CASES TOP 3,500
North Carolina has reported at least 3,569 reported cases of coronavirus as of Thursday morning, and 63 people have died, according to state and county health departments.
At least 386 people were hospitalized with the virus as of Wednesday evening, and nearly 43,000 had been tested, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mecklenburg County has 848 reported cases, and 10 people in the county have died.
In the Triangle, Wake County has 368 reported cases and Durham County has 236. One death has been reported in Durham County.
MORE EXECUTIVE ORDERS
Gov. Roy Cooper said he will likely issue another executive order Thursday, this time to mandate safety and social distancing policies at grocery stores.
North Carolina-based Harris Teeter is now limiting the number of shoppers allowed in stores at the same time. Some other retailers have put similar measures in place.
The governor said this week it’s “critical” for people to follow the stay-at-home order he issued last month and to only go out for essential reasons.
The stay-at-home order is working, Cooper said, adding that he did not know when it will be lifted. The order is until April 29 but could be extended.
POSSIBLE ELECTION CHANGES
North Carolina election officials are considering possible changes to the November election in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
One option is to use all mail-in ballots instead of sending voters to polling places, according to Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell.
The legislature would have to approve the change, which would require new equipment and warehouses for the ballots.
NURSING HOME RESTRICTIONS
All nursing homes in North Carolina must close communal areas and screen workers daily for symptoms of the coronavirus, officials announced Wednesday. In addition, all staff members must wear face masks.
Seventeen nursing homes and residential care facilities in the state have ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, data show.
At least 60 people at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Orange County have tested positive for the coronavirus, and two have died, Cooper said Wednesday. Seven are in the hospital.
Officials confirmed with The News & Observer that the outbreak was reported at PruittHealth-Carolina Point.
In Moore County, more than 30 people at Pinehurst Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center tested positive for the virus, health officials said Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration gave a North Carolina-based company emergency-use authorization for its COVID-19 antibody test.
The tests, developed Cellex, could determine whether people have developed immunity to the virus.