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Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, April 6, 2020: Cumberland infant tests positive

Posted April 6, 2020 3:55 a.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2020 2:49 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:

Latest updates:

6:45 p.m.: Six North Carolina residents have died of coronavirus-related complications on Monday, including three in Mecklenburg County and one in Moore County.

6:15 p.m.: A Cumberland County infant has become one of the latest cases of COVID-19 in the state. The county reported eight new cases Monday, including a child who is almost 1 year old.

5:50 p.m.: 3M has reached a deal with the Trump administration to produce 55.5 million surgical masks each month under the Defense Production Act, President Donald Trump said. Apple has agreed to make 1 million face shields per week for health care providers, he said.

5:45 p.m.: President Donald Trump said about $40 billion in loan applications have been filed under the Paycheck Protection Program, a $350 billion effort to help small businesses hit by the pandemic keep workers on their payrolls.

5:30 p.m.: The Wake County Board of Commissioners has approved spending $8.8 million from the county's fund balance to defray the costs of the county’s ongoing COVID-19 response. Commissioners last month granted $2 million toward expenses associated with COVID-19 emergency response.

Through the end of last week, estimated costs associated with the response totaled $3.8 million.

"Our lives – and our community – have been turned upside down with the new reality of social distancing and staying at home,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford said in a statement. "It’s obvious that our COVID-19 response is a marathon, not a sprint, and Wake County is ready to continue serving our residents as we navigate this uncertain time."

The new funds will help purchase protective gear for first responders, help pay for emergency operations center staffing and extra public health, EMS and fire response efforts.

5 p.m.: Hyde County public health officials say a coronavirus case initially attributed to the county has been shifted to another county because the person has more than one address and has been in isolation in another county. So, 91 North Carolina counties have at least one case. Statewide, more than 2,900 cases have been reported, and at least 43 people have died.

4:40 p.m.: The North Carolina Medical Board has issued about 300 emergency licenses since mid-March, primarily to out-of-state physicians, although some retired health care providers are getting their licenses reinstated to assist with coronavirus response, officials said.

4:35 p.m.: Coronavirus cases at the federal prison complex in Butner have skyrocketed, from 11 reported cases on Sunday to 59 on Monday, according to local health and federal prison officials.

4:30 p.m.: Support personnel for the 44th Medical Brigade will deploy from Fort Bragg to New York City on Tuesday to provide command and control over two temporary field hospitals at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the pandemic. The two temporary field hospitals recently deployed from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Fort Hood, Texas.

4:25 p.m.: South Carolina is one of only nine states without a stay-at-home order during the pandemic, but Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, isn't publicly criticizing South Carolina officials for that.

"Every state has to look at its own data and make decisions," Cohen said, noting that all data North Carolina officials have reviewed shows that early, decisive action is best to limit the spread of the coronavirus. "Acting now, acting early helps us get ahead, and it buys us time to do the important work that [emergency management officials] are doing in terms of getting the resources we need."

4:10 p.m.: North Carolina has been able to obtain 600,000 surgical masks from a private supplier, more than the state has received from the federal emergency stockpile, State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said.

"We still need all types of personal protective equipment," Sprayberry said.

4:05 p.m.: U.S. stocks surged 7 percent on Monday, building on a global rally, on early signs that the rate of increase in corona virus deaths could be slowing.

4 p.m.: Three Cumberland County Schools teachers are using 3-D printers at Terry Sanford High School to produce protective masks for the Fayetteville Police Department.

"Our production goal is to create at least 500 protective masks for the Fayetteville Police Department. We will continue to manufacture them until our materials are depleted," Brian Thompson, a science teacher at Terry Sanford High, said in a statement.

3:55 p.m.: Wake Technical Community College is loaning its only ventilator to WakeMed for use during the coronavirus pandemic. The ventilator was purchased last year for the college’s EMS degree program but has never been used. Wake Tech’s health sciences programs have also donated much-needed personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to WakeMed and other area hospitals.

3:35 p.m.: Wake County's reserves of cleaning supplies and protective equipment are running low, so officials are asking people with a surplus to donate to the county to help protect first responders and service staff involved in the COVID-19 response.

"We’re completely out of spray cleaner, and our stock of masks and gloves is so limited that we can’t fulfill all the requests coming in from our partner agencies," Darrell Alford, Wake County Emergency Operations Center manager, said in a statement. "Donations from the public will go a long way to helping increase our supply and keep our employees healthy and safe."

The county is accepting the following items: hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and wipes, N95 face masks (no cloth or homemade masks), exam gloves and antibacterial soap. Only unused or unopened items can be accepted.

Anyone interested in donating can call 919-856-6946 or email volunteer-donations@wakeeoc.com to arrange a time to pick up or drop off the supplies.

3:30 p.m.: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsen.

2:20 p.m.: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health are helping develop and test EIDD-2801, a potential treatment for COVID-19.

When given 12 or 24 hours after infection has begun, EIDD-2801 can reduce the degree of lung damage and weight loss in mice, according to a study published Monday. That window of opportunity is expected to be longer in humans because the period between coronavirus disease onset and death is generally extended in humans compared to mice.

"This new drug not only has high potential for treating COVID-19 patients but also appears effective for the treatment of other serious coronavirus infections,” said William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology Ralph Baric, the senior author on the study.

Compared with other potential COVID-19 treatments that must be administered intravenously, EIDD-2801 can be delivered by mouth as a pill. In addition to ease of treatment, it offers a potential advantage for treating less-ill patients or for prophylaxis – for example, in a nursing home where many people have been exposed but are not yet sick.

2 p.m.: As state prison officials prepare for a two-week halt to new inmates to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the federal prison complex in Butner is seeing a surge of inmates testing positive. Granville County health officials report 24 cases at Butner facilities, double the number federal prison officials reported Sunday.

1:55 p.m.: Stay-at-home orders have driven demand for gasoline to its lowest level since 1993, according to AAA Carolinas.

At $1.76 a gallon for regular unleaded, North Carolina’s average price is 8 cents cheaper than a week ago, 47 cents cheaper than early March and 85 cents cheaper from this time last year.

1:50 p.m.: Hillsborough police are charging a man with violating the statewide stay-at-home order. Police say Tocee Mitchell hosted a block party Sunday evening on Riddle Road that attracted several dozen people. Officers first warned him that the gathering violated Gov. Cooper's order, which limits gatherings to 10 people. About an hour later, police returned and ordered everyone to disperse.

1:40 p.m.: To stop the spread of coronavirus, the North Carolina Division of Prisons will not accept offenders from county jails and will dramatically reduce the transfers of inmates within state prisons for two weeks, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Over the past week, seven inmates in state prisons have tested positive for coronavirus at three different prisons: one at Johnston Correctional in Smithfield, two at Caledonia Correctional in Halifax County and four at Neuse Correctional in Goldsboro. Over the weekend, face masks were distributed to all staff and offenders at those prisons.

"We must deny this virus the opportunity to spread," Todd Ishee, commissioner of prisons, said in a statement. "It has gotten into three of our prisons, and we must contain it there to the greatest degree possible. This is imperative for the health and safety of our staff and the men and women who are in our care."

Offenders will continue to be transferred over the next two weeks for the following reasons: to comply with court orders, for medical or mental health reasons, for security purposes to address critical incidents within prisons, or to release offenders who have completed their prison sentences.

Prison officials are already shifting inmates scheduled for release over the next two weeks to areas close to their homes, where they will be released in accordance with their individual release plans. No offender will remain incarcerated past a scheduled release date. New inmates in the prison system who have remained free of COVID-19 symptoms are being transferred to their assigned prisons over the next two days.

New inmates already have gone through a 14-day quarantine following an initial medical screening for potential COVID-19 symptoms.

Staff medical screenings have been enacted at every prison, including temperature checks, in an additional effort to reduce the chances the virus gets into a prison.

Inmates working for Correction Enterprises are producing face shields, hospital-style gowns and washable face masks. All staff and every inmate will get a face mask once enough are manufactured. In addition, Correction Enterprises is producing large quantities of sanitizer and hand lotion to be used in all the prisons.

1:35 p.m.: Allstate plans to provide more than $600 million to its auto insurance customers over the next two months, saying they are driving less and having fewer accidents during the pandemic.

The company also is offering Allstate Identity Protection free for the rest of the year to all U.S. residents to battle COVID-19-related phishing scams.

11:30 a.m.: Almost 2,900 people in North Carolina have been diagnosed with coronavirus, and 40 have died as of Monday. Mecklenberg County counts the most cases, with 744. Wake County has 304.

11:15 a.m.: Amtrak suspended service Monday on its Carolinian route, which runs from Charlotte to New York. Travelers with existing reservations can make a change without a fee before May 31. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days.

The Piedmont route, between Charlotte and Raleigh, is operating on a reduced schedule.

11 a.m.: Sephora announced it will close all stores indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic. A portion of seasonal and part-time employees will be laid off, but 9,000 remaining employees will be paid through late May or until stores reopen.

10:51 a.m.: The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945. Golf's oldest championship will rotate next year to Royal St. George's, and the 150th Open will be played at St. Andrews to 2022.

Golf organizations were expected to announced later Monday the PGA Championship moving to August, the U.S. Open going to September and the Masters to be played in November, two weeks before Thanksgiving.

10:45 a.m.: Christian Lawson, a registered nurse and the UNC Medical Center's Clinical Director of Emergency Services in Chapel Hill, held a teleconference to talk about UNC Health's response to COVID-19.

Lawson referenced the national shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, saying UNC currently has an adequate supply but is having to replenish supplies much faster than in previous years.

Lawson said health care workers treating coronavirus patients may go through one set of PPE – which includes gowns, gloves and masks – each hour.

Health care centers want to take care of their workers so they can continue responding to the health crisis. "We are not asking anyone to cut corners," Lawson said. "We want everyone to have what they need."

Lawson said that the national shortage of PPE can largely be contributed to overuse in China, where most PPE is manufactured. Because China was hit by the virus first, much of the PPE was burned up there before it got to other countries, he said.

Lawson said he sent his young son to live with his parents in rural Arkansas before the stay-at-home order was issued.

He said he is thankful he is living alone during the pandemic and doesn't have to worry about spreading illness to other household members. Whether they live alone or not, health care workers are being asked to leave their uniforms in their garages and shower immediately when they return home from work. They should wipe down phones, keys and other items they carry throughout the day.

10:30 a.m.: Urban Ministries of Wake County said its food pantry is filling 50 to 70 cars each weekday with pre-packaged groceries during the pandemic. The pharmacy has implemented curbside pickup and the shelter, The Helen Wright Center for Women, is housing women for longer hours than usual and providing more meals.

10:15 a.m.: A person in Carteret County has died due to coronavirus complications. The person was in their 80s and had several underlying medical conditions, the county said.

10 a.m.: U.S. stocks climbed more than 3% in the first few minutes of trading, following similar gains in Europe and Asia. In another sign that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy’s path, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was headed for its first gain in four days.

9:45 a.m.: Frederick Brown Starr, a long time furniture executive in the Greensboro area, died Thursday at the age of 87 from coronavirus complications, his family says.

After graduating from college, Starr served for two years in the United States Army. He moved to North Carolina, where he joined Thomasville Furniture Industries and became president and CEO eight years later. In 2001, Starr came out of retirement to become the president and CEO of Natuzzi Americas, which was based in High Point.

9:30 a.m.: A Georgia mayor claims the governor's decision to keep beaches open during the coronavirus pandemic is dangerous and confusing. Shirley Sessions, the mayor of Tybee Island, Ga., says her city shut down beaches to stop the spread of COVID-19. Later, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the beaches could be open even though he also ordered Georgians to shelter at home.

Sessions said she hopes the governor will reconsider his decision.

Most towns along the North Carolina coast are closing beach access points, even parking lots to help keep people away from each other. Even residents are being told to avoid the beach.

9:15 a.m.: Two pastors at Midway Baptist Church in Raleigh have coronavirus, the church announced on Facebook Sunday.

Another pastor from the church, which is located at 6910 Fayetteville Road, held a Facebook Live to pray for Pastor Grant and Pastor Craig. Both pastors' wives posted that their husbands are still showing symptoms. One is hospitalized.

9 a.m.: Facebook’s automated content moderation systems are working to ban ads for masks, hand sanitizer and others looking to profit from the sale of safety equipment. But people sewing much-needed masks and trying to spread the word said the system is negatively affecting them.

“The automated systems we set up to prevent the sale of medical masks needed by health workers have inadvertently blocked some efforts to donate supplies,” Facebook said in a statement. “We apologize for this error and are working to update our systems to avoid mistakes like this going forward. We don’t want to put obstacles in the way of people doing a good thing.”

8:45 a.m.: Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare message of hope to Britain on Sunday, promising the nation that it would rise to the challenge and overcome the outbreak. The queen gives yearly Christmas messages but has given an address like this on only three previous occasions.

She delivered speeches after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, before the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, and at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991.

8:30 a.m.: A quarantine order was lifted Monday on the Grand Princess Cruise Ship, allowing more than 600 crew members to move freely.

The ship is now out at sea for routine marine operations. It will return to San Francisco early next week. It was docked for nearly three weeks after 21 people aboard tested positive for coronavirus.

8:15 a.m.: Two Johnston County ABC store employees have tested negative for coronavirus. The employees were self-isolating on April 2 after they mentioned possible exposure to COVID-19. The store at McGee's Crossroads is deemed an essential business and stayed open while the employees waited on the results.

8:00 a.m.: The Town of Wake Forest is introducing its first-ever Stay Strong Wake Forest Spirit Week.

Each day this week has a different theme -- dress up like a superhero day, crazy hair day, build a fort day and more. Families are encouraged to share photos on social media using the hashtag #StayStrongWFSpiritWeek

7:45 a.m.: Duran Duran bassist John Taylor says he is recovering after testing positive for coronavirus three weeks ago. Taylor self-quarantined and said he was compelled to speak out "in answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic."

7:30 a.m.: Each Monday in April, health care workers can pick up a free dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme.

7:15 a.m.: A Michigan man and his wife duct taped tent poles together to create a social distancing device they can wear in public. He did it to make people smile and spread the message of the importance of social distancing.

"People immediately knew what this was and it was social distancing," said Dan Kuhnle. "I didn't have to say much."

7:00 a.m.: On Monday, the Wake County Board Of Commissioners will hold a virtual meeting in compliance with the state's stay-at-home order. Commissioners plan to vote on an $8.8 million funding package that will be used to pay for the county's ongoing response to the pandemic.

Last month, commissioners granted $2 million in funding for COVID-19 response.

6:45 a.m.: On Wednesday, a quarantine will be lifted in the city where the global pandemic began. Wuhan, China has been under lockdown since January. Workers are already busy knocking down barriers and opening up streets. China reports 3,300 deaths due to the virus.

South Korea on Monday reported 47 new cases of the coronavirus, the smallest daily jump since Feb. 20.

6:30 a.m.: The NBA is considering a unique way to return to TV. The league is working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition where players would go head-to-head over video, potentially from their home gyms. The NBA was the first major pro-sports league in the U.S. with confirmed cases of the virus among players.

6:15 a.m.: A local restaurant chain will kick off its community give back program Monday. For every meal purchased at the 11 First Watch locations in the Triangle this week, they will donate a meal to one of our local health care systems.

6:00 a.m.: The number of North Carolinians filing for unemployment benefits continues to rise. On Monday, more than 26,000 people in the state filed applications, bringing the total to more than 407,000 applications since March 16.

According to the Department of Commerce, more than 355,000 people said their claim was connected to COVID-19.

5:45 a.m.: Japan's prime minister says he will announce a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday.

5:30 a.m.: Meals on Wheels has implemented a different process for both those getting the meals and the volunteers delivering them.

Instead of volunteers getting out of their cars to pick-up meals, the food will be loaded into a volunteer's car in a drive-thru setting. Starting Monday, those in the program will receive a week's worth of frozen meals instead of a hot meal every day.

The organization says this is all an effort to protect volunteers and the seniors who rely on their service.

5:15 a.m.: On Monday, new grocery store rules will go into effect to protect seniors in Spring Hope. Between 7 and 8 a.m. on weekdays, all supermarkets, discount stores and other stores selling grocery items can only open for people ages 62 and up. Spring Hope police officers will monitor and enforce the rule.

5:00 a.m.: Wake Prevents will offer financial assistance starting Monday for some families living in hotels.

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.

There are now more than 2,600 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina. The number of deaths has quadrupled in a week to 48.

4:30 a.m.: American Airlines announced it is cutting nearly all of its flights to the New York City area. American is following the example of other airlines, like United, by stopping flights to New York City, the epicenter of the virus.

Between April 9 and May 6, American will operate a total of 13 daily flights from New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports and New Jersey’s Newark, it said, down from an average of 271 daily flights across all three airports in April 2019.

According to RDU, the TSA has seen a 94% decrease in passengers. Before the pandemic, RDU had service to 57 non-stop destinations. Now it is down to 36.

4:15 a.m.: The federal government will deliver an additional 6,000 N95 masks to New York City, the epicenter of the virus, following a request from Mayor DeBlasio. New York City has nearly 40% of the cases in the U.S.

There are now at least 337,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 9,614 deaths. The U.S. has now tested and given results to 1.67 milion people.

4:00 a.m.: Monday will be the last day Durham Public Schools will distribute meals to needy students.

Although many families depend on the meals, school officials say they had to shut it down after an employee who was distributing food and instructional materials at Bethesda Elementary School tested positive for the virus.

A week's worth of student lunches will be handed out at 13 schools on Monday before the system shuts down.

Families looking for meal assistance can contact No Kid Hungry, which is providing food options for people in Durham. Text FOODNC to 877-877 for information.

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