We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
1,800 new cases reported
At least 1,029,931 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 13,562 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,800 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from 1,434 on Wednesday.
Twelve additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Thursday. Deaths don’t necessarily occur on the day the state reports them. The state health department revises its daily figures as more information becomes available.
At least 751 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, up from 695 the day before.
As of Tuesday, the latest day available, 6.7% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.
Roughly 60% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 57% have been fully vaccinated. State health officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.
Top NC lawmaker says mandatory vaccines in schools is ‘problematic’
Senate leader Phil Berger said that schools mandating a vaccine available for emergency use would be “somewhat problematic.”
The discussion followed Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision Wednesday to let local school districts issue their own decisions about whether masks will be required in schools.
Berger told reporters Thursday “the conversation changes” about mandatory vaccines in schools “once you get final approval from the FDA for the vaccine.”
“I’ve said all along that I felt like vaccination is a decision that I personally made as the right decision for me. I think the more people that are vaccinated, the better. But that’s a decision people need to make in consultation with their health care provider,” he said.
Charlotte businesses differ on vaccine requirements
Most major employers in Charlotte won’t require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Wells Fargo, for example, won’t make a vaccine mandatory but is encouraging workers to get one, The Charlotte Observer reported. Vaccines will also be optional at Bank of America, Duke Energy, Grant Thornton, Ally Financial and Red Ventures.
Mecklenburg County has strongly encouraged its workers to get vaccinated and will require unvaccinated workers to wear masks.
NC State coach talks about vaccinating players
N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren said Thursday it was “heartbreaking to watch” the baseball team get sent home from the College World Series last month after a COVID-19 outbreak.
He said he doesn’t know what percentage of the football team is fully vaccinated but that he is “comfortable with where we are headed,” The News & Observer reported.
“It’s an opportunity for our team to learn,” Doeren said. “We’re going to talk about it when we get together collectively. Our guys have seen it. Like everyone, my job is to help these young men grow, help these guys compete, put them in the best places they can be, and keep them as safe as I can keep them. At the same time, it’s not my job to make medical decisions for our football team. All I can do is educate them, get them around the people that can help them make great choices. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Hospitals make vaccine mandatory
Several hospitals in Charlotte and Raleigh will require all employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
All three Duke Health hospitals and UNC Health Hospitals in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Siler City and Johnston County announced Thursday that a coronavirus vaccine will be mandatory for workers, The News & Observer reported.
In Charlotte, workers have until Oct. 31 to get the a vaccine or have an approved medical or religious exemption at Atrium Health. Novant Health has given its employees, contractors, vendors and students until Sept. 15 to do the same, The Charlotte Observer reported.
“We appreciate and acknowledge the tens of thousands of team members who eagerly received the vaccine,” Novant Health said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the reality is that vaccination rates remain stagnant across the country, including at Novant Health.”
The hospital system said the “hope is for every team member to accept the vaccine on their own” but that a mandatory program will ensure better protection against the coronavirus.
The decision comes after the N.C. Healthcare Association, which represents hospitals in the state, came out in favor of mandatory vaccination for health care workers on Thursday.
Airline to expand in Charlotte as travel shows signs of rebound
American Airlines is sharing details about an expansion in Charlotte as air travel starts to rebound from COVID-19.
The airline plans to hire hundreds of employees and add three gates in Concourse E of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Andrew Trull, a spokesperson for the carrier, said the change will bring the airline’s number of gates in Charlotte to 94.
The announcement was made as travelers are returning to the airport after the coronavirus upended the travel industry in 2020. Charlotte Douglas saw 2 million passengers in May, up from 499,000 a year before, the latest data show.