North Carolina enters first full week of Phase 2 of reopening plan

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

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MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES

ReOpen NC is planning another protest on Memorial Day in the first full week of Phase 2 of North Carolina's reopening. Protesters will be outside the governor's mansion Monday in Raleigh for their sixth rally since COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic.

ReOpen NC representatives say they'll speak about a new strategy for their team at a 10:30 a.m. press conference. Organizers say they want to use the holiday to remind people of their freedoms, calling the demonstration a "freedom rally." Other rallies are scheduled in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and Wilmington.

The U.S. nears a somber milestone on Monday as it closes in on 100,000 coronavirus deaths. There are more than 1.6 million confirmed cases in the U.S. In North Carolina, there are more than 23,000 confirmed cases and 744 deaths. The number of cases reported by the state on Sunday was 23,222, which was an increase of 497 cases from Saturday. Seven more deaths were reported on Sunday.

The number of recoveries in the state will be updated today at 4 p.m. The latest update, last Monday, had the state at 11,637 recoveries so far. There are currently 587 people hospitalized from COVID-19 in North Carolina. When Gov. Roy Cooper spoke Friday, he urged North Carolinians to continue using safe practices during the holiday.

"I want you to have a great time, but continue using caution," Cooper said, advising residents to wear face coverings, keep six feet apart, wash their hands frequently, and keep gatherings below 10 people when indoors and below 25 when outdoors. "This is how we protect ourselves and particularly our family and neighbors."

Gyms are closed for several more weeks in North Carolina. Under Phase 2, which launched Friday afternoon, some restaurants and businesses can open at limited capacity.

Due to the pandemic, several Memorial Day services in the Triangle will be streamed online, including a wreath-laying ceremony in Raleigh. A service in Durham will also be shown online at 8 a.m.

The Memorial Day weekend brought out crowds across the country, as seen at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and a local racetrack in Alamance County. In those cases, there appeared to be minimal social distancing or covering of the face.

SUNDAY
6 p.m.
Reopen NC will hold a 'Freedom Rally' outside the governor's mansion on Memorial Day. Other rallies will take place across the state in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and Wilmington.

Smith says people can expect the rallies will look similar to their past five events held in downtown Raleigh, which protested Governor Cooper's stay-at-home order.

FULL STORY: ReOpen NC protesters to hold 'Freedom Rally' across NC on Memorial Day

5 p.m.
As of Sunday evening, Wake County reports 1,450 total cases of COVID-19, 16 more than Saturday. There has been one more death, bringing the total to 33 deaths county-wide.

4:10 p.m.
Fans packed the bleachers as ACE Speedway in Altamahaw held its 2020 Season Opener on Memorial Day weekend.

Fans crowd bleachers as ACE Speedway opens for Memorial Day weekend

Ace Speedway thanked its attendees for its turnout on Sunday, ensuring fans that they will clean and sanitize the facility as it moves forward with the 2020 Season.

On Friday, the day before the speedway's reopening, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said he would not interfere with ACE Speedway's reopening

12:05 p.m.

Wake County is reporting 1,441 COVID-19 cases, up seven from Saturday. There has been one more death, bringing the total to 33 deaths county-wide.

11:30 a.m.
North Carolina health officials said Sunday there are 23,222 cases of COVID-19 reported throughout the state. That is an increase of 497 more cases being reported since Saturday.

A total of 587 patients are being hospitalized, down 2 from Saturday.

There were seven more deaths, bringing the total to 744 statewide.

So far, 336,656 COVID-19 tests have been completed with 7,074 more being reported since Saturday.

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

As of Sunday morning, there are 1,622,670 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
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