Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, March 23, 2020: Trump to use law to prevent medical supply hoarding, price-gouging
Here are the latest updates on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and across the globe.Posted — Updated
What you need to know:
- At least 386 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, including two in Raleigh and Cary nursing homes. No deaths have been reported in the state.
- More than 34,000 people in the U.S. are infected, and more than 413 people have died across the country.
- Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered all schools statewide to remain closed through May 15.
- Gatherings of 50 or more people have been banned in North Carolina, necessitating the closure of movie theaters, gyms and fitness clubs, bowling alleys and sweepstakes parlors as of March 25. Barbershops, salons and some other businesses also will be closed. by executive order.
- Businesses that remain open are encouraged to take the temperatures of all employees and customers before allowing them in the building.
- The State Department has warned all U.S. citizens not to travel internationally.
- Governors in several states, not including North Carolina, have ordered all residents to remain at home aside from essential services. A report suggests 1 in 4 Americans are being asked to stay home.
- Congress is working on a $1 trillion stimulus package for the battered economy, including $1,200 checks for families.
- A toll-free Hope Line has been established for older adults experiencing isolation from social distancing. Call 1-866-578-4673 or 1-866-578-HOPE.
Get details on NC cases:
The student was last on campus on March 9 to attend a performance by the Virginia Commonwealth University Black Awakening Choir.
Anyone who attended the event and who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact their primary care physician, Shaw University said.
"Board staff and public health officials are aware that some prescription drug wholesalers are reporting shortages of these drugs," the nursing board said in a statement posted online. "Pharmacists are reminded of their ability to refuse to fill prescriptions that, in the pharmacist’s professional judgment, are not clinically appropriate."
"We will not allow anyone to exploit the suffering of American citizens for their own profit," Trump said.
Attorney General William Barr said people who have stockpiled toilet paper don't have to worry, but anyone with a warehouse full of surgical masks will face consequences.
"Our country was not built to be shut down," Trump said. "We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem."
"We cannot afford to be led by a false sense of security created by a low number of confirmed cases. We do not have the luxury to think and act based on human time. COVID-19 follows its own timeline and pathway," association President and CEO Steve Lawler wrote in the letter.
"Because of limited availability of tests and high-throughput technology, we do not have the data to fully understand the magnitude or timing of the surge," Lawler wrote. "It is imperative that we move quickly, as it will take at least two weeks after a shelter in place order is issued before we see a change in the trajectory of cases. Hospitals and physicians throughout the state believe this is the only resort left to immediately impact the growth and spread of the virus."
“The disruption a shelter-in-place order would generate for the private sector, and for North Carolina citizens whose financial well-being and overall welfare depends on their ability to work, cannot be underestimated,” Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido told chamber members.
The Carolina Dentistry Virtual Oral Health Care Helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 919-537-3088, will provide advice for non-emergency oral health needs and referrals for dental emergencies that must be addressed in person.
Oral health care providers across North Carolina may also call to speak with a specialist for patient consultations and referring patients with dental emergencies.
For after-hours urgent care, patients should call 919-537-3364.
"During this time of uncertainty – and when we have to be more physically separated from one another – it’s important that we are able to connect with art, culture, history and nature in a tangible and meaningful way,” DNCR Secretary Susi Hamilton said in a statement. “Until we’re able to welcome visitors back to our museums, historic sites, zoo, aquariums and other North Carolina cultural institutions, we hope that these resources will help keep North Carolinians informed, engaged and entertained.”
"These men and women are so dedicated, and as they work so hard to serve and protect the public during this COVID-19 pandemic, I want to make sure they know how to protect their own health too. We don’t need them getting sick or taking the virus back to their families or their communities," Chip Hughes, who has led the NIEHS Worker Training Program for 31 years, said in a statement.
"Without access to this critical medical and personal protective equipment, our ability to respond is threatened, and the well-being of patients in need and the provider teams who care for them is at grave risk," Dr. William Fulkerson, executive vice president of Duke Health, and Dr. Mary Klotman, dean of Duke's School of Medicine, wrote in the letter. "Within days, we expect our hospital system to be flooded with COVID-19 patients, and health experts suggest that this public health crisis may continue at unprecedented levels for months."
Long-term care facilities will have to bar visits by everyone except essential health care personnel under the order, except for certain compassionate care situations, such an end-of-life situation.
"Throughout this crisis, we have taken early and aggressive action to flatten the curve," he said. "I know that these actions cause hardship and heartache for a lot of people, but they're necessary to save lives."
"I'm not ready to give up on this year of school. However, we know that this pandemic will not subside anytime soon," Cooper said in announcing his executive order. "We must maximize the time left in the year as possible."
The May 15 date is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and could change again, he said.
Neomonde, a Mediterranean restaurant with locations in Raleigh and Morrisville, said it would have to lay off a "majority" of its staff in order to remain in business. The Morrisville location is closing during the outbreak, and the location on Beryl Road in Raleigh will be offering takeout, pickup and delivery.
Other stores have announced similar iniatives.
"Jeff is tired and weak and still short of breath but he will be recovering at home with his personal home nurse," the post read.
Raleigh Children and Adolescent Medicine will reopen their Duraleigh Road office Monday after the office closed Friday when a patient believed to have coronavirus passed through. The Wake County Health Department cleared them to reopen, the pediatrician said.
Several homeowners in downtown Cary hung inspirational signs reading, "Stay strong! You can do hard things," and, "Together we can make it through." Others have put up their Christmas lights.
Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have also tested positive for the virus, and several other members of Congress are in quarantine. President Trump was tested for the virus weeks ago, and that test came back negative.
"We are postponing, not canceling, our graduation ceremony," said Shaw University president Dr. Paulette Dillard. "Commencement is a momentous occasion for our graduating class and their families. They have worked and sacrificed, and it's important to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments."
While other businesses are shutting down, grocery stores and truck drivers and working hard to keep up with demand.
Despite their efforts, Triangle shelves are still running low, especially when it comes to toilet paper, meat and dairy products, dry goods and cleaners.
By clearing the kennels, shelter staff can make room for dogs and cats that may be surrendered during the virus pandemic. As a public service, county shelters must remain open so they can take in stray animals.
The SPCA of Wake County is closed but is also encouraging adoptions via a livestream on their Facebook page. Interested adopters should call the shelters and the SPCA to arrange an appointment to visit the animal.
The IOC will take up to four weeks to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics, and Canada already said it won't send a team to the games this year.
UNC and other universities extended spring break by one week and are asking students not to return to campus. Online classes will continue this week.
Public schools have sent assignments and resources to parents so they can work with their students at home.
In an effort to make its bus rides safe and easy, GoRaleigh will suspend fares and offer rear door boarding for riders to encourage social distancing. Front door access will still be available for persons with disabilities.
All Wake County playgrounds will close, forcing families to get kids' energy out elsewhere.
Many non-essential small businesses, including some retail stores and department stores, malls, gyms and spas, and others will close.
Grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, gas stations and other essential businesses will remain open. People are advised to stay home whenever possibly, venturing out only if they need food or supplies.
- Have you been temporarily laid off?
- Has your employer shut down because of COVID-19?
- Are you out of work because a coworker is isolated?
- Are you forced to quarantine and your employer doesn’t offer paid time off?
Last week alone, 42,000 people filed for unemployment in North Carolina -- that’s how many applications the state usually gets in three months.
Mary Le, who owns Beverly Nails in Cary, said she doesn’t know how her business will manage.
"We don't know what to do right now because maybe we need to play for rent," Le said. "When we stay home we don't have money."
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