports four new cases for a total of 5,412 positive COVID 19 cases. There have been 108 deaths countywide since the onset of the pandemic.

11:10 a.m.
Booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine may not be necessary after all.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi has been studying preliminary Pfizer data released this month. She said no breakthrough infections have been reported since the initial vaccine trial started nearly ten months ago.

"Anyone who received the vaccine during the trials actually received them in July 2020," she said. "We are not seeing breakthrough infections, even in the setting of surges."

Because of that, she said it's possible the vaccine will keep people protected from the virus for longer than a year. Only time will tell.

9:31 a.m.

Duke University's COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,504 tests to 9,951 students and 2,190 tests to 1,125 faculty/staff for the period April 12-18, with a total of 26 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.13 percent.

7:20 a.m.
Local doctors are backing off an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Doctors at Cape Fear Valley Health joined in on a clinical trial, using convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat people in early stages of coronavirus infection.

However, data compiled from that trial shows that the treatment is not making a significant difference for patients.

Therefore, the doctors at Cape Fear Valley Health said they will try some other treatments that have been showing more promise.

TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Starting at noon, Wheels Fun Park on North Hoover Road in Durham will be giving out COVID-19 vaccines to any adult who shows up.

No appointment is needed.

That comes as FEMA announced its mass vaccination site in Greensboro has vaccinated more than 100,000 people. The site opened March 10 at Four Season Towne Center.

Today, North Carolina House of Representatives will hold a final vote on a bill to give tax breaks to business received federal funds during the pandemic.

Right now businesses have to pay taxes on Paycheck Protection Program loans. The bill, if made law, would eliminate those taxes.

If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said you should monitor yourself for new symptoms.

The symptoms to watch out for include headache, backache, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling and new or easy bruising.

If you notice any of those symptoms, please contact your medical provider immediately.
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