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Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, March 27, 2020: Rowan County resident is now fourth in NC to die from COVID-19

Posted March 27, 2020 4:29 a.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2020 7:01 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:

  • At least 869 people in North Carolina in 61 counties have tested positive for the coronavirus. Four North Carolina residents have died.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statewide stay-at-home order that takes effect at 5 p.m. March 30. Any local orders with tighter restrictions take precedence over the state order.
  • Businesses that remain open under the statewide order are encouraged to take the temperatures of all employees and customers before allowing them inside and to exercise "social distancing."
  • President Donald Trump has signed a $2.2 trillion relief package into law that will send payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and help small businesses.
  • All schools statewide are closed through May 15. Online learning and teaching is in place.
  • The State Department has warned all U.S. citizens not to travel internationally.
  • The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed one year, to summer 2021.
  • 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.

Important links:

Get details on NC cases:

Latest updates:

8:23 p.m.: Two daycare workers in Wilson who were being tested for COVID-19 came back negative, the daycare's owner said on Friday. Connie Holt said the daycare is still closed but she was happy the results came back negative. Here is a link to the story we did originally.

7:56 p.m.: The Rowan County Health Department said a patient who tested positive for coronavirus has died. The patient was in the high risk category due to age and underlying medical conditions. They were a resident of Rowan County.

The death is now the fourth in the state. A resident in Johnston, Cabarrus and Harnett counties died from COVID-19.

7:20 p.m.: State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has activated an emergency declaration that will defer health, auto and property insurance premium payments for residents in all 100 counties. The action is allowed when a disaster declaration has been issued, he said.

"My hope is this deferral will provide policyholders breathing room while they get back on their feet as a result of economic hardships due to the COVID-19 health emergency," Causey said in a statement, noting that once the deferral expires, policyholders will be required to bring their payments current to avoid cancellation.

6:15 p.m.: President Donald Trump said "we're not playing games" in reference to orders by some governors intercepting travelers at state borders and putting them into quarantine. He said the country needs to prevent the coronavirus from moving from hotspots like New York City to other areas.

6:05 p.m.: President Donald Trump has authorized the armed services to call as many as 1 million reservists, including retirees, into active duty to battle the pandemic. The call-up for members of the ready Reserve wouldn't exceed 24 months.

"No effort will be spared to win this war," Trump said.

6 p.m.: President Donald Trump said more than 100,000 ventilators will be produced in the next 100 days as companies ramp up production or shift other production lines to make the needed devices. Boeing will dedicate three planes to deliver medical supplies to hospitals, he said.

5:55 p.m.: Confirmed coronavirus infections top 100,000 in the U.S., and more than 1,500 people have died, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

5:40 p.m.: Cape Fear Valley Health will temporarily furlough approximately 300 employees, effective Sunday, because of the pandemic.

The number of patients going through the Emergency Department has dropped by 25 percent in recent weeks, and one-third of in-patient beds are empty to prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients, officials said. The hospital system also has scaled back some office functions to encourage "social distancing."

Nurses and nursing assistants in affected areas will be offered needed temporary positions at the health system’s hospitals. As the number of COVID-19 patients increase, the health system anticipates a temporary increased need for staffing in a multitude of areas across the health system. Qualified furloughed employees will be offered these temporary positions at their normal rate of pay, officials said.

5:15 p.m.: Wake County Chief Magistrate Chris Graves has suspended all weddings performed by county magistrates during the pandemic.

4:45 p.m.: President Donald Trump has signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill into law to provide payments to most Americans and rescue virus-hit businesses.

4:30 p.m.: The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that more than a dozen inmates and staffers have tested positive for the new coronavirus, including someone who works at the Butner facility in Granville County. The person is isolated at home, officials said.

Federal prisons have limited visitors and inmates movement and have implemented "social distancing" for inmates and staffers.

4:05 p.m.: President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to order General Motors to begin producing ventilators to help hospitals treat COVID-19 patients.

4 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It takes effect at 5 p.m. Monday.

"It's what we have to do to save lives," Cooper said at a news conference. "These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously. Although we're physically apart, we must take these steps together in spirit."

4 p.m.: Stocks closed 3 percent lower but still held on to weekly gains after a rally this week as the $2.2 trillion virus-related aid bill passed.

3:30 p.m.: Fayetteville has closed city parks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

3:20 p.m.: The volume of calls to New York City's 911 center for EMS assistance during the pandemic has topped the rate following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. According to MSNBC, the New York Fire Department had 170 calls on hold simultaneously at one point.

3 p.m.: A North Carolina Central University student has reported a positive coronavirus test to university officials. The student is isolated off campus.

The student, who lives off campus, reported being in the Eagle Landing Residence Hall on last Saturday, and N.C. Central officials are working with county public health officials to trace and notify potential exposures.

2:35 p.m.: The Hoke County Sheriff's Office is threatening to arrest "any person seen in a gambling business as well as the manager and property owners" because they are violating an order issued this week by Gov. Roy Cooper ordering sweepstakes and bingo parlors, among other businesses, to close to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

2:15 p.m.: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving some regulations to stabilize the gasoline supply in the coming months. Because of a dropoff in demand during the coronavirus outbreak, wholesalers have an excess supply of gas blended for use in colder months and will need to continue selling it as the weather warms before refineries can switch over to summer-blend gas, officials said.

1:35 p.m.: The State Board of Education has voted to grade students statewide based on work completed through March 13 and to adjust high school graduation requirements because of extended school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

1:30 p.m.: The U.S. House has approved a $2.2 trillion rescue package for the virus-ravaged economy and health system, rushing it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

1 p.m.: N.C. State mechanical engineering students are producing plastic face shields for health care workers in a machine shop on Centennial Campus.

12:25 p.m.: The state Department of Health and Human Services has started providing demographic information about North Carolina's coronavirus cases. Of the 831 cases to date, 51 percent are women, although all three of the people who have died from virus-related complications were men.

Although health care experts say seniors are a high-risk group, only 14 percent of cases in the state are age 65 or older. People ages 25 to 49 accounted for nearly half of cases – 47 percent – while people ages 50 to 64 made up another 24 percent. One percent of cases were youths 17 or younger, while 13 percent were in people ages 18 to 24.

12:15 p.m.: A U.S. House member from Kentucky is demanding a recorded vote on the proposed $2 trillion stimulus bill to help the battered U.S. economy. Republican Thomas Massie's move could delay passage of the relief package because a quorum of 216 members would be needed rather than a simple voice vote of members present.

In a series of tweets announcing his plan to request a full vote, Massie argued the unprecedented rescue measure spends too much taxpayer money, CNBC reports.

11:30 a.m.: Mecklenburg County has reported 78 new coronavirus cases since Thursday, bringing the county total to 259 and the statewide total to 771.

9:45 a.m.: A Johnston County man died Thursday from complications associated with coronavirus. The patient was in his or her mid-60s and had underlying medical conditions, county officials said.

This is the third North Carolina resident to die from the virus, following a Cabarrus County man on Tuesday and a Harnett County man on Wednesday.

9:30 a.m.: Raleigh is shutting down athletic fields and other amenities at city parks as of 5 p.m. Friday to limit the spread of coronavirus. The only permissible use of Raleigh parks will be open park areas and greenways, where users will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines, officials said.

Athletic courts and fields, dog parks, skate parks, playgrounds, lakes, restrooms and other facilities will be closed through April 30.

9 a.m.: 160 Boston-area hospital workers tested positive for the new coronavirus.

8:30 a.m.: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has tested positive for coronavirus. On his Twitter account, Johnson said he had developed mild symptoms and was self-isolating.

8 a.m.: The U.S. House is expected to vote Friday on a $2 trillion virus-related stimulus bill that could provide financial relief for many families.

7:30 a.m.: U.S. stock futures are down after a three-day rally on Wall Street. Dow futures are down 488 points. S&P 500 futures are down 56 points, and Nasdaq futures are down 162 points.

7 a.m.: Actor Mark Blum dies of coronavirus complications at age 69. He worked on the movies "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Crocodile Dundee." Madonna posted a tribute to him on Instagram.

6:30 a.m.: Singers and performers from a local theater have taken their performances to the virtual world – belting out songs and requests on social media livestreams to entertain and inspire locals, while also raising money for North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre.

5:30 a.m.: Have questions about coronavirus? WRAL News is hosting a Virtual Town Hall with the mayors of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill at 7 p.m. Friday. People can record themselves asking a question related to coronavirus and upload it to the WRAL Facebook page for possible use during the broadcast.

5 a.m.: Fort Bragg has 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus, after two more people on post were reported to have COVID-19. One of the newest cases is a soldier, and the other is the family member of another soldier.

Both are in isolation off the post at home. Fort Bragg said one case is likely travel-related, and the other possibly caught the virus from someone they had close contact with.

4:30 a.m.: Around 1,100 Fort Bragg soldiers are preparing to deploy to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the fight against the new coronavirus.

Service members from the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command will deploy to Washington state and New York to help FEMA assist with medical, planning, transportation and logistics support.

Members from Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Carson, Colo., and Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia will also deploy.

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