Coronavirus updates: North Carolina – Sunday, April 5

BIGGEST ONE-DAY SURGE

North Carolina has at least 2,542 cases of coronavirus as of Sunday morning, and 33 people have died, according to public health officials.

The state reported its biggest single-day surge in COVID-19 infections Saturday — a nearly 15% increase.

About 270 people are hospitalized with the disease in North Carolina, and more than 38,000 coronavirus tests have been completed, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Humans Services.

Mecklenburg County has 650 reported coronavirus cases, the most in the state. Wake County has 301, and Durham County has 182.

CHARLOTTE AN EPICENTER

The Charlotte area has emerged as an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina.

Mecklenburg County accounts for about 25% of the state’s reported infections, although just 10% of the state’s population lives there, The Charlotte Observer reports.

Travel is likely a factor. Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the United States, hosting 50.2 million passengers last year.

Confirmed cases in Mecklenburg rose by more than four dozen on Saturday to 650. Four people in the county have died.

VIOLATING TRAVEL ORDERS

North Carolina residents need to do a better job at heeding the statewide stay-at-home order, health officials say.

Most N.C. counties haven’t seen large enough reductions in social movements, according to data from Uncast, a company that uses cellphone data to track human movements.

Cooper said state mandates against non-essential travel “can be tightened even more if necessary.” Violating the stay-at-home order is a Class 2 misdemeanor charge, which carries a fine of up to $1,000.

“People should only be out to buy food, to get medication, to get health care or if they are an essential worker,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, said Friday.

ABORTION PROTESTERS ARRESTED

Police on Saturday charged eight Charlotte abortion protesters with violating North Carolina’s ban on mass gatherings.

The arrests gained national attention late Saturday when U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas criticized Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. “This is an unconstitutional arrest,” Cruz, a runner-up for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 election, tweeted.

About 50 protesters gathered outside A Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte, according to police. The center has been the scene of numerous abortion protests over the years.

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