REPORTED CASES AND DEATHS
North Carolina has at least 10,181 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday morning, and 381 people have died, according to state and county health departments.
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The state completed about 5,700 COVID-19 tests Wednesday, for a total of 118,440 overall. Of those, 9% have come back positive.
At least 551 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday, which is the most recorded in a day since the start of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the state was averaging 480 hospitalizations a day over the last seven days.
Only two counties have not reported a case of the virus. At least one death has been reported in 60 counties.
At least 13 meat-processing plants in North Carolina have seen coronavirus outbreaks, The News & Observer reports.
Now advocates say President Donald Trump must do more to protect workers after issuing an executive order this week to keep plants open during the pandemic.
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Wednesday he hopes meat-processing plants will receive more personal protective equipment, or PPE.
DRUG TRIALS SHOW POSITIVE RESULTS
A coronavirus treatment drug tested in labs at UNC-Chapel Hill showed positive results in clinical trials, the university announced Wednesday.
Remdesivir, which is given through an IV, helped COVID-19 patients participating in a study recover an average of four days faster.
The results were also shared at a White House briefing Wednesday, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, said there was also a “trend toward fewer deaths.”
MEDICAID EXPANSION DEBATE
Coronavirus concerns have renewed the debate over Medicaid expansion in the North Carolina legislature.
The state House of Representatives is considering limited expansion that would only apply to coronavirus patients, and Speaker of the House Tim Moore, a Republican, is supportive of the proposal.
Medicaid expansion has been contentious and was a main issue behind this year’s state budget stalemate between the Republic-led General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
Since the coronavirus hit North Carolina, at least 180 businesses have reported shutdowns or mass layoffs, and more than 13,000 workers have lost their jobs, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.
Some of the largest layoffs were at Enterprise Holdings, airline cater company HMSHost and The Cheesecake Factory. About 40% of layoffs are temporary.
Between March 15 and April 27, more than 875,000 North Carolinians filed for unemployment.