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Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, April 13, 2020: North Carolina reaches 100 deaths

Posted April 13, 2020 4:11 a.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2020 2:57 p.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:

Map of current NC cases

Latest updates:

8:50 p.m.: More than 10,000 people in the state of New York have died from COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus nears 2 million worldwide.

6:50 p.m.: President Donald Trump said he has the power to reopen the U.S. economy but will work with governors in taking action.

“The president calls the shots,” he said.

6:48 p.m.: Wake County officials have announced an outbreak at a second long-term care facility. Three residents of Sunnybrook Rehabilitation Center in Raleigh have COVID-19. One has been hospitalized at WakeMed, and the other two are in isolation. Two staff members have also tested positive and are isolating and recovering at home, according to county health officials.

6:45 p.m.: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the government is “ahead of schedule” in doling out money from the pandemic-related stimulus package. About 80 million people should receive money by Wednesday, he said.

The IRS also is setting up a site for people who would otherwise receive a paper check in several weeks to provide information that will allow direct deposit more quickly, Mnuchin said.

6:20 p.m.: President Donald Trump said he has no plans to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of his key advisers on the pandemic, despite retweeting someone’s call for Fauci to be removed.

6:15 p.m.: President Donald Trump says every action he has taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus has been “way early” and says he would be criticized for whatever action he took.

During the daily White House update on the pandemic, Trump played a video several minutes long highlighting the timeline of his actions and clips of political rivals criticizing him and some governors praising his administration’s actions.

5:55 p.m.: After reports that President Trump took issue with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over Fauci’s stance that earlier action against the pandemic could have saved U.S. lives, Fauci said Trump has consistently agreed with recommendations that health professionals have made regarding efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

5:52 p.m.: The CDC's Dr. Anthony Fauci says he has had a "productive conversation" with the Congressional Black Caucus to find ways to mitigate COVID-19's disproportionate effects on African-American communities.

5:50 p.m.: President Donald Trump says the number of new cases across the nation "remained flat" over the weekend. He said this shows people are "doing things right" and that he's hopeful the U.S. death toll will be lower because of it.

5:30 p.m.: New cases and deaths announced in Johnston County late Monday have brought the state to a grim milestone of 100 deaths from complications of COVID-19.

Johnston County also reported an outbreak of six confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Johnston Correctional Institute in Smithfield, NC, including three inmates and three staff members.

5:00 p.m.: Rutgers University researchers have received U.S. government clearance for the first saliva test to help diagnose COVID-19, a new approach that could help expand testing options and reduce risks of infection for health care workers.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the test under its emergency powers to quickly clear new tests and therapies to fight the outbreak, the New Jersey university said Monday.

The test initially will be available through hospitals and clinics affiliated with the school. The announcement comes as communities across the U.S. continue to struggle with testing to help track and contain the coronavirus.

4:45 p.m.: Scientists in Brazil have stopped part of a study of a malaria drug touted as a possible coronavirus treatment after heart rhythm problems developed in one-quarter of people given the higher of two doses being tested.

Chloroquine and a similar drug, hydroxychloroquine, have been pushed by President Donald Trump after some early tests suggested the drugs might curb the virus from entering cells.

But the drugs are known to have potentially serious side effects. Only 81 out of the planned 440 participants had been enrolled in the Brazilian study when scientists saw that many in the higher-dose group developed abnormal heartbeats.

3:55 p.m.: State lawmakers have provided $100,000 to Wake Forest Baptist Health to conduct a study of a representative sample of North Carolina residents to determine the extent antibodies to the new coronavirus is in the state population. The health system was to buy and mail out 1,000 at-home antibody test kits to collect data for the study.

"This groundbreaking Wake Forest Baptist Health study ... will fill a critical data gap that’s been missing for many weeks and will help us learn if the true situation is better or worse than the models project," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement. "Nobody knows the true hospitalization and fatality rates for this virus, even as the government has ordered a full-scale economic shutdown."

Berger has repeatedly called for random sample testing in North Carolina to determine the extent of the virus, suggesting that restrictions Gov. Roy Cooper has put in place to curb the virus have been overdone.

3:45 p.m.: Coronavirus cases continue to increase rapidly in the state. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, North Carolina has 4,840 confirmed cases, up 65% over the past week.

256 new cases were added since yesterday. 96 people have died, and 375 have recovered.

3:35 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina will continue working with President Donald Trump’s administration on reopening the economy. Trump said Monday that he, not governors, would make the call, but Cooper said he doesn’t see the administration deviating from its pattern of letting governors make decisions for their own states.

State Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said the 500 inmates now being considered for community confinement is part of the process of lowering inmate population during the pandemic, not the final number.

3:30 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper said “obliterating” the restrictions of his stay-at-home order in the coming weeks would be a mistake, noting that statistical models show the order is effectively slowing the spread of the coronavirus. But said some rules may be eased by the end of April.

3:15 p.m.: The Federal Bureau of Prisons announced Monday that three more inmates from Butner have died of complications from COVID-19. All three were housed in FCI Butner 1, a medium-security building. All three had underlying health problems that increased their risk. The FBP announced the first COVID-19 death of a Butner inmate Sunday.

3:10 p.m.: All forms of personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders are in short supply aside from surgical masks and gloves, state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said.

3:05 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper said the coronavirus spread in North Carolina continues to accelerate, but its pace is slowing.

“What we are doing is working. We’re saving lives,” Cooper said.

Noting “the biggest enemy is complacency,” the governor asked people to continue abiding by his stay-at-home order through April. He said his administration is looking at models to determine how best and when to start reopening the state’s businesses.

About 561,000 people in North Carolina have applied for unemployment benefits in the last four weeks, and the state has paid out $66 million so far, Cooper said.

2:45 p.m.: A 101-year-old Cary resident has made a complete recovery from COVID-19. According to staff at Woodland Terrace, the assisted living resident tested positive on March 16 after exhibiting symptoms. She received treatment at a local hospital and then was quarantined at the senior living community while she recovered, and staff who cared for her were also quarantined. There are no additional cases reported at the community.

2:35 p.m.: NC's Department of Public Safety announced it has begun releasing some non-violent prison inmates early due to high risk from COVID-19. They will finish their sentences in community confinement.

The agency says six women, all pregnant or over 65, were released Thursday. Some 500 more are being considered.

They include pregnant inmates and those 65 and older with underlying health conditions. Prison officials are also considering offenders 65 and over and female offenders 50 and older with health conditions and a 2020 release date. Offenders already on home leave or on work release with a 2020 release date could also qualify.

"By law, the Public Safety secretary has the authority to allow certain individuals to serve their sentence outside of a DPS prison facility, but under the supervision of community corrections officers and/or special operations officers," said a department spokeswoman.

Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks said no inmates who have committed a violent crime against a person will be considered for release because of the virus.

Officials are also looking at electronic monitoring and delayed sentences to get juveniles out of state detention facilities, he said, noting the population has dropped by 25 percent since early March.

1:25 p.m.: President Donald Trump said Monday he is the ultimate decision-maker for determining how and when to relax the nation's social distancing guidelines and reopen the coronavirus-stricken country.

Governors and local leaders, who have instituted mandatory restrictions that have the force of law, have expressed concern that reopening too soon will cost lives and extend the duration of the outbreak. Under the Constitution, public health and safety is primarily the domain of state and local officials. It was not clear by what, if any, authority Trump could overrule their decisions.

1:20 p.m.: Durham County has now identified coronavirus outbreaks at two more long-term care homes: four cases have been confirmed at Durham VA Healthcare System Community Nursing Home, and four cases are confirmed at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center. Both staff and patients at those facilities have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Saturday, Durham County announced 15 cases were confirmed at Durham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

As of noon Monday, Durham had 290 total cases countywide.

12:20 p.m.: Coronavirus cases across North Carolina are closing in on 5,000. The new total Monday stood at 4,860, with 313 people hospitalized.

Ninety-five people have died of complications from the virus in North Carolina, a number that has more than doubled in just a week.

11:50 a.m.: ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos has tested positive for Covid-19.

Stephanopoulos, who anchors "Good Morning America," announced his coronavirus diagnosis on the morning news show Monday. He said he has no symptoms.

11:30 a.m.: Triage tents set up outside Triangle area hospitals to separate patients who present with coronavirus symptoms from others survived the high winds of Monday morning's storms.

Both WakeMed and UNC Rex reported no damage to their tents. At UNC Rex, access to tents was blocked through 10:30 a.m. while the storms blew through.

11:15 a.m.: Louisburg Nursing Center in Franklin County got back coronavirus test results for 61 patients and staff Monday. There are 47 total positives – 35 residents and 12 staff members. Two people associated with the center have died of complications from COVID-19.

10:20 a.m.: The Supreme Court will hear major cases on President Donald Trump's financial documents, religious freedom and the Electoral College via telephone next month.

"In keeping with public health guidance in response to Covid-19, the justices and counsel will all participate remotely," the court announced in a statement.

9:20 a.m.: A sailor who tested positive for Covid-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt has died of the coronavirus, the US Navy said Monday.

The Navy did not disclose the name of the sailor, who was admitted to the intensive care unit of a US Navy hospital on Thursday.

Nearly 600 sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid-19, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that 92% of the Roosevelt's crew members have been tested for the virus.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Roosevelt was at the center of a controversy that led to the resignation last week of Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who had dismissed the aircraft carrier's captain Brett Crozier after the leak of a memo in which he implored Navy officials to urgently evacuate the ship to protect the health of its sailors.

9:15 a.m.: 12,722 people applied for unemployment on Saturday, bringing North Carolina's total since March 16 to 561,009.

New unemployment claims in NC

On March 18, the N.C. Division of Employment Security began sporadically releasing details on the number of cumulative unemployment claims filed since March 16, most of them triggered by layoffs related to the novel coronavirus. See how those numbers compare to cumulative new claims filed during a similar time period in 2019 and the 2009 recession, acccording to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, through July 6, 2020, the last date WRAL collected the data.

Source: N.C. DES, U.S. Department of Labor
Graphic: Tyler Dukes, WRAL

9 a.m.: President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force are scheduled for their daily update at 5 p.m., although those schedules often slide later.

Gov. Roy Cooper and the state task force are scheduled to update conditions in North Carolina at 3 p.m.

Both updates will be live on WRAL-TV and WRAL.com.

7 a.m.: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools have also canceled serving student meals due to the weather risk. Meals will resume on Tuesday.

6:15 a.m.: Wake County canceled scheduled meals for student Monday due to the risk for severe weather.

The school district is accepting donations of food and money to support student meals while in-person classes are suspended.

5:15 a.m.: This morning, students in Wake County will back in the classroom via online learning.

According to the district, the remote learning will not replace classroom instruction but will provide continuous learning opportunities. Most teachers will use Canvas, Google Classroom or Seesaw to reach their students.

For those students who don’t have access to internet, the district is expected to receive more than 10,000 hot spot devices that will be distributed this week. UNC-TV and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction are also expanding their educational programming for all students.

Some Wake County students and parents are pushing for letter grades on the spring report card instead of a simple pass/fail. The district is waiting for additional guidance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Schools will reopen sometime after May 15.

5:00 a.m.: Keep an eye on your bank account. Millions of Americans will get coronavirus stimulus payments by this Wednesday.

The first payments will be to people who filed tax returns in 2019 or 2018 and received funds via direct deposit. Social security recipients will have to wait until later this month. Paper checks will start going out in May.

4:30 a.m.: A group of church-goers in Kentucky were cited Sunday for attending an Easter service despite stay-at-home orders. Kentucky troopers cited license plates and left notices on every car's windshield, while the owners were inside congregating.

"We really wanted together for Easter," said Bevelyn Beatty who traveled to Kentucky from New Jersey to attend the service. "I have never not went to church for Easter and I refuse to do it even with the situation going on my Lord is more important."

4:15 a.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper's new social distancing rules for businesses will take effect Monday.

Starting at 5 p.m., there will be new limits on the number of people inside a store at one time. There will also be markings showing 6 feet of distance in stores and more frequent cleaning procedures. People who violate these new guidelines can face citations.

4:00 a.m.: Wake County Public Schools announced late Sunday night that lunch services at all sites have been canceled for Monday due to the impending threat of sever weather. The school system had been continuing to provide lunches despite the schools being closed due to the pandemic.

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