28,589 COVID-19 cases in North Carolina after 916 new cases reported; 886 deaths statewide

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

What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here



SUNDAY

5:45 p.m.
Governor Roy Cooper encourages all North Carolinians to honor June 1, 2020 as a Day of Mourning to grieve the 100,000 people in America, including almost 1,000 in North Carolina, who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

"This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that our death count is not just a number, it represents people, communities and families in mourning," Governor Cooper said. "I encourage North Carolinians to join in this moment of silence in honor of the people we have lost and their loved ones who are struggling in the wake of this cruel virus."

More than 100 leaders of faith-based organizations, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim houses of worship from across the country are leading this national moment of silence on Monday, June 1 at 12 PM EST.

Governor Cooper will order all state flags to be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who passed from Coronavirus.

3:20 p.m.
An inmate at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex died from complications related to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

Steve Arthur Robinette, 79, was taken to the hospital on May 25, where he tested positive for COVID-19. He died on May 30.

Robinette was serving a 216-month sentence for child pornography charges. He had been in custody since September 2012.

According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, there are 182 active COVID-19 cases at FCC Butner, including both inmates and staff.

12 p.m.
North Carolina health officials said there are 28,589 cases of COVID-19, up 916 since Saturday. There have been 886 total reported deaths.

So far, 416,289 tests have been completed. Of the total cases, 649 are currently being hospitalized, up 11 from Saturday.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are 1,770,384 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States.

SATURDAY

5 p.m.
There are 1,713 COVID-19 cases reported in Wake County, up 52 from Friday. There have been 38 deaths county-wide.

There are 697 cases in Cumberland County.

12:45 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 142 to extend the prohibition of utility shut-offs and implement a moratorium on evictions.

The eviction moratorium will last for three weeks. It prevents landlords from initiating summary ejections or other eviction proceedings against a tenant for nonpayment or late payment of rent.

The order also prevents landlords from assessing late fees for late or nonpayments. It requires landlords to give tenants a minimum of six months to pay outstanding rent.

The utility shutoff moratorium will last 60 days and prohibits utility disconnections for all customers as well as billing or collection of late fees, penalties and other charges for failure to pay.

Read the full order here

12 p.m.
Wake County Public Health will begin drive-thru COVID-19 testing for at-risk groups at the Wake County Commons Building parking lot on June 1.

The testing, which will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily through Thursday, June 4, is free, but people must sign up for a timeslot and register.

"Testing residents in our community is vital to understanding how the virus is spreading, so we can continue responding appropriately," said Chris Kippes, Wake County Public Health Division director. "Our focus on at-risk and frontline workers will help fill the gap for populations who may not have access to testing elsewhere or who have a higher chance of becoming infected."

Tests are reserved for those who:

  • Have COVID-like symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and loss of smell

  • Have been in close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19

  • Are healthcare workers or first responders

  • Work in high-risk settings like long-term care facilities, correctional facilities or homeless shelters

  • Are 65 years old or older

  • Have underlying health conditions

  • Are a member of a vulnerable or historically marginalized population

  • Are a frontline worker in a setting where social distancing is difficult


11:50 a.m.
North Carolina health officials said there are 27,673 COVID-19 cases, meaning there was an increase of 1,185 cases reported since Friday.

This is a new daily high increase in cases being reported. Last Saturday, 1,107 more cases were reported in what Dr. Cohen called "a notable and concerning increase."

Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

There are 877 deaths being reported, up 18 since Friday. There are 42 less hospitalizations being reported with a total of 638 cases in the hospital.

According to NCDHHS, 22 percent of inpatient beds are available

A total of 404,157 tests have been completed, up 12,926 since Friday.

As of Saturday morning, there are 1,747,087 coronavirus cases are reported in the United States.

FRIDAY

5:55 p.m.
Cumberland County officials reported 18 more COVID-19 cases, for a total of 680 total cases. So far, 23 people have died from the virus in the county.

County officials also announced three new drive-thru testing sites in the county at CVS locations on Bragg Boulevard, Law Road and Rockfish Road. Testing will not take place inside the retail locations, but patients can schedule an appointment online and will be required to stay in their car.

"Increasing testing capacity for COVID-19 is critical in slowing the spread of the virus and we are seeing businesses around North Carolina, like CVS, step up to help increase testing," said Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green in a written statement.

5:45 p.m.
A spokesperson for UNC Health said several UNC REX employees have tested positive for COVID-19. All employees were working in a unit of the hospital designated for COVID-19 patients, the spokesperson said.

The employees are currently being monitored at home. All staff in the unit have been tested--among other hopsital staff--and UNC Health said infection control specialists would continue to retest staff members to make sure there are no new positive cases.

5:20 p.m.
Durham Public Schools announced leaders would make sure all students have a digital learning device for the 2020-2021 school year. In order to meet this goal, the district purchased 20,016 Chromebooks through reserve funding in anticipation of receiving funds from the federal CARES act.

DPS said when combined with the district's current Chromebook inventory, schools will have enough Chromebooks for every student from Kindergarten to 12th grade.

"The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that we have to aggressively attack the digital divide in our community," said DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga in a written statement. "I'm grateful to our Board for giving us the go-ahead to put these devices in our students' hands next year. Whether we will be back in our classrooms or continuing remote learning, our students will have access to rigorous new learning with their teachers' support."

5 p.m.
Wake County is reporting 1,661 cases of coronavirus. There have been 37 deaths.

4:20 p.m.
Lee County reports 17 new cases of COVID-19 within the county raising the county total to 428.

Of the 428, the county Health Department continues to monitor 160 cases while 264 have returned to normal activities. The county has reported four COVID-19 related deaths.

2:45 p.m.
The Town of Cary has canceled all Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources events through July 5, including its Independence Day weekend celebration events. This includes all classes, sports leagues, and programs. Full refunds will be issued for any registered classes, leagues, facility reservations, and ticketed Town events canceled due to COVID-19.

All Town of Cary camps through August will also be canceled.

1:48 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department said there are 967 confirmed tests performed on residents and 177 have tested positive for COVID-19.

One person has died and 123 are considered recovered.

12:45 p.m.
The Bureau of Prisons said another inmate at Butner has died from COVID-19 complications.

Bernardo Luis Olarta-Loaiza tested positive for COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Butner (Low) on May 10. Olarta-Loaiza, 63, was taken to a hospital but died on Thursday, May 28. He had long-term, ongoing medical conditions, officials said.

Olarta-Loaiza was serving time for drug charges. He had been at the low-security Butner facility since May 22, 2018.

12:45 p.m.
Sampson County health officials reported 16 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 429 cases for the county. In total, 1,487 county residents have been tested for COVID-19--one more test reported since Thursday--and four people have died from severe complications related to the virus.

11 a.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,076 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest number of daily reported cases since the pandemic began. However, the state also reported 16,039 more completed tests, more than doubling its daily goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests.

According to NCDHHS data, 9% of tests were positive.

The state also reported 32 more deaths from severe complications due to COVID-19, for a total of 859. Currently, 680 people are hospitalized with severe symptoms, a slight decrease from Thursday's record high of 708, but still higher than in previous weeks.

RELATED: Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

HOW ARE WE DOING?
As the state looks to go through the phases of reopening, officials are looking to meet certain benchmarks.
Here's how we're doing on some of those:
Decrease in percent of positive tests? This metric has been level so far this week, though it increased slightly today with 9% of positive tests. However, it has remained mostly level, around 7 or 8%.
Hospitalizations decreasing? Twenty-eight fewer people are in the hospital for a total of 680, but that metric is still much higher than in previous weeks and the state's third highest day. Still, 23 percent of inpatient beds and 16 percent of ICU beds in the state are available. NCDHHS reports 76 percent of ventilators are available.
Testing capacity? The state more than doubled its goal in the last 24 hours.
Contract tracers? During a news conference Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has hired nearly all 250 new contact tracers they were contracted to employ. This doubles the state's number of contact tracers to 500.
PPE Supplies? Though the state still does not have a 30-day supply of surgical gowns on hand, supplies have now reached a 29 day supply--a dramatic increase from a 0 day supply last week. However, the state's stockpile of N95 respirators has decreased to a 19-day supply.



10:40 a.m.
More than 640,000 North Carolinians have received unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

According to the Department of Employment Security, 640,797 people have received $2,849,120,423 since March 15.

A total of 969,031 people have filed unemployment claims--meaning 34% of those who have filed still have not received any compensation.

9:30 a.m.
The state is asking for support in extending the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to provide food for children into the summer months and beyond the school year.

In a release, the state says an extension would help provide the families of nearly half of North Carolina school children about $250 in additional support per child to buy groceries. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen has asked the state's congressional delegation for help.

"One of the challenges of COVID-19 is making sure our children have the nutritious meals they need to thrive while schools are closed," Cohen said. "That need doesn't go away at the end of the school year, and neither should food assistance for families."

Currently, states aren't allowed to provide P-EBT beyond the end of the traditional school calendar, which is June 12 in North Carolina. Durham Public Schools is launching a summer meals program for its students on June 8.
9:00 a.m.
East Carolina University will start fall classes two weeks earlier than previously scheduled.

The move comes as schools across the state grapple with how to resume classes and still keep students and staff safe from COVID-19.

UNC and NC State already announced they would be starting August 10 and ending before Thanksgiving--in an effort to get students home before a possible second wave of the virus hits in the fall. Duke University has not officially announced its plans for the upcoming semester.

In addition to ECU's earlier start date (August 10), it will move to a block schedule. This means the semester will be split up into two 8-week blocks.

Instead of taking all of their classes at once, the students will split their semester's classes into those 8-week blocks. For example, a student signed up for five classes could take three of them in the first 8-week block and the other two in the second 8-week block.

"These changes will minimize the coming and going en masse of students to and from campus and make it possible to have everything completed by Thanksgiving," said Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson. "By adapting, respecting each other and working together we will weather this storm."

8:00 a.m.
A pet dog from Chapel Hill that previously tested positive for COVID-19 may not have ever actually had the virus.

A laboratory operated by the USDA said it retested the dog's sample and collected new samples to test. Those tests came back negative.

The lab said it believes the original test was contaminated by the dog being in a home where the virus was present.

FRIDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Bar industry leaders are planning to sue Gov. Cooper for not allowing bars to reopen as part of Phase 2. The industry insiders say the lawsuit is the last resort. Restaurants and salons have been able to reopen under decreased capacity and strict health guidelines.

Bar owners initially expected to be part of the Phase 2 reopening and said they were caught off guard by Cooper's change. On Thursday, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill to allow restaurants and bars to allow outdoor seating equal to 50 percent of capacity.

Thursday was another record-setting day for COVID-19-related hospitalizations in North Carolina. The state said 708 people were in the hospital being treated for COVID-19.

Since the start of the outbreak in North Carolina, 25,412 people have tested positive for the virus; 827 of them died.

Durham County officials are expected to give details about a safer-at-home order that would start Monday. Durham did not concurrently move into Phase 2 with the rest of the state as Mayor Steve Schewel said the city is taking a more cautious approach.

Schewel said the city's cases have been growing at two times of rate of North Carolina with cumulative cases in Durham at one point three times as great per capita as Wake County.

The Republican National Committee has provided a new safety proposal to Gov. Cooper for the planned GOP convention in Charlotte. The RNC has asked Cooper to respond by June 3. The plan includes eight safety steps, but doesn't include asking attendees to wear masks or practice social distancing.

THURSDAY
6:46 p.m.
Another inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution has died from COVID-19.

Dongfan Greg Chung, 84, who was incarcerated at Butner (Low), went into respiratory failure on May 18. He was taken to a hospital for further treatment and tested positive for COVID-19. Chung, who had long-term existing health issues, died Thursday. at the hospital.

Chung was serving time for white-collar crimes, including economic espionage. He had been at the low-security Butner facility since June 28, 2012.

3:52 p.m.
Three Cumberland County residents have died from complications associated with COVID-19 and 23 new cases have been reported, the Department of Public Health said.

Cumberland County now has 662 cases with 23 deaths.

"We are so saddened with this news and extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends who have lost loved ones," Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green said.

Two of the patients were residents of the N.C. State Veterans Nursing Home in Fayetteville where there is an outbreak. One patient was in their 90s and the other in their 80s. Seven of the facility's residents have died from COVID-19 complications.

The third reported death is a Cumberland County resident in their 50s.

3:52 p.m.
Orange County has canceled all onsite recreation summer camps for 2020. The county said it does plan to offer summer enrichment virtual program opportunities

Full refunds will be issued for summer camp fees that have been paid to date.

3 p.m.
A fourth Lee County resident has died as a result of COVID-19 related complications. The patient had been hospitalized at Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford.

"I am sorry to have to report another death from COVID-19 in Lee County," said Heath Cain, LCG Health Department Director. "Please keep the family and friends of this individual in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of their loved one. Today's announcement is a reminder that COVID-19 is a serious illness that poses a real risk to public health and safety. As restrictions ease across the state, I hope people continue to be vigilant in their efforts to help slow the spread of the virus."

Central Carolina Hospital said it is treating five patients with COVID-19.

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper began his COVID-19 media briefing by talking about an interactive tool to find testing in your area.



Cooper also highlighted that CVS plans to add 55 new drive-thru testing sites across the state, particularly in minority communities hardest hit by the virus.

"We must focus on how we can identify these disparities and, more importantly, work to fix them," Cooper said.

Cooper also announced a $6 million grant from the Department of Labor to support job training and temporary employment opportunities across the state.
North Carolinians who have been laid off because of COVID-19 will be able to apply for funding from the grant. the North Carolina Commerce Department, which manages the Division of Employment Security, will set up the training and employment programs.

"North Carolina will continue to carry the torch forward as we focus on helping people get back on their feet," Cooper said.

Cooper also responded to the bill passed this morning in the North Carolina Senate that would allow bars to open for outdoor service, stressing that signing any regulations on businesses into law is dangerous because it limits the steps local governments and public health officials are able to take should a spike in cases and hospitalizations occur.

"On a day when we're seeing some of our highest numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, the senate wants to open bars," Cooper said. "This legislation would mean that even if there is a surge of COVID-19 that would overwhelm our hospitals, that bars would stay open."

Both Cooper and Cohen noted the increased hospitalizations--a record high for the third time this week--is concerning, and a key example why the state needs to take modest steps to reopen.

"It's important for our health experts to have the flexibility to take the action that is necessary to slow the virus," Cooper added. "It's very difficult to undo and go back and unwind legislation."

Cooper said because his executive orders provide a minimum floor of restrictions for the state, local governments are at liberty to increase protections if they see a spike in cases. However, if this bill were to become law, local governments would not be able to close bars and restaurants to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

"If you do it with this one, what's next? And then will you have all of these laws in place to limit the flexibility of health care officials?"

Cooper also commented again last weekend's event at Ace Speedway in Alamance County, asking local law enforcement and officials to uphold his order. He also commended the businesses that are following orders and taking additional steps to protect their employees and customers.

1:30 p.m.
Wake County officials confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Brookridge Assisted Living in Apex.

The county did not say how many residents and staff members have tested positive for the virus at the facility.

1:15 p.m.
Sampson County is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total to 413 positive cases of the novel coronavirus countywide.

12:36 p.m.
Division of Prisons officials initiated the testing of all 420 offenders at Caswell Correctional Center, as well as continuing to provide testing access and to encourage staff to be tested. Data and previous experience at Neuse Correctional Institution prompted the decision to test all offenders at the facility.

"This data-driven decision and strategy is the result of a strong collaborative and coordinated effort with the Department of Health and Human Services," said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. "We will do all we can to stamp out this stubborn outbreak at Caswell Correctional with hard work and strict attention to medical protocols. We have done it before at Neuse and we will do it again."

COVID-19 tests swabs will be taken from the entire offender population at the facility. The results from LabCorp are expected by the beginning of next week.

The data-driven decision to test the entire offender population at the prison was based on a gradual increase in the number of offenders who tested positive for COVID-19 through symptom-based testing, as well as a gradual increase in the number of staff who either self-reported testing positive for the virus or who tested positive in a Caswell County Health Department-offered voluntary testing initiative that began on May 8.

A similar mass-testing of the offender population was conducted at Neuse Correctional in Goldsboro in April and revealed an extensive outbreak of coronavirus, mostly in offenders who never showed any symptoms, that was then contained. All current offenders at that prison have met DHHS and Centers for Disease Control criteria to be presumed recovered.

Since mid-April, a total of 19 of the 420 offenders at Caswell Correctional have tested positive and 19 of the 136 staff assigned to the dormitory-style prison have tested positive.

12:30 p.m.

In a letter, more than 40 Durham faith leaders signed a statement of solidarity, advocating for continued physical distancing during worship services.

"We reject the notion that houses of worship ought to be exempt from orders that limit large gatherings," the group wrote. "Lest our churches, temples and mosques become incubators for COVID-19, houses of worship are the very places that must model safety and promote wellness."

The leaders wrote that while they would like to bring their congregations together, they believed that doing so would jeopardize lives. In the letter, they said were "gravely alarmed by the widespread, reckless move to reopen institution that put human beings in close proximity to each other."

In addition, the leaders advocated helping others, especially minority communities hardest hit by the health and economic impacts of the virus. "The hour calls for urgent action," they wrote.

10:45 a.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports 33 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 827. A total of 708 people are hospitalized, an increase of six patients.

NCDHHS said it confirmed 784 new cases, for a total of 25,412 in the state.

There were 10,968 tests completed. Overall, the state has finished 375,192 tests for COVID-19.

HOW ARE WE DOING?
As the state looks to go through the phases of reopening, officials are looking to meet certain benchmarks.
Here's how we're doing on some of those:
Decrease in percent of positive tests? This metric has been level so far this week, with percent positive around 7 or 8 percent.
Hospitalizations decreasing? For the third time this week, the state has broken its record COVID-19 hospitalizations with 708 currently hospitalized. Still, 24 percent of inpatient beds and 18 percent of ICU beds in the state are available. NCDHHS reports 76 percent of ventilators are available.
Testing capacity? The state met its goal in the last 24 hours.
Contract tracers? The state still only has 250 and is working to double this workforce to 500. Recently, 152 new contact tracers were hired through the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, but it is unclear whether these recent hires have been deployed.
PPE Supplies? Though the state still does not have a 30-day supply of surgical gowns on hand, supplies have now reached a 29 day supply--a dramatic increase from a 0 day supply last week. However, the state's stockpile of N95 respirators has decreased to a 19-day supply.

10:15 a.m.
The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill to allow restaurants and bars to allow outdoor seating equal to 50 percent of capacity. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance).

Under Phase 2 of North Carolina's reopening plan, bars are not allowed to reopen and restaurants are allowed to operate indoors or outdoors at 50 percent capacity. The measure passed by a 42-5 margin.

More about the bill here.

"Other states and cities are expanding outdoor seating options based on the science, facts, and data," Sen. Gunn said. "This industry has taken the brunt of the shutdown, and this policy just makes sense. I hope Gov. Cooper will support it."

Gov. Cooper has not spoken publicly on the bill, which now goes to the House before going to his desk. California and Illinois have passed similar legislation to allow more businesses to reopen via outdoor seating.

9:40 a.m.
Taiwan's government has sent 100,000 surgical masks to help North Carolina in the fight against COVID-19. Daniel C.M. Hung, Acting Director-General of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, presented the masks to Quincy Davis with North Carolina Emergency Management.



"The fight against this global COVID-19 crisis takes all of us working together to protect our people and our health care and emergency response professionals on the frontlines every day," said Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall. "Thank you to Acting Director-General Daniel Hung and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office for helping facilitate this donation of critical supplies."

8:10 a.m.
CVS Health is opening 55 new COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thrus across North Carolina. The sites will use self-swab kits and help CVS towards its goal of establishing 1,000 testing sites across the country by the end of May.

LIST: COVID-19 testing sites in central North Carolina

Patients must register at CVS.com beginning on Friday to schedule an appointment. A complete list of testing sites can be found here.

8 a.m.
A vote is expected on Thursday to determine whether North Carolina bars closed due to the pandemic could again serve patrons outdoors. One of two bills that cleared a Senate committee on Tuesday would allow bars whose doors remain completely closed under Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order to sell beverages outside, whether on a patio or under a tent.

Under the current policy, bars wouldn't be able to open back up until Phase 3, which is several weeks away. Restaurants and salons were allowed to reopen with the introduction of Phase 2.

More about the bill here.
THURSDAY MORNING STORYLINES

North Carolina Gov. Cooper is sharing the state's next COVID-19 update at 2 p.m. on Thursday, a day after no update was given. Gov. Cooper and the state's coronavirus task force's briefing will be shown on ABC11 and on ABC11.com and the ABC11 Facebook page. The state continues in Phase 2 of its reopening plan a day after it set a record for COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

NC lawmakers pushing to help teens get their licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic

The death toll surpassed the 100,000 mark in the United States on Wednesday, the highest of any country in the world. In North Carolina, 702 people are hospitalized from COVID-19, the highest mark yet. That's an increase of 81 from the previous day.

At least 488 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina yesterday, bringing the state total to 24,628 cases. At the same time, the state reported 28 more deaths, for a total of 794, and 11,825 more completed tests. The latest numbers should be released Thursday morning.

The Durham Performing Arts Center is hosting a blood drive on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The DPAC is working with The Blood Connection group. Donors must register on The Blood Connection's website.

We're expected to learn today that another two million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last week. That would bring the total to nearly 41 million since the pandemic started in March.
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