We’re keeping track of the most up-to-date news about the coronavirus in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 jumped by nearly 600 in North Carolina Saturday.
Deaths are now up to 420, based on state data.
However, the News & Observer is compiling separate data based on reports from DHHS and county health departments, and it tends to be higher because the state updates its numbers once a day. Based on that data, the count stood at 11,579 cases in 98 counties and 430 deaths on Saturday.
DAILY HOSPITALIZATIONS TOP 500
The state reported more than 500 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 for the fourth straight day.
On Saturday, 502 people were hospitalized, compared to 204 people on April 1, according to state data.
The biggest single day jump so far during the outbreak was from 463 Tuesday to 551 on Wednesday of last week, state data shows.
NO HIKE IN JOBLESS BENEFITS
On Saturday, the state House and Senate passed a plan on how to spend $1.57 billion in federal relief funding, but did not make an increase in unemployment benefits or Medicaid expansion part of the deal.
The Senate had been hoping to raise the state’s maximum weekly amount of benefits by $50 to $400. The House had called for a temporary Medicaid expansion for coronavirus patients.
Instead, the money will go to education, health care, small business loans, food banks, medical research, testing and $50 million for personal protective equipment.
Lawmakers were back in Raleigh last week for the first time since the pandemic hit North Carolina. The state House will return May 18, Speaker Tim Moore said.
NO TAKE-OUT COCKTAILS
A proposal to let restaurants and bars offer liquor with take-out and delivery orders was nixed Saturday by state lawmakers.
Some legislators proposed allowing establishments “to sell up to two servings of mixed drinks for takeout and delivery” as a way to help businesses recover from weeks of lost business.
However, the idea didn’t make it into the legislature’s bipartisan relief plan.
It’s already legal to sell beer and wine to go, but some lawmakers feared adding cocktails might fuel domestic violence or in drunken driving, the NC Insider reported.
MALLS SET REOPENING DATES
Some of North Carolina’s largest malls intend to reopen May 8, owner Simon Property Group announced.
Simon is the largest mall operator in the U.S., including Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield, SouthPark and Charlotte Premium Outlets in Charlotte and Concord Mills in Concord.
Simon Property Group says it will add new safety procedures at the malls, including: requiring workers to wear masks; limiting entrances, hours and the number of people in buildings; adding signage to direct foot traffic and remove chairs in dining areas. Drinking fountains and play areas will be also be closed.