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Coronavirus in NC live updates for May 16, 2020: FDA grants permission for at-home virus testing

Posted May 16, 2020 7:22 a.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2020 10:12 a.m. EDT

Testing and research

— Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus from North Carolina and across the globe showing the pandemic’s impact on health, jobs, schools and more:

At least 18,056 people in 99 North Carolina counties have tested positive for the coronavirus, at least 669 people have died and another 520 or so remain in the hospital. More than 9,100 have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, the illness associated with the virus.

Latest updates

6:44 p.m.: Durham County is reporting 12 new COVID-19 cases and now has 980 overall, health officials said Saturday. That includes over 200 at five nursing and rehabilitation centers.

5 p.m.: The class of 2020 is graduating during a very unique time in history--in the middle of a historic pandemic. Many life milestones like proms and graduations were canceled in the wake of COVID-19.

A national telecast will provide a virtual graduation, bringing together the class of 2020 to celebrate from a distance.

“Anyone who has the honor of holding a diploma with the year 2020 on it knows how to overcome unimaginable challenges,” said State Superintendent Mark Johnson. “In North Carolina, we say that we are where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great. Our graduates are certainly strong, so now I encourage them to go grow great.”

The national telecast will air on more than 30 broadcast and cable networks. Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 is a one-hour, commercial-free primetime graduation special to be broadcast Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m.

During the broadcast, viewers will be directed to XQ’s new Rethink Together online forum, which will feature specific content for each state, including a congratulatory message from Superintendent Johnson and stories highlighting the resiliency and strength of students, teachers and schools amid the pandemic.

4:33 p.m.: Cumberland County officials report three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total in that county to 459.

4:30 p.m.: On Thursday local multiple church leaders filed a lawsuit against Governor Cooper's executive order for Phase One of reopening the state during the pandemic. The current order only allowed groups of 10 people or less to gather indoors.

The church leaders won a temporary restraining order on Saturday, allowing them to gather in larger groups, such that the executive order will not impact them for at least 14 days.

3:30 p.m.: Lines are out the door to get a free antibody test offered at the Blood Connection in Raleigh. For someone with an appointment, the average wait time is an hour to an hour and a half, according to a spokesperson from the organization.

"Because the building's not any bigger, we didn't add any chairs," Allie Van Dyke, media coordinator for the Blood Connection, said. "We would squeeze people in if not a pandemic."

The Blood Connection provides plasma to Wake Med Health and UNC Rex healthcare. The wait times have been long all week, in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The center on 5925 Glenwood Ave. is the only testing and donation center in Raleigh. They have 13 to 15 bloodmobiles travel around central and eastern North Carolina.

2:30 p.m.: Fayetteville State University is hosting a national, historical black college and university (HCBU) commencement today. To watch the commencement, register at essence studios.

1:30 p.m.: The F.D.A. granted emergency clearance for a testing kit that lets people take a nasal sample at home and sent it to a laboratory for diagnostic testing, the New York Times reports.

12 p.m.: Over 800 new cases were reported by the state in the past 24 hours. That's the largest spike in cases the state has had since the pandemic began. Gov. Roy Cooper's three- phase plan to reopen the state requires a reduction or stabilization in three main metrics: cases of coronavirus, percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations.

Phase One of Gov. Cooper's plan to reopen the state allows some businesses to reopen at 50% capacity and parks and trails also to reopen. Progress on those metrics during Phase One, would allow for the state to move to Phase 2 as soon as May 22.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said on May 5 that most of the trends were headed in the right direction. There was a drop of the number of people reporting symptoms of COVID-19, expanded testing for the virus, a lower percentage of positive tests and a flat trend of hospitalizations.

11 a.m.: A staff member at the at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center tested positive for the virus yesterday. As a result, juveniles at the center in Concord will be tested for the coronavirus over the next couple days.

Two juvenile living units could have had contact with the staff member, according to the director of the development center.

The director said "no juveniles have displayed any symptoms associated with COVID-19."

10 a.m.: O2 Fitness gyms said it will reopen in North Carolina next Saturday if the state lifts some of its restrictions on gyms being closed. They are outlining sanitation guidelines for their staff and customers. Everyone is required to wear a mask who comes into the gym, staff has to have temperature checks and people have to stay six feet apart.

9 a.m.: House of Raeford Farms is holding another chicken sale today at 9 In the Old Wallace Walmart Parking Lot, 40 pound cases of jumbo drumsticks for $26 and jumbo bone-in skin-on thighs for $25 will be available. The address is 807 N. Norwood St.

8:30 a.m.: Amazon confirms two employees at its Durham site on Hoover Road have tested positive for coronavirus. The staff at the site have been notified, and people who came in contact with the employees are in self-quarantine, according to a spokesperson from the site.

8 a.m.: Over 250,000 people in the United States have recovered from the coronavirus, Johns Hopkins University reports. Around 1.4 million cases have been confirmed of the virus in the U.S.

7:30 a.m.: Harris Teeter is offering drive-thru testing at three of its stores today.

  • Guilford County at the City of High Point Parking Deck on 120 West Commerce Ave. in High Point

  • Hoke County on Don Steed Elementary School at 800 Philippi Church Rd. in Raeford

  • Charleston County on Charleston Convention Center at 5000 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston, SC

Testing will be conducted three days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments will be available each Friday, Saturday and Monday through May 30, with the exception of Memorial Day.

7 a.m.: A new drive-thru coronavirus testing site opened at Walmart in Columbus County. Although that's one of the state's least-populated counties, cases there are skyrocketing.

The Walmart is located in Whiteville at 200 Columbus Corners Drive.

Walmart is part of the community, and is proud to help support the expansion of COVID-19 testing in Whiteville during this unprecedented time,” Brooke Mueller, Walmart Public Affairs Director for North Carolina told WECT. “We are grateful to our associates who keep our stores running, our pharmacists who support these testing sites, and to eTrueNorth and local officials as we work together to open the site and help our community.”

To get tested, call ahead and make an appointment.

6:30 a.m.: The Chinese American Friendship Association is working with the NAACP to do a meal and mask giveaway for the homeless in downtown Raleigh today. The giveaway starts at 11:30 a.m. and is located at South Wilmington Street Center on 1420 S. Wilmington St.

6 a.m.: Dreamville Festival officials said they will not be holding this year's event due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement on its website, organizers said:

"After much deliberation and careful monitoring of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Dreamville Festival 2020. Although we originally hoped it would be possible to bring you the festival this August, the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made this timeline no longer possible. This decision has been extremely difficult to make, but the safety of our fans, artists, and staff is always our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over your well-being.

"All 2020 event ticket holders, including those that previously requested a refund, will be automatically refunded on, or before May 22nd, and it will take 7-10 days for the funds to be returned to your original method of payment if you purchased your tickets through Front Gate Tickets. We understand that this is a difficult time for many and sincerely apologize to those who were waiting on their refund as we worked through unforeseen delays in processing due to the pandemic."

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