CASES TOP 3,900
North Carolina has at least 3,958 reported cases of coronavirus as of Friday afternoon. Seventy-six people have died, according to state and county records.
At least 423 people were hospitalized with the virus as of Friday, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
In the Triangle, Wake County has 391 reported cases and Durham County has 259. One death has been reported in Durham County.
At least 30 state prison inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 19 at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Eastern North Carolina.
As of Friday, officials also reported cases at Caledonia, Johnston, Pasquotank, Pender and Scotland correctional institutions.
Officials on Thursday said more staffers at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total from one to 17. At least 61 inmates had the virus, according to an internal email obtained by The News & Observer.
Employees and inmates received surgical masks, and other protective supplies were on hand, the email said.
GRAHAM COMMENTS ON PANDEMIC
Evangelist Franklin Graham on Thursday explained a previous comment in which he linked sin to the spread of COVID-19.
“I see the coronavirus, I see the wars of this world, I see the economic problems — I see all these other things — as just a result of the fallen world in which we live,” he told The Charlotte Observer.
Graham leads North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, which launched a field hospital in hard-hit New York City. The organization has been criticized for not accepting LGBT volunteers.
“Our doors at the Emergency Field Hospital in the East Meadow are going to be open to all New Yorkers who need our help,” Graham said in a statement, according to The Observer.
In an executive order Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all retailers, including grocery stores, to limit the number of shoppers allowed inside at a time.
No more than 20% of a store’s fire capacity is allowed inside, and stores must mark “six feet of distance where people might gather, such as in checkout lines,” The News & Observer reported.
The order begins at 5 p.m. Monday.
The State Board of Education signed off on a list of waivers Thursday to ease requirements “because schools can’t function the way they normally would due to the pandemic,” The News & Observer reported.
The waivers include 19 items the state board is asking lawmakers to temporarily suspend. They include standardized tests and student grades.
Legislators will return to session April 28.
LEGISLATURE WILL LIVE STREAM SPECIAL MEETINGS
A special House committee in the N.C. General Assembly discussing the state’s COVID-19 response will stream its meetings on the General Assembly website via YouTube starting April 14.
House Speaker Tim Moore made the announcement Thursday. The public was previously limited to hearing the audio.
NURSING HOME OUTBREAKS
Wake County announced its first coronavirus outbreak at a long-term care facility.
Four people — two patients and two nurses — at Wellington Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Knightdale tested positive for the virus.
Another outbreak was reported at a nursing home in Pittsboro, west of Raleigh. Four positive coronavirus cases were linked to The Laurels of Chatham Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
At least 20 outbreaks have been reported in nursing homes and residential care facilities across North Carolina, according to the state.
Under a new executive order from the governor, nursing home employees must wear face masks. The order also bans facilities from group activities and gatherings in common areas.