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Latest: Member of TODAY show tests positive for COVID-19

Posted March 12, 2020 9:24 a.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2020 7:30 a.m. EDT

— Here are the latest updates on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and across the globe:

What you need to know:

  • All North Carolina public schools will be closed for the next two weeks at least. View all closings.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper ordered mass gatherings of 100 or more people to end with the exception of restaurants and malls.
  • The CDC recommends people avoid crowds of 50 or more for the next eight weeks. Four states have closed all bars and restaurants, and local Chick-fil-As have closed their dining rooms, serving drive-thru and takeout only.
  • North Carolina has 32 people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus (see map below), according to the NCHHS. Of those, 14 have tested positive in Wake County.
  • President Donald Trump, who tested negative for coronavirus, has declared a national emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Numerous events have been canceled across the region, including business conferences, festivals, concerts and more.
  • A growing number of small and large employers are asking workers to work from home. Companies who can't afford to let employees work remotely are limiting their interactions in the workplace.

Get details on NC cases

Latest updates:

Monday, March 16

7:36 a.m.: A member of the TODAY show has tested positive for coronavirus, the show tweeted.

"We learned late last night a colleague on the 3rd hour of TODAY tested positive for COVID-19," the post read. "Out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al are taking the morning off while we map that colleague’s close contacts."

6:30 a.m.: Almost 3,500 have tested positive for coronavirus in the country, and 65 people have died. CNN reports there are now more cases outside mainland China than there are inside.

5:50 a.m.: Far fewer people are traveling through RDU Monday morning as more international travel restrictions take effect. United Airlines said it will cut flights by 50% in April and May, and other airlines are already slashing flights.

After the CDC's announcement that everyone should avoid spaces with more than 50 people, there is a possibility that U.S. flights could be grounded domestically the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

5 a.m.: Vice President Mike Pence said the country should be ready for an announcement of more guidelines Monday afternoon, including the possible closing of restaurants and early curfews.

4:30 a.m.: Chick-fil-A has closed its dining rooms to limit person-to-person contact, according to a press release. Drive-thru and takeout are still available.

Four states -- llinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state and New York City -- have ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in service.

Sunday, March 15

9:23 p.m.: Chief Justice Cheri Beasley asked judicial officials in a memo on Sunday to drastically reduce operations in courthouses throughout the state to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In-person meetings will be postponed or canceled and when hearings can't be postponed for the next 30 days, remote technologies "should be utilized as authorized by law and to the fullest extent possible."

"Put simply, it cannot be business as usual for our court system," Beasley said in the memo. "Non-essential court functions that cannot be accomplished through the use of remote technology must be postponed."

8:34 p.m.: Wake County public libraries and facilities at county parks will close Monday "in the interest of the safety of our visitors and staff," Wake County officials announced in a press release Sunday night. The closure is in effect through March 27, when county staff will reassess the situation, officials said.

Park grounds will remain open.

"The health and safety of our library and park staff and the people who visit our locations remain our No. 1 priority," said Frank Cope, director of Community Services for Wake County.

7:59 p.m.: The CDC is recommending gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.

6:14 p.m.: Wayne County has issued a State of Emergency in regards to the coronavirus outbreak. "This is an imperative move for the County and participating municipalities to ensure we are eligible and prepared to access federal and state funding," Wayne County Board of Commissioner Chairman E. Ray Mayo said.

5:39 p.m.: UNC has announced it is canceling all spring semester 2020 international programs, including study abroad, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, "which were designated with a Level 3 Travel Notice by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 15, 2020." The move was made due to coronavirus.

5:21 p.m.: The Federal Reserve has slashed its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to nearly zero. It also announced it would purchase more Treasury securities to encourage lending to try to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

5:16 p.m.: President Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press conference with the latest on the virus outbreak.

5:12 p.m.: Fort Bragg DODEA schools will be closed until March 30. Students and staff will attend a half-day of school on March 16 (Monday) to gather supplies and receive additional instructions.

3:50 p.m.: Target officials have confirmed to WRAL that a team member at the store on Brier Creek Parkway in Raleigh has tested positive for coronavirus.

"Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members and guest, and we're taking a number of steps to move forward," Target said in a statement. "First, we've communicated directly with the impacted team members, who is in quarantine and following all health department guidelines, and we'll pay them while they are on leave. We've also worked quickly to deep clean and sanitize the store, which is the recommendation of the public health experts.

"We've notified the entire store team and provided them with the appropriate CDC guidance. We'll continue to first and foremost take care of our team and guests."

Health officials said they do not consider the Target location an elevated risk of exposure "based on this person's timeline and assessment of their case."

There are 14 cases in Wake County and 32 in North Carolina. Numbers from NCDHHS were updated Sunday morning and now include this case.

3 p.m.: A person who attended the Brick Universe Lego Fan Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center on March 8 has tested positive for COVID-19. The event attracts hundreds of people, but only those who came in close contact with the person are at risk of exposure.

Health officials are asking anyone who attended the event from 2-4 p.m. on March 8 to contact them for instructions on what to do to see if they could have been exposed.

2:45 p.m.: Wilson County has confirmed its first positive case of coronavirus. The patient is a woman who traveled out of state, officials said. She was tested for coronavirus on Friday after a flu test came back negative, and the results were confirmed Sunday.

The county said it is following state protocol and does not believe the community at-large was exposed to the woman.

2:20 p.m.: The 2020 Triangle Race for the Cure, a Susan G. Komen event planned for May 2 in Raleigh, has been suspended due to coronavirus concerns, according to organizers.

2 p.m.: CNN reports coronavirus cases have reached 3,000 nationwide.

1:30 p.m.: Grocery shelves on the bread, paper and cleaner aisles were empty at the Harris Teeter store near Cary Towne Center, although shoppers are urged to buy only what they need during the outbreak.

1 p.m.: More shops and restaurants are announcing closures due the coronavirus outbreak, including Lula's in Chapel Hill, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. More are expected.

12:15 p.m.: The Rex Wellness Center, a fitness center at UNC Rex Hospital that includes pools, weight and strength training equipment, an indoor track and more will be closed until March 28.

11:30 a.m.: Garner Mayor Ken Marshburn called an emergency meeting of the Garner Town Council to review the recent information and directives from the Gov. Cooper's office related to COVID-19. Topics of discussion included whether to cancel small events (the governor already ordered events of more than 100 people be canceled) and whether to close town facilities.

The Town of Cary's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources facilities are closed and programming, including classes, events and camps, are canceled until further notice.

11 a.m.: There are now 32 coronavirus cases in North Carolina, according to the NCDHHS. Fourteen of those are in Wake County, while others are in Johnston, Durham, Chatham, Harnett, Wayne and Mecklenburg counties, among others.

10:30 a.m.: Ritz Raleigh has canceled or postponed most of its March shows, and the Carolina Theatre of Durham will be closed to the public until March 28.

10 a.m.: Iran says coronavirus has killed another 113 people, raising overall death toll to 724 amid over 13,900 confirmed cases. Spain says deaths from the coronavirus have more than doubled in a day to 288, while infections are near 8,000.

9:15 a.m.: The Diocese of Raleigh has canceled all weekend masses until further notice, according to Bishop Luis Zarama, who is also directing the closing of Catholic schools. The diocese covers the eastern half of the state.

Since people cannot attend in-person, churches like St. Raphael Catholic Church on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh are offering livestreams of their services during the coronavirus outbreak.

9 a.m.: A WSF/NBC poll finds a majority of American voters say they’re worried that someone in their immediate family might catch the coronavirus, and six-in-10 believe the worst is yet to come for the outbreak inside the United States. The poll also finds 45 percent of all voters approve of Trump’s handling of the issue.

8 a.m.: Lifetime Fitness in Raleigh on Triangle Plantation Drive said, because of the coronavirus and social distancing, they are reducing group fitness class sizes. Cycle classes, which usually hold 30, will be reduced to 12.

7:15 a.m.: Since they won't be going into work, a group of teachers at Douglas Elementary School will begin making food deliveries to food insecure families on Monday. Since many children rely on school-provided breakfasts and lunches, the school's PTA organized a food drive on Friday to prepare for the school's closing.

Saturday, March 14

11:25 p.m.: WRAL's Sarah Krueger spoke with parents who were concerned over the news that a teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School has tested positive for coronavirus.

10:25 p.m.: As the need for testing for coronavirus grows, health officials say there are not enough tests to meet those growing demands.

9:28 p.m.: Walmart has joined Harris Teeter and Publix as announcing its stores will close early each night until further notice to restock and clean locations.

8:39 p.m.: Harnett County officials report a second coronavirus case there. They received news from the state lab on Saturday that confirmed the case. Officials said the affected person is currently in isolation at home.

This makes 26 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

7:41 p.m.: President Donald Trump has tested negative for the new coronavirus, according to the president's personal physician.

6:54 p.m.: Johnston County officials said they have received notice from the State Lab that a second resident has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

“This is not unexpected since this case is associated with our initial case as they reside in the same household,” said Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson in a press release. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus.”

Officials said the person who has the virus is currently in isolation at home. Both people who have the virus are from the same family, officials said.

6:48 p.m.: SPCA of Wake County closed Saturday evening through March 22 because of the coronavirus outbreak. "Please know the pets in our care will continue to receive the top-level compassionate care they deserve," said

5:24 p.m.: The Wake County Public Health Division has confirmed an 11th case of coronavirus in Wake County. Officials said the patient remains at home in isolation.

"We are evaluating every case that comes and focusing on contact tracing to reduce the risk of exposure to the community," Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald. "By establishing a detailed timeline, we can trace their movements and better understand who was within six feet of the individual for more than 10 minutes, which we consider to be close contact."

There are now 24 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina.

4:35 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper has issued an executive order to stop mass gatherings of more than 100 people. He also announced the closing of all public schools for at least two weeks.

"We need a statewide response and statewide action," Cooper said during Saturday's press conference.

The mass gatherings executive order does not apply to restaurants and malls, Cooper said.

"We appreciate Governor Cooper's careful consideration of all the impacts a statewide closure of our public school system would have on educators, students, parents and the wider community," said Mark Jewell, President of the North Carolina Association of Educators. "Ultimately, we think this is the correct decision, and we thank him for acting decisively in the best interest of everyone involved."

4:30 p.m.: UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz has urged students not to return to campus the week of March 16 and to spend the week at their homes. Students who have a hardship or depend on Campus Health as their only source of primary care will be allowed to stay. Another update will be issued March 18 for the week of March 23.

3:20 p.m.: Johnston County Public Schools announced they will be closed from Monday, March 16 until March 30.

3:10 p.m.: Wake County Public Schools announced they will be closed from Monday, March 16 to March 27.

2:55 p.m. A Wake County Public School teacher from Fuquay-Varina has been confirmed with coronavirus. This person began feeling sick March 10. Health officials are currently reaching out to anyone who came within close contact of the teacher. This is the 10th case of coronavirus in Wake County.

Wake County school officials told WRAL's Sarah Krueger the teacher was symptomatic while at school. All parents with students in that teacher’s class have received calls from the Health Department. Lisa Luten, communications director for WCPS confirmed intense cleaning is underway at the school now.

1:10 p.m.: President Trump said he was tested for coronavirus. Results are not yet available.

12:45 p.m.: Some retail stores begin announcing limited hours or closings in order to conduct additional preventative sanitation and to restock shelves. All Apple stores closing outside China for 2 weeks. CEO Tim Cook announced the news over Twitter. Harris Teeter will begin closing at 9 p.m. each night.

12:15 p.m.: The United States will broaden the European travel ban to include the UK and Ireland.

11:30 a.m.: North Carolina coronavirus cases are now at 23.

10:42 a.m. The DoD has approved travel restrictions for DoD civilians, families and service members. The restriction will halt domestic travel, including Permanent Change of Station and Temporary Duty.

10:00 a.m.: The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation for a stimulus package to help families during the coronavirus pandemic, offering emergency provisions that include paid sick leave, widespread free testing, food aid and unemployment insurance.

9:50 a.m.: Wake County Public Schools released a tweet confirming that "principals will use maximum flexibility when excusing absences during this time." On Twitter, a parent asked, "Does this mean if I choose to keep my kids out of school, there will be no attendance penalty? We need clarifications please." Wake County Public Schools responded, "Yes. That is what it means."

St. Raphael Catholic Church in Raleigh sent a message to their congregation saying, "This was a very hard decision to make. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our life as Catholics. St. Raphael priests will continue to celebrate Mass privately each day, praying for our parish, our local area, and our world."

The school at St. Raphael is also closing until March 30.

They will continue to live stream Mass in both English and Spanish on Sundays.

8:00 a.m.: North Carolina now has 20 cases of coronavirus. Brunswick County announced its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus on Saturday morning. The results have been sent to the CDC lab for final confirmation.

Officials said the individual is in self-isolation at home and is doing well. They had traveled to Louisiana and became symptomatic while there. They were still symptomatic during their return to Brunswick County and contacted a medical care provider to determine if a test should be taken. There is one adult contact in the home who has been self-quarantining.

Friday, March 13

11:59 p.m.: President Trump's travel ban is now in place. The last of flights to and from Europe took place Friday night.

10:04 p.m.: Fort Bragg officials said troops returning from deployment will be placed in a 14-day quarantine as a precaution due to coronavirus. Maj. Allie Payne said the quarantine is "a precaution for any service member traveling from a high-risk area or potential risk of exposure. Quarantine is for personnel who are not showing any symptoms of illness and is precautionary to prevent potential spread of illness should someone begin to show symptoms."

9:57 p.m.: All Florida public schools will be closed for the next two weeks to limit the coronavirus spread, public officials said Friday night. Florida is the first state to enact such measures.

9:35 p.m.: Cape Fear Valley Health officials confirm a presumptive positive coronavirus case at an outpatient facility. Officials said the patient resides in Harnett County and is recovering in self isolation at home, per CDC guidelines. Hospital officials said they expect confirmation of the findings from the health department on Monday.

8:32 p.m.: The Wake County Public Health Division received word from the state lab this evening that a Wake County resident has tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus. It is the ninth presumptive positive test result in Wake County. Officials said the case is related to the existing cluster of positive patients tested earlier this week from Biogen.

“We are working to quickly establish a timeline of their movements, so we can effectively identify places they visited and determine if anyone was at increased risk of exposure,” said Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald said in a press release. “We will reach out to those who came in close contact with this person to assess their condition and take appropriate next steps.”

7:30 p.m.: The Wake County Public School System plans to keep operating on a regular schedule next week, according to the district's website. Extracurricular activities will be suspended indefinitely as of Sunday night. District-sponsored events open to the general public have been canceled indefinitely as of Monday, as has district-sponsored meetings that require school staff to leave their campuses.

6 p.m.: Movie theater chain AMC is capping ticket sales so each theater will be no more than half-filled during any showing, CNBC reports. The cap starts Saturday and runs through the end of April.

"With this action, we are facilitating the 'social distance' between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen," AMC President and Chief Executive Adam Aron said in a statement.

5:55 p.m.: The Museum of Life and Science in Durham will close Saturday and remain closed for at least two weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus. All public and private events during this period are canceled.

5:50 p.m.: NBA star Zion Williamson sad he will cover the salaries of workers at New Orleans' Smoothie King Center for the next 30 days after the NBA suspended its season indefinitely on Wednesday.

"This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for all these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates, and hopefully, we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis," Williamson, a former Duke standout who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, tweeted.

5:40 p.m.: Durham Mayor Steve Schewel has declared a virus-related state of emergency, which bans groups of 100 or more in facilities such as the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Carolina Theatre and rooms at the downtown convention center. The ban lasts through March 28.

"We know that social distancing is one of the most important ways of keeping us all safe. I know this will be a hardship on venues like DPAC and the Carolina Theatre, and I am very grateful for their close cooperation as we make these decisions together," Schewel said in a statement.

5:35 p.m.: The Transportation Security Administration will allow travelers to bring up to 12-ounce containers of hand sanitizer through airport security checkpoints, but they will go through a special screening process, according to CNN. Travelers will be allowed to declare the hand sanitizer as a "medical liquid."

5:25 p.m.: The production of "Les Miserables" at the Durham Performing Arts Center this weekend has been canceled. DPAC officials had come under sharp criticism for offering ticket exchanges instead of refunds to people who didn't want to see the Broadway musical because of concerns over coronavirus.

5:20 p.m.: A Wayne County resident has tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation at home, officials said. No other details were released.

5:15 p.m.: Three Duke University graduate students traveling overseas as part of a group have tested positive for the coronavirus, Durham County health officials said. They are receiving treatment outside of the United States and will remain overseas until they have recovered.

Other students who were part of that group have returned to Durham and will remain in quarantine at home for at least 14 days under medical supervision, officials said.

4:55 p.m.: The North Carolina Division of Prisons will suspend visitation at all state prisons, effective Monday, to minimize the health risks from the spread of coronavirus, officials said. There are no known cases of COVID-19, the illness associated with the virus, in any prison.

4:45 p.m.: U.S. coronavirus cases have passed the 2,000 mark, according to NBC News. The biggest outbreaks are in Washington state (457 cases), New York (421) and California (247). Forty-three people have died from the illness nationwide so far.

4:30 p.m.: The Fayetteville City Council plans to limit attendance at its Monday night meeting to limit the spread of the virus. Only city staff and people who have signed up to speak at a scheduled public hearing will be allowed.

4:25 p.m.: Morrisville, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough are the latest locales to declare states of emergency over the coronavirus.

4:15 p.m.: Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead and other sheriffs have put procedures in place to keep the coronavirus from spreading in area jails.

Under Wake County's plan, for example, law enforcement officers will first screen people who are arrested, asking if they have traveled out the United States in the past 14 days and if they’ve been in contact with someone with, or suspected of, having COVID-19.

The booking procedure has been revised to safely process an infected person without compromising the safety of officers or others. The detention center also is equipped with four negative-pressure rooms designed to house infected people while preventing the virus from spreading into the main ventilation system.

"Our detention medical staff have always been proactive in screening arrestees who may have an infectious disease," Baker said in a statement. "With the help our law enforcement partners, we hope these additional steps help to reduce exposure to the virus while having a plan in place should symptoms appear."

The government has been working with private labs and technology companies to speed approval of new tests for the virus, which will make millions of tests available in the coming weeks. Drive-thru operations will be set up in Walmart parking lots and other locations for people to be tested quickly, Trump said.

But he insisted not everyone needs to be tested. "This will pass," he said.

Google is developing a screening website to determine who needs to be tested and where, he said.

The president also waived interest on federal student loans to ease the financial impact of the virus outbreak and said the U.S. would prop up energy markets by buying oil to fill its strategic petroleum reserve "right up to the top."

3:10 p.m.: UNC Health is tightening restrictions on people who enter its hospitals:

  • Each patient will be allowed only one visitor, although two visitors will be allowed in pediatric areas.
  • Only vendors and contractors who are essential to patient care and business operations will be allowed onsite on an as-needed basis.
  • Volunteers who do not directly support patient care activities or essential business operations should not report to UNC Health facilities until further notice
  • Medical students will be allowed into patient areas but will not be caring for coronavirus patients.

No visitor, vendor, volunteer or student with fever, cough, cold or flu-like symptoms should enter any UNC Health facility, officials said.

2:45 p.m.: Johnston UNC Health is opening a coronavirus testing site in a temporary clinic to keep potentially infected people out of the hospital emergency room, spokeswoman Suzette Rodriguez said.

"There's a screening process. You can't just show up and be tested," Rodriguez said, noting patients will first have to call a hotline at 888-850-2684.

"There are multiple tests that will happen at this facility," she said. "You will have to meet certain criteria for a COVID-19 test."

UNC Health officials said clinics opened Friday in Raleigh, Cary, Smithfield, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, Kinston and Eden. Next week, clinics will open in Chapel Hill and other locations.

2:35 p.m.: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered all schools in the state to close for two weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus, according to the Washington Post.

2:30 p.m.: Rocky Mount joins the list of locales to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

2:25 p.m.: Organizers have canceled the annual North Carolina Pickle Festival, which had been scheduled for April 24-25 in Mount Olive. It's the first time the 34-year event has been canceled.

"This grieves us deeply, because the festival is so much fun, and it just brings out the best in all of us," co-chair Lynn Williams said in a statement. "But we also believe the health and well-being of the people of our community and all those who participate in the festival are what’s truly important."

2:15 p.m.: Durham school Superintendent Pascal Mubenga said school bus drivers may be used to ferry meals and classroom materials to students while they are out of school in the coming weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.

2 p.m.: Duke Health plans to start blocking people who have fever or breathing trouble from visiting patients at its hospitals. Effective Monday, all visitors to Duke hospitals and clinics will be asked, upon arrival, if they have symptoms of illness and coronavirus exposure risks.

Those who are determined to have non-severe symptoms, such as fever or cough, will be given information about what to do and asked to return home to help prevent the potential spread of illness. Hospital and clinic patients will be permitted one person over the age of 12 to accompany them to an appointment.

1:40 p.m.: The Chapel Hill Public Library will close at 6 p.m. and remain closed until further notice. While the library is closed, no materials are due and no late fees will be charged. All programs, services and room reservations are canceled.

1:35 p.m.: Johnston County public health have investigated the timeline of the county’s lone coronavirus case and haven't found any public places where others could have been exposed, officials said.

1:20 p.m.: Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Greg Ford has declared a state of emergency over the new coronavirus. The move will expedite planning and response efforts, he said.

1:10 p.m.: Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh will close for two weeks, beginning next Tuesday, and will shift to online classes. The Catholic high school has canceled all field trips and retreats and has postponed all athletic events through April 6, all fine arts events and the school prom.

1:05 p.m.: William Peace University will end all in-person classes by Monday and will shift to online classes on March 23. The online classes will run for the remainder of the spring semester. All campus events have been canceled for the rest of the semester, and students are encouraged to leave the Raleigh campus.

12:40 p.m.: The Dreamville Festival in Raleigh's Dix Park has been rescheduled to Aug. 29. All tickets for the music festival, originally scheduled for April, will be honored, and refunds will be offered to ticket-holders who cannot attend the rescheduled event, officials said.

12:30 p.m.: Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster John Forslund is in quarantine because of a possible exposure to the new coronavirus. He stayed in the same Detroit hotel room where infected Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert had stayed.

12:20 p.m.: The World Health Organization says Europe is now the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic. More than 132,000 cases of the virus have been reported to the WHO from 123 countries and territories. About 5,000 people have died.

12:15 p.m.: Louisiana is postponing is April 4 presidential primaries to June 20 and July 25, according to CNBC, although it wasn't immediately clear which new date was for the Democratic contest and which was for the Republicans.

12:10 p.m.: Schools in Los Angeles and San Diego are closing because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are currently working to reschedule practices and games," officials said in an email. "Please know that we did not make this decision in haste. And while we know that this news may be disappointing to your family, we also know you share the Y's commitment to the health of our coaches, players and families."

12 p.m.: Health officials have backed the count of North Carolina coronavirus cases down to 16. A case in Mecklenburg County has been deemed unrelated to the virus.

11:50 a.m.: Orange County Board of Commissioners Chair Penny Rich has declared a state of emergency in the county. The declaration will allow public safety personnel to better respond to the coronavirus outbreak and allow the county manager to make necessary adjustments to ensure public safety, officials said.

11:45 a.m.: NASCAR has postponed races at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. The races had been expected to be run without any fans in the stands.

11:40 a.m.: A dozen UNC-Wilmington men's basketball players and 13 staff members are quarantined off campus after a Colonial Athletic Association official who worked a March 7 game between the Seahawks and Drexel tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Wilmington Star-News.

11:30 a.m.: An online petition asking the Wake County Public School System to close area schools amid the coronavirus outbreak has garnered nearly 14,700 signatures in two days.

11:20 a.m.: Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte has postponed its 2020 opening until April 3 to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

11:10 a.m.: North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley said Superior Court and District Court sessions statewide will be pushed back for 30 days, starting Monday, although trials that have already started will be allowed to finish. Beasley asked that people not attend the trials unless they are required to be there, and she said court staff are being asked to work from home as much as possible.

Judges will have some discretion to hold hearings that could be conducted remotely or are needed for emergency relief or to protect due process rights, officials said.

Magistrates will continue to conduct some small-claims proceedings, issue warrants and perform marriages. Clerks of court will continue handling estate administrations, guardianships and commitments.

10:30 a.m.: Organizers postpone the Boston Marathon until Sept. 14 because of rising concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

10:05 a.m.: Augusta National says next month's Masters golf tournament is postponed.

10:00 a.m.: New Hanover County Schools released a statement that individuals at Williston Middle School and Forest Hills Global Elementary School have chosen to self-quarantine "out of an abundance of caution." It is not clear to what extent these individuals have been exposed to coronavirus.

9:40 a.m.: Stocks opened sharply higher on Wall Street a day after market's worst fall since 1987. The Dow Jones average surged 1,200 points, or 5.8 percent.

9:30 a.m.: The Harlem Globetrotters have suspended planned games on their domestic U.S. tour, including a Sunday game at PNA Arena in Raleigh, in order to help prevent the spread of the virus. ​​​​​​All tickets for postponed games with be honored.

8:30 a.m.: The Cumberland County Board of Education approved measures to grant expanded authority to the superintendent, including the ability to "modify existing school calendars, change and set school hours and bell times, assign and reassign students and utilize school system facilities in any way he deems necessary to promote the safety and well-being of Cumberland County Schools."

"We want to keep children in school as long as we can," he said, assuring the community that the school system would be strategic, responsive and daily driven based on facts. "Our strategy right now is to buy as much time as we can with children still in school."

7:00 a.m.: Duke University has asked students to vacate residence halls. Officials are now urging as many students as possible to leave campus dorms for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Officials said, "It is urgent that as many students as possible not be on campus for the remainder of the semester. And as many students as possible should vacate campus housing as soon as possible."

Officials said they are working to develop a plan to ship students their essential belongings required for continued learning and safety, likely to include: current academic materials required for remote learning, laptops, medical supplies and certain items required for self-care.

5:15 a.m.: Durham Public Schools, which was among several school districts to announce closures amid the coronavirus outbreak, has left instructions for how students can learn online, as well as how they can receive meals. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said superintendents statewide would meet by phone Friday to discuss e-learning possibilities.​​​​​​

Thursday, March 12

11:28 p.m.: American Airlines announced Thursday night that there would be a number of flight suspensions due to the coronavirus outbreak. Among those are flights from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to London.

American says it will continue to operate flights to and from Europe for at least the next seven days to make sure customers and employees can return home. Flights are expected to resume as early as May 7. Other flights from Charlotte to Europe were also shut down.

9:20 p.m.: The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington is the latest event to announce it has been canceled due to coronavirus. The event was scheduled for April 1-5.

"We have come to the day many of us have been dreading; out of an abundance of caution we must cancel our beloved North Carolina Azalea Festival 2020. This statement comes to you with heavy hearts – the Azalea Festival has been a staple in our community for 73 years, showcasing our beautiful city, highlighting our amazing citizens, and sharing our Southern hospitality and community pride, and we hate to lose even one year of that," officials said.

8:50 p.m.: Disney is closing Walt Disney World, its flagship theme park resort in Orlando, Fla., because of the global pandemic. The news comes after Disney closed its Disneyland resort earlier on Thursday.

Disney added that its hotels at Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice and that it will pay its cast members during the closure period.

Disney's "Mulan," potentially one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, has been delayed. It was scheduled to be released March 27. The company also said that it is moving the films "The New Mutants" and "Antlers," which were set to hit theaters in North America on April 3 and April 17, respectively.

8:15 p.m.: Durham Public Schools will close its schools, starting Monday, to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, officials said.

"This is an effort to protect our students, staff and community and to slow the spread of the virus. We will have more details about options for distance learning, meals for children and other concerns [Friday]," officials said in a statement.

6:35 p.m.: A family member of a Camp Lejeune Marine or civilian employee has tested positive for the new coronavirus. Both the patient and his or her family are in isolation at home on base. The family was in contact with another coronavirus patient, but non of the other family members have shown symptoms of the illness.

6:15 p.m.: Another Wake County resident has tested positive for coronavirus, local public health officials said. The person, who was tested following a visit to a physician's office, brings the number of positive tests in Wake County to eight – half of the 16 cases statewide.

"The doctor’s office and the patient handled this situation very well," Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald said in a statement. "The patient wore a mask and was kept away from other patients during the visit, and the medical staff wore the proper personal protective equipment."

The person is in isolation at home.

6:10 p.m.: Orange County Schools has shuffled its schedule to keep students out of classrooms during the coronavirus outbreak. Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be teacher workdays. Students "will be learning from home" March 19-20 and March 23-27 before going on spring break March 30-April 3.

"North Carolina law does not give us the legal authority to cancel school without creating make-up opportunities. However, our Board of Education does have the authority to alter our school calendar," Superintendent Monique Felder said in a letter to staff and families.

5:45 p.m.: Wayne County Public Schools has canceled all after-school activities and district events until further notice and "will be deploying professional biohazard-certified cleaning services" in schools routinely to help sanitize classrooms, officials said.

5:40 p.m.: All events scheduled for this weekend at the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts are canceled, including a boat show, North Carolina Symphony performances and the Carolina Ballet.

5:20 p.m.: IBM has asked all of its U.S. workers, including thousands in the Triangle, to work from home through the end of the month to limit the spread of coronavirus.

"In this dynamic situation, there is no rule book to cover every possibility. We are relying on the good judgment of IBMers to do the right things for themselves, for our clients and for our communities," company officials said in a memo to employees.

Meanwhile, Amazon told all 750,000 of its employees around the world to stay home if they can amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNBC.

5:10 p.m.: Millbrook Exchange Community Center in north Raleigh, where a person infected with the coronavirus voted early on Feb. 29, will remain closed through Friday for cleaning.

5 p.m.: Two of the three new coronavirus cases in North Carolina are in Mecklenburg County, and the third is is Cabarrus County, according to state health officials.

4:45 p.m.: Campbell University has canceled all in-person classes from next Monday through April 6 and will provide online instruction instead.

4:40 p.m.: Disneyland will be closed from Saturday through the end of the month amid the coronavirus outbreak. Hotels at the California theme park will remain open until next Monday to give people a chance to make necessary travel arrangements.

4:35 p.m.: Following the lead of Major League Baseball, minor league teams, including the Durham Bulls, the Carolina Mudcats and the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, will delay the start of their 2020 seasons. No date for opening day was announced.

4:25 p.m.: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has moved its spring break up to help keep students out of school during the coronavirus outbreak. Next Monday through Wednesday will be optional teacher workdays, and spring break will run from March 19 to March 27. During the week of March 30, students will be learning at home, officials said, saying they would provide more details later.

4:20 p.m.: The NCAA has canceled both the men's and women's basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears.

4:15 p.m.: Bishop Hope Morgan Ward has asked all churches in the North Carolina Conference of United Methodist Church to suspend services for two weeks.

4:10 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper recommends that all gatherings of more than 100 people in North Carolina be canceled or postponed and urges employers to allow as many workers as possible work from home.

"We expect people to abide by this guidance," Cooper said, adding that officials could order compliance if needed.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said none of the coronavirus patients have needed hospitalization and all are recovering at home.

State and local health officials also are monitoring 84 people who have contacted a coronavirus patient and another 76 who have traveled to a place deemed a hotspot for the virus.

4 p.m.: The Dow Jones average dropped another 10 percent, down more than 2,300 points, as virus-related shutdowns escalate.

3:40 p.m.: All legislative committee hearings are being pushed back into April, and student tours of the Legislative Building are on hold until at least April 1. Legislative staff will work from home as much as practicable.

3:35 p.m.: Episcopal churches across the region are suspending services and events though the end of March or until Palm Sunday.

3:30 p.m.: Wake Technical Community College will move all of its courses online and suspend all activities on campus, beginning Sunday and running through April 5. The shift covers spring break next week and two subsequent weeks.

"We realize the transition to all online classes will be challenging for both students and faculty, but students can rest assured that instructors will work with them to achieve their academic goals this semester," Wake Tech President Scott Ralls said in a statement.

3:15 p.m.: Major League Baseball has suspended spring training and will delay the opening of the 2020 season by at least two weeks.

3:10 p.m.: The Atlantic Coast Conference has suspended all athletic activities, including games, practices, recruiting and participation in NCAA championships until further notice.

"This is uncharted territory, and the health and safety of our student-athletes and institutions remains our top priority. This decision is aimed to protect from the further spread of COVID-19," Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

3:05 p.m.: The state Department of Health and Human Services website lists 15 coronavirus cases in North Carolina, up from 12 on Thursday morning. There was no immediate word on the locations of the new cases.

3 p.m.: UNC Interim President Dr. Bill Roper, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks in a video about efforts to contain coronavirus on the system's campuses.

2:35 p.m.: The lights will be out on Broadway for a while, as all performances have been suspended through April 12 to limit the spread of coronavirus in New York and among visitors, according to The Associated Press.

2:30 p.m.: Fort Bragg has canceled the All American Marathon and associated activities in Fayetteville because of the virus.

"The well-being of our soldiers, families and civilians is our top priority. The difficult decision to cancel the marathon was made for the safety of our community to prevent the possibility of transmission," Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Phillip Sounia said in a statement.

2:25 p.m.: The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended all athletic activities statewide, beginning Saturday, until April 6.

2:10 p.m.: After earlier saying games would be played without fans, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association said it would postpone its boys' and girls' basketball championships indefinitely because of coronavirus.

2 p.m.: Singer Michael Bublé will halt his tour, postponing concerts between March 17 and April 5. That includes a March 18 concert in Charlotte and a March 20 date at PNC Arena in Raleigh. New dates in the same markets will be announced in the near future.

1:50 p.m.: Duke University has suspended all athletic competition for the foreseeable future because of the coronavirus outbreak. It wasn't immediately clear if that would prevent the Blue Devils from playing in the NCAA Tournament, if that starts next week as scheduled.

"We are taking this action to protect the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and others who are essential to these activities. I know it is a great disappointment to our student-athletes and coaches, whose hard work and dedication to their sports and Duke is inspirational to so many, but we must first look out for their health and well-being," Duke President Vicent Price said in a statement.

"We emphatically support the decision made by Dr. Price today regarding the suspension of athletic competition at Duke. The welfare of our student-athletes, and all students at Duke, is paramount, and this decision reflects that institutional priority," men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement.

1:45 p.m.: NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. The races will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel.

1:40 p.m.: The National Hockey League is suspending its season, starting Thursday night.

"Following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy."

1:35 p.m.: The United Soccer League has suspended its season for 30 days.

1:25 p.m.: Italy's coronavirus death toll has topped 1,000, as Europe is becoming the new center of the world's coronavirus pandemic, according to The Associated Press.

12:55 p.m.: North Carolina FC has suspended all youth soccer activities, including practices and games, until after Easter.

"Our intent is to restart training and all activity beginning April 13 and extend the season through May to reschedule games, host tournaments, extend time for supplemental training and ensure that teams can play their full season," NCFC officials said in a statement.

Similarly, Oak City Lacrosse has suspended youth lacrosse activities indefinitely.

12:50 p.m.: A senior Brazilian official who met President Donald Trump on March 7 has tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.

12:45 p.m.: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is quarantined at home after his wife exhibited flu-like symptoms, according to The Associated Press.

12:30 p.m.: Software company SolarWinds has closed its offices in Morrisville and told its employees to work from home after an employee contracted COVID-19, the illness associated with the new coronavirus, the company said in a statement. SolarWinds is bringing a cleaning crew "to deep clean and sanitize the office."

12:20 p.m.: The ACC canceled the remainder of its men's basketball tournament in Greensboro shortly before the third day of competition was set to begin. Florida State will get the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the regular-season champion.

"We are disappointed for our student-athletes, schools and fans to have to make this decision; however, the overall health and safety of all involved is the priority," conference officials said in a statement.

12:10 p.m.: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said The Players Tournament in Ponte Vedra, Fla., and all tournaments in the near future will go on as planned but without spectators due to the spread of the coronavirus.

12 p.m.: WakeMed has suspended volunteer work in various areas of its hospitals to limit the spread of coronavirus.

11:55 a.m.: The Big Ten, the PAC-12 and the SEC have joined other collegiate conferences canceling their basketball tournaments because of the coronavirus, and Major League Soccer has suspended its season for 30 days.

The Wake County Public School System has "indefinitely postponed" all non-conference games against schools outside of the district and all multi-team events, beginning this weekend. For games that are played, handshake lines have been suspended, and players are asked to bring their own water bottles, as no water coolers will be provided.

11:50 a.m.: The U.S. Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings will remain closed to the public, starting at 5 p.m. Thursday until April 1. The White House also has suspended public tours.

11:30 a.m.: A Wake County resident who has tested positive for coronavirus self-isolated on March 6, shortly after developing symptoms of the illness, public health officials said.

"This is a perfect example of how people should act when they begin to feel sick,” Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald said in a statement. "If you start to feel sick, stay home, get some rest and avoid having close contact with your family members."

11:25 a.m.: Organizers have canceled Sunday's running of the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon in Raleigh because of the coronavirus.

"We take this action with tremendous sadness for our runners who have trained for many weeks for our charity event," they said in a statement, noting that they were following the lead of other sporting events that have been postponed or canceled in recent days.

11 a.m.: The State Farmers Market has canceled its annual Spring Craft Fair, which had been scheduled to run Friday through Sunday. The market itself will remain open with regular vendors and will operate normal hours, officials said. Market staff have stepped up cleaning at the venue, and signs to encourage hand-washing and hygiene have been posted.

10:55 a.m.: North Carolina State University will limit attendance at athletic events, starting this weekend with baseball games and men's tennis matches. The events will be closed to the general public.

"We are committed to following the leadership and direction of our campus and taking the measures we feel are responsible given all of the information available to us," Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said in a statement.

10:50 a.m.: Following Wednesday's decision by the University of North Carolina system to halt most in-person classes at its campuses, East Carolina University officials said they would extend spring break until March 22 and begin online classes and independent study the following day.

10:40 a.m.: 6th District Congressman Mark Walker said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told lawmakers it's tested about 3,800 people to date, and 7,800 have been tested overall when other labs are factored in. Enough kits to test 800,000 more people have been disseminated, he said, but questions remain about the capacity to use them.

10:30 a.m.: The North Carolina High School Athletic Association said its 2020 boys and girls basketball state championships will be played with limited spectators in attendance at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh and the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.