Coronavirus update: North Carolina – Wednesday, April 29

REPORTED CASES AND DEATHS

North Carolina has at least 9,739 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday morning, and 361 people have died, according to state and county health departments.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 426 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from 312 the day before.

The state was averaging 374 new daily cases over the past seven days as of Tuesday afternoon.

As of Tuesday, 112,752 tests had been completed in the state, 9% of which have come back positive.

At least 463 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, down from 473 day before. The state is averaging 463 hospitalizations a day over the last seven days.

Only four of the state’s 100 counties have not reported a case of COVID-19. At least one death has been reported in 60 counties.

LIFTING RESTRICTIONS

Researchers say North Carolina hospitals have enough capacity for the state to start lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The researchers, from Duke University, NoviSci, RTI International and the University of North Carolina, predicted earlier this month that the coronavirus would peak in North Carolina in mid to late May.

But they said Tuesday the state’s stay-at-home order that has been in effect for about a month is working.

CHANGES FOR SCHOOLS

When North Carolina’s public school buildings reopen next school year, students and parents should expect to see some changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of hand washing,” State Board of Education chairman Eric Davis said at a virtual town hall this week sponsored by The News & Observer and EdNC. “We’re going to be really focused on hygiene. We probably will not be gathering in large groups. We may be eating lunch in our classrooms.”

STUDENTS SUE UNC SYSTEM

Some students are suing the UNC System, its Board of Governors and individual universities.

They’re seeking reimbursement of their tuition and fees, saying they paid for services they were deprived of when campuses suddenly shut down due to COVID-19, including “in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities, and other benefits and services.”

The UNC System has started giving prorated reimbursements for housing and dining, but refunds of tuition and fees haven’t been included.

The system, which includes 16 universities in North Carolina, told The News & Observer it won’t comment on pending litigation.

NURSING HOME SUIT

A court has been asked to review the staffing and hygiene policies of a Rowan County nursing home hit with a coronavirus outbreak.

The request from lawyers representing residents of the nursing home, The Citadel Salisbury, is part of a new lawsuit against the facility, which is home to the worst COVID-19 outbreak among nursing homes in the state.

Officials say 144 people at the facility have tested positive for the virus and 16 have died.

The suit accuses management, owners and leaders ”of bungling the nursing home’s response to the disease,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

NASCAR RACE

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday said NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 race is set to be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24.

The governor said in a news briefing that his office has discussed the race and NASCAR’s plans for social distancing measures, which health officials approved with suggestions.

“We believe that unless the health conditions go down that we can have the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend in Charlotte,” Cooper said in the news conference. “I think that NASCAR will be making that announcement. We believe that’s what will happen.”

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper tells reporters that he thinks the state will approve the plan to run the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in Concord Memorial Day weekend despite the coronavirus pandemic. Cooper spoke Tuesday, April 28, 2020. 

PROTESTERS ARRESTED

ReOpenNC leader Ashley Smith and three other protesters were arrested at the group’s Tuesday rally after violating police instructions by stepping onto the sidewalk outside the governor’s mansion in Raleigh, The News & Observer reported.

The group has been calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to rescind the restrictions in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus in North Carolina.

Tuesday’s protest was the group’s third.

About a dozen healthcare workers attended the rally, encouraging residents to follow the stay home orders.

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