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Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, April 4-5, 2020: At 38, coronavirus deaths in NC have quadrupled in a week

Posted April 5, 2020 7:08 a.m. EDT
Updated April 6, 2020 9:41 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:

Latest updates:

5:30 p.m.: Coronavirus deaths in North Carolina have more than quadrupled in a week. By Sunday evening, the state counted 38 deaths, up from just eight a week ago.

At least 2,635 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in North Carolina. That number has more than doubled in a week. Of those, 119 are known to have recovered.

Tracking coronavirus in NC

Total COVID-19 cases, deaths by county

This North Carolina map of COVID-19 cases is updated around-the-clock by the WRAL newsroom as we receive information from state and county health officials on new positive tests for the coronavirus. Click on or hover over any highlighted county in the map to see details of the cases in that county. Darker shaded counties have the highest number of cases.

Source: N.C. DHHS, local health departments
Graphic: Alex Phillips, WRAL

4:26 p.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the coronavirus. Johnson’s office says he is being admitted for tests because he still has symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Downing St. said Sunday the hospitalization is a “precautionary step,” and he remains in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.

2:56 p.m.: The North Carolina Division of Employment Security updated data on initial claims for unemployment insurance. From March 16 through April 4, 407,737 people filed for unemployment for the first time. Of those, 355,545 listed COVID-19 as their reason for losing their jobs.

2:45 p.m.: General Motors expects to deliver its first 20,000 face masks to medical workers next week after revamping production lines at its plant in Michigan. A team of 30 engineers, designers and manufacturing staff worked on the masks, taking them from development to production in a week. At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce 1.5 million masks per month.

NASCAR is also helping fight the coronavirus by making face shields for health care workers. Engineers at the NASCAR Research and Technology center in Concord are running 3D printers for up to 18 hours a day to make as many as possible.

The printers are usually used to make car parts during racing season.

2:30 p.m.: Subaru is putting production on hold at all of its Japanese factories. The company says demand around the world has dropped because of the pandemic. The factories will close from April 11 until May 10. Subaru said it will pay workers' salaries during the shutdown.

2:00 p.m.: Starting Monday, Wake County families living in hotels may be eligible for new financial assistance to pay for housing.

People qualify for financial assistance if they live in a hotel, lost income due to COVID-19 and have children who are younger than school age or who are enrolled in WCPSS or a local charter school.

To help other people living in hotels who do not qualify for financial assistance, the N.C. Department of Justice sent a letter to hotels and motels that read, "We write to inform you that evicting individuals without a court order may constitute violations of North Carolina’s landlord-tenant and consumer protection laws."

1:30 p.m.: Stay home and only go shopping for food only if it is absolutely necessary, officials say, causing many people to turn to online grocery shopping and delivery. WRAL Smart Shopper recommends shopping with Amazon Pantry, where shoppers get free delivery on orders of $35 or more.

1 p.m.: A week and a half after recording a video of a woman coughing and not covering her mouth, bus driver Jason Hargrove, a 50-year-old, married father of six, died from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to his union and city officials.

12:45 p.m.: A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers.

12:30 p.m.: The U.S. surgeon general offered some of the starkest warnings yet Sunday as he braced Americans for the worsening fallout from the new coronavirus, warning “this is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly."

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 300,000, with the death toll climbing past 8,400; more than 3,500 of those deaths are in the state of New York.

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News Sunday.

12:00 p.m.: Nearly 60 homeless people have either been suspected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, or have been exposed to someone who has, a Mecklenburg County health director says.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris told members of the General Assembly that 58 people — all but one who are homeless — are staying in a hotel leased by the county for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, display symptoms and are awaiting results, or have been exposed to someone with the virus and need somewhere to isolate.

11:30 a.m.: Burke County has reported its first coronavirus-related death, Forsyth its second and Mecklenburg its fourth. At least 37 people have died in North Carolina. Counties leading with confirmed cases in North Carolina are Mecklenburg with 664 cases and Wake County with 304.

Henderson County doubled its cases in one day, from 25 to 50, and Granville County went up significantly, from 24 to 37 cases.

According to state tallies, hospitalizations are slightly down from Saturday, from 271 to 261. About 21% of all cases are in people over the age of 65, and 85% of people who died from coronavirus are over age 65. The numbers show 6% of the state's deaths are between 25 and 49 and 10% are between 50 and 64.

11:00 a.m.: Several protesters outside a Charlotte abortion clinic were arrested Saturday for refusing to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order for the coronavirus, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

A dozen people among the roughly 50 protesters outside of A Preferred Women’s Health Center of Charlotte were issued citations for violating the emergency order when they refused to disperse as asked by officers, according to a police news release. Gov. Roy Cooper’s order prohibits mass gatherings of more than 10 people.

Of the 12, eight who still refused to comply with the order were arrested and charged for the same violation, the news release said.

10:30 a.m.: Apple is making it easier to screen for coronavirus.The company's COVID-19 website and app includes information about the virus along with a questionnaire that allows users to screen themselves for symptoms. Once the questionnaire is filled out, users are given recommended next steps.

10:15 a.m.: The City of Durham responded to a sanitary sewer overflow from a manhole at 2626 Ross Road on Saturday where approximately 39,600 gallons of wastewater flowed into a tributary of Little Lick Creek.

The spill occurred due to a buildup of rags, the city said, urging residents to stop flushing wipes or anything other than toilet paper and human waste.

"In these uncertain times, with toilet paper at a premium, it’s important to note that 'flushable' wipes are not actually flushable," a press release read. "They don’t break down sufficiently, tend to obstruct pipes, and lead to sewer overflows. If they travel all the way to one of our wastewater treatment plants, they become trapped in pumps and can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. We urge those who use wipes to place them in the trash."

10:00 a.m.: Wake County Public Libraries now has a new collection of virtual storytimes online so families can take a break and take advantage of some fun and educational programming at home, according to Go Ask Mom.

Storytimes use talking, singing, reading, writing and playing to help get children ready to read, according to the library. The library system's Storytime, Anytime page features a collection of storytimes along with some coloring pages.

9:45 a.m.: A dairy farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is dumping 2,400 pounds of milk each day because schools and grocery stores don't need it.

9:30 a.m.: More and more of our state's new coronavirus cases are happening in nursing homes and rehab centers, which have high volumes of older, at-risk residents in close quarters. Nursing facilities in Wake, Wayne, Orange, Northampton, Johnston and Cumberland counties have all been affected.

At the Springbrook Rehab and Nursing Center in Clayton, a certified nursing assistant tested positive for the virus after treating an infected resident. She is recovering at home.

9:15 a.m.: Amazon Prime Day, which is usually held in July, may be postponed until at least August. In addition, Amazon may take a $100 million loss because of excess Amazon devices they had in stock for the event.

9 a.m.: Covering your face in public is optional but now recommended by the CDC. The public should not purchase medical or N95 masks, as there is a shortage for healthcare workers, but can make their own out of fabric.

8:45 a.m.: Fayetteville, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County and Franklin County have all implemented curfews. The curfews mean no one should be out and about between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. except essential workers.

8:30 a.m.: Sunday will be a gorgeous day, with plenty of sunshine and highs in the low 70s. It's important to practice social distancing during such perfect spring weather. Hiking, bicycling and running are all encouraged during the pandemic as long as people stay 6 feet away from others.

While people still need to practice social distancing, the comfortable weather should continue to be nice for working in the garden, backyard Easter egg hunts, cooking out on the grill, playing outdoor games with children and pets and going for neighborhood walks.

8:15 a.m.: WRAL and FOX 50 will offer a live broadcast of the Palm Sunday service at Hayes Barton Baptist Church at 11 a.m. Palm Sunday online: Triangle churches turn to streaming to connect communities for Sunday services

8:00 a.m.: A Wilmington furniture store was cited by police for remaining open during the pandemic. Furniture stores that sell small appliances, which the store does, are allowed to keep their doors open, but police gave them a ticket because they didn't have the rest of their furniture roped off.

Police gave the manager 24 hours to make the changes then returned with a citation. The manager said the rules keep changing, and he didn't know the furniture in his store had to be roped off.

7:45 a.m.: All 11 First Watch cafes in eastern North Carolina will donate a meal to health care workers at Rex, Duke/Raleigh Hospital and WakeMed each time a customer purchases a meal April 6-10. Called #FirstWatchitforward, the meals will be delivered starting April 13.

7:30 a.m.: HBO is making it a little easier for Americans to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The network is offering 500 hours of its programming free for a limited time. It's all part of its hashtag "Stay Home Box Office."

The promotion starts Sunday and includes shows like "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and "Veep." Some documentaries and Warner Brothers movies will also be available.

7:15 a.m.: Tourism dollars in the Triangle are taking a major hit. The CEO of Visit Raleigh, Dennis Edwards, estimates the Triangle has lost $27.7 million in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The list of cancellations includes conventions, sporting events, corporate travel and vacations.

7 a.m.: Confirmed coronavirus cases have surged this weekend. Our state now has 2,484 cases, more than 250 more than the number reported Saturday morning.

The number of hospitalizations is also up. It stands at 271, or 20 more than this time Saturday. Four more people have died, bringing the state total up to 34.

Across the U.S., there are more than 312,000 cases. Nearly 8,500 people have died. More than 1,300 of those deaths were reported yesterday, the country's largest single-day death toll.

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