Coronavirus update: North Carolina – Wednesday, April 15

CASES TOP 5,100

North Carolina has at least 5,133 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday morning, and 113 people have died, according to state and county health departments.

Mecklenburg County, the epicenter of the state’s outbreak, has 993 reported cases and 15 deaths.

In the Triangle, Wake County has 504 reported cases, Durham County has 349, Orange County has 155, and Johnston County has 104. Seven deaths have been reported in the four counties.

At least 418 North Carolinians were hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday, and more than 65,000 have been tested for it, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says.

RELIEF FOR AIRPORTS

North Carolina airports will receive $284 million in aid from the federal government to curb the revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport will get the most, more than $135.5 million. Raleigh-Durham International Airport will receive $49.6 million.

A total of 72 airports in the state will get assistance.

POLICE DEFEND TWEET

The Raleigh Police Department on Tuesday evening defended a Twitter post it had written that said, “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

The tweet was in response to a rally in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday morning by the group ReOpenNC. More than 100 protesters gathered to oppose the state’s stay-at-home order and business closures. One person was arrested.

Police said there is no exemption in the stay-at-home order for protesting.

HELP FOR BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Restaurants and bars in the Charlotte area will get some relief from lost sales due to closures prompted by the coronavirus.

The Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved a buy-back program in which restaurants and bars can return unused liquor bottles. The program will start Wednesday and last through May 14.

Up to $1 million has been set aside for refunds.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper talks about what needs to happen in the state before he begins lifting restrictions related to coronavirus. Cooper spoke Monday, April 13, 2020. 

MOBILE TESTING

Two hospital systems in the Charlotte area, Atrium Health and Novant Health, will offer mobile testing programs for the coronavirus this week in an effort to expand testing for minorities.

Half of coronavirus patients in Mecklenburg County are black, but African Americans make up only one-third of the county’s population.

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