We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
Lowest number of new cases since early November
At least 846,284 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 10,965 have died since March, according to state health officials.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported 1,514 new COVID-19 cases, down from 2,133 reported the day before. It’s the lowest number of new daily cases reported in the state since Nov. 2.
Thirty-one deaths were reported Tuesday. Deaths don’t all occur on the day the state reports them. The state health department revises its daily figures as information becomes available.
At least 1,566 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Tuesday, up slightly from 1,563 on Monday.
As of Sunday, the latest day for which data was available, 6.2% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. Health officials have said the goal is 5% or lower to control the spread of the virus.
Health officials on Monday reported more than 1.2 million first doses and more than 676,000 second doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered in North Carolina.
Will governor ease restrictions?
Dr. Mandy Cohen told legislators on Tuesday that state officials are looking for ways to ease public health restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fall and vaccinations rise.
Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said “our trends are moving in the right direction,” The News & Observer reported.
“I know the governor is considering that right now with input from our scientists,” she told the the N.C. House Health Committee.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s modified stay-at-home order with a 10 p.m. curfew and capacity limits is set to expire on Sunday. The governor said last week he plans to announce an update on the executive order this week, and a press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Teachers can now get vaccine
Teachers, childcare center employees and school support staff are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Wednesday.
The group of about 240,000 people encompasses educators and child care workers in public schools, charter schools and private schools. Teachers, principals, bus drivers, custodians and other support staff are eligible.
Charlotte schools weigh COVID testing
Middle and high school students started in-person learning rotations in Charlotte this week as Mecklenburg County reported a significant drop in cases.
Various coronavirus protocols have been put in place, but COVID-19 tests were not required before returning, The Charlotte Observer reported. But the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district has discussed the possibility of testing asymptomatic students and teachers through something called surveillance testing.
Surveillance testing allows for officials to randomly test asymptomatic individuals for the coronavirus. The district does not currently offer COVID-19 tests, saying training and staffing a testing program is still a hurdle.
More answers to frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 testing at CMS can be found here.
Proposed bill would let fans attend UNC, NC State basketball games
A bill filed Tuesday in North Carolina would allow spectators to return to ACC basketball games and other athletic competitions.
House Bill 128, sponsored by GOP lawmakers, calls for requiring 25% to 50% capacity at indoor and outdoor venues. The proposal would impact K-12 schools, community colleges and UNC System institutions, including UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.
“Just as getting back in the classroom is vital for North Carolina students, returning to athletic competition is also critical for their physical and mental wellbeing,” sponsors of the bill said in a statement.
Under Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order, attendance is capped at 25 people at indoor events and 100 people outdoors. To help protect against COVID-19, the UNC System has allowed each athlete to have two fans at games, The News & Observer reported.