Coronavirus update: North Carolina – Thursday, April 23

CASES TOP 7,500

North Carolina has at least 7,545 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday morning, and 267 people have died, according to state and county health departments.

State officials reported an additional 269 cases on Wednesday, up from 187 the day before.

At least 434 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday, up from 427 the day before, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mecklenburg County has the highest numbers in the state, with 1,331 reported cases and 35 deaths.

Wake County has 622 cases and 10 deaths and Durham County has 469 cases and seven deaths.

GOVERNOR TO ANNOUNCE REOPENING PLANS

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to make an announcement at 3 p.m. Thursday about when restrictions will be lifted.

The state’s stay-at-home order is set to expire April 29, and K-12 public schools are closed until at least May 15.

OUTER BANKS LOOSEN RESTRICTIONS

Starting Thursday, some visitors are allowed back to parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

People who own property in Currituck County but don’t live there can arrive starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, as long as they have permits. But visitors won’t be allowed until May 15.

Non-resident property owners will also be allowed back in Dare County, home to most of the Outer Banks, in phases starting May 4, but it’s unclear when other visitors will be permitted.

Both counties previously closed to visitors in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Three people at Universal Healthcare Lillington, a nursing home in Harnett County, have tested positive for the coronavirus, county health officials said Wednesday.

There are 39 nursing homes and 14 residential care facilities in North Carolina with ongoing outbreaks, the state health department says.

More than 1,260 coronavirus cases and 109 deaths have been reported among nursing homes and residential care facilities.

CASES AT COUNTY JAIL

Six Durham County Sheriff’s Office employees who work at the county jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.

Officials didn’t say if any of the workers came into contact with inmates, but no inmates have tested positive.

The infected workers are isolated at their homes.

The news came the same day state officials reported an inmate at Pender Correctional Institution, a state prison, died after being infected with COVID-19.

There have been more than 650 cases and and five deaths at correctional facilities in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

DRONE DELIVERIES

Drones will soon be used to deliver supplies in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas during the coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina transportation officials said Wednesday.

In Charlotte, Novant Health will deliver PPE and other medical supplies across its campuses.

In Raleigh and Garner, WakeMed will use a drone to deliver supplies between its campuses. In Holly Springs, a drone will be used to deliver food to neighborhoods.

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