Coronavirus coverage in North Carolina, April 24, 2020: Durham records 10th death, more infections at nursing homes
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:
- There are 8,267 people in 93 North Carolina counties who have tested positive for the coronavirus. There are at least 1,147 confirmed cases statewide of people recovering from the virus, although many counties aren't reporting those numbers.
- Why WRAL shows more cases than others
- At least 295 people have died in North Carolina, and about 480 people are hospitalized, although many hospitals don't report their cases.
- A statewide stay-at-home order has been extended until at least May 8, but Gov. Roy Cooper has laid out a three-phase plan for reopening businesses and social activities if data shows the virus is waning.
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Separately, Durham County reported its 10th virus related death.
People must observe social distancing guidelines, and groups are limited to no more than 10 people.
Financial support can be collected online, through the mail or via a system that lets people drop off donations in a drive-thru fashion. Weekly bulletins can be emailed, put online or on unattended tables where people can grab them while maintaining distance from others.
As for communion, officials suggested allowing church members to bring their own sacraments to the [drive-in] service, place the sacraments in self-serve packages for easy pickup prior to the day of the service and/or put the sacraments in self-serve packages and leave them on a table for convenient drive-by pickup right before the service begins."
The guidance came after the Alliance Defending Freedom group sent a letter to county officials calling restrictions on churches under the stay-at-home order unconstitutional. The group noted businesses are allowed to serve food and collect payments through curbside pick-up or delivery, so churches should have similar flexibility.
Late Friday night, ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker said in a press release "We commend Wake County for taking action this evening. We look forward to churches being able to conduct drive-in services with the freedom to safely serve communion and receive donations this Sunday without fear of government punishment."
Overall, 53 of the 61 residents in Louisburg Nursing Center have tested positive for the virus, as have 12 staff members.
Louisburg Nursing Center has, by far, the highest death toll from the virus of any assisted living center in central North Carolina.
"The virus, like it doesn't respect county lines, it doesn't respect state lines either," Cooper said, noting that he planned to speak with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp later Friday afternoon.
The state has formed partnerships with AT&T to provide 100 Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses and with the Duke Energy Foundation for another 80 hotspots to help students without internet access continue with online learning, Cooper said.
"We don't want there to be any confusion about whether residents should be taking proper measures to protect their health," Deberry said in a statement. "Individuals who cover their faces to intimidate others or as part of a criminal act or enterprise will continue to be held accountable."
Officials said the store has undergone a deep cleaning and sanitization.
One of the recent emergency spending laws authorized the Treasury Department to extend a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service, and the newspaper reports that the president wants to use the loan as a means to extract major changes at the organization.
One was an inmate at Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro, and the second was a person older than 70 in a long-term care facility.
Under the new order, "non-essential" businesses can provide curbside pick-up or delivery services, provided they meet certain rules. Also, real estate agents can now show vacant homes up to three times a day instead of just one. In-person showings of occupied homes are still prohibited.
The FDA warned Friday that people should not take chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 outside of a hospital or formal clinical trial, citing reports of "serious heart rhythm problems." Many of those adverse effects occurred in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.
“Doc, honestly, is the Corona virus stuff for real or is this all overblown?”
“Doc, how long is this going to last, we have to reopen the economy?”
He said, "Facts: Yes, the COVID-19 virus is indeed for real and extremely dangerous. It is dangerous because 1). No human has ever gotten it before. It is new. We have no immunity 2). It is highly contagious. You can get and spread the virus without even being sick, and it is easily spread by coughing and survives on surfaces for days so you can get it without knowing how and 3). Since it is new we in medicine, don’t know how to treat it. We have no proven medicines. It appears to be much more deadly than the flu. The percentage, we don’t know for sure yet, but that really doesn’t matter at this point, does it? It is bad. People are dying in large numbers."
"We can argue percentages and statistics, but we must slow this thing down to give our doctors and researchers time to see what medicine can help prevent deaths and how to best treat the virus. We will figure it out, but it will take some time. We need that time. Please help us save lives by doing your part."
The state's largest health insurer said its efforts to eliminate co-pays and deductibles for coronavirus testing and treatment and expanding telehealth options will cost about $313 million. Extending grace periods for employers and individuals to pay premiums during a crippled economy and enhancing its claims processing will cost another $275 million.
The company also has provided about $5 million in aid to are nonprofits trying to help people during the crisis.
New unemployment data shows more people are out of work in North Carolina than are working in the Raleigh-Cary metro area, and economists said it'll get worse before it improves.
The Triangle's quick growth and culture of small businesses, start-ups and tech entrepreneurs that typically produces a thriving and creative workforce is part of the reason the area has been so hard hit.
“This is ironic – our faster growth in recent years has attracted numerous small businesses and start-ups. With many of these businesses not being well-established, they don’t have the resources to fall back on during an economic shutdown. Their only option is to dramatically scale back or close," said Mike Walden, a North Carolina State University economist.
“Any death is a tragedy, and we are doing our best to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in prisons,” Todd Ishee, state commissioner of prisons, said in a statement.
This is the second coronavirus death of an individual in custody at a North Carolina state prison.
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