REPORTED CASES AND DEATHS
North Carolina has at least 10,746 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Friday morning, and 405 people have died, according to state and county health departments.
About 9,600 new COVID-19 tests were completed as of Thursday, for a total of 128,036 overall. Of those, 8% have come back positive, public health officials say.
At least 546 North Carolinians were in the hospital with COVID-19 Thursday, just shy of the record 551 hospitalizations reported the day before.
As of Thursday afternoon, the state was averaging 488 hospitalizations a day over the last seven days.
Only two counties have not reported a case of the virus, and at least one death has been reported in 60 of the state’s 100 counties.
COOPER HOPEFUL ABOUT RESTRICTIONS
Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday he’s “hopeful” the state will be able to ease some of the restrictions in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor’s statewide stay-at-home order is set to expire May 8, and North Carolina could then start to move into the first of three phases to gradually relax restrictions.
“We remain hopeful that the trends will be stable enough to move us into phase one next week,” Cooper said at a news conference on Thursday.
North Carolina counties are starting to release more information about neighborhoods where coronavirus cases are reported.
At least 10 counties have now released data that show how many cases are reported in each ZIP code within the county, The News & Observer reported Thursday.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services only gives the number of cases in each county but is working to release ZIP code data.
NURSING HOME OUTBREAKS
A third nursing home in Wake County has reported an outbreak of coronavirus cases, making it the 50th in the state.
Capital Nursing and Rehabilitation Care in Raleigh did not say how many cases it has, but the state defines an outbreak as two or more people — residents or staff — who test positive.
There are 1,649 cases of COVID-19 at nursing homes across the state, with 169 deaths.
Nearly half of all coronavirus-related deaths in Mecklenburg County are attributed to long-term care facilities, 12 of which have reported outbreaks in the county.
STILL NO PEAK
Other states across the country have hit or past their peaks for the number of new coronavirus cases reported in a day, the number of deaths or the number of hospitalizations.
But North Carolina is one of 20 states where cases are still climbing, analyses show.
Many areas that already peaked were hit sooner and harder with the pandemic than those that have been slower, The News & Observer reports.
The North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Pandemic Response Act, a $1.7 billion coronavirus response act.
The state Senate also passed a bill, the $1.36 billion COVID-19 Response Act.
The bills determine how North Carolina will spend federal funding received. Negotiations will come next, The News & Observer reports.
SCHOOLS TASK FORCE
State Superintendent Mark Johnson on Thursday said a new Schools Reopening Task Force has been created.
The group will help to make decisions about the future of the state’s public schools. The K-12 buildings are shut down through the end of the school year to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
PLASMA DONORS SOUGHT
North Carolina medical centers are using plasma from coronavirus survivors to help treat patients, The News & Observer reports. In the Triangle, participating hospital systems include Duke Health, UNC Health and WakeMed.
After people get COVID-19, their plasma has antibodies that have the potential to help others who have the disease.
Now, officials are seeking plasma donors to help out hospitals. More information about requirements can be found here.