COVID vaccine live updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on April 17

Hayley Fowler
·3 min read

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

Case count tops 943,000

At least 943,693 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,387 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,475 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 2,434 the day before.

Edgecombe County is the only red county in the state’s tiered COVID-19 county alert system, indicating it has the most severe spread. There were no red counties at the last update two weeks ago, The News & Observer reported.

Twenty-eight additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday. Deaths don’t all occur on the day the state reports them. DHHS revises its daily figures as information becomes available.

At least 1,064 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, up from 1,020 on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 5.5% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials have said 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

More than 2.7 million people in North Carolina have been fully vaccinated.

Regal postpones reopening date

The Regal movie theater chain pushed back its planned reopening date in North Carolina to April 23 after shutting down during the coronavirus pandemic.

Regal planned to reopen in the Charlotte area on Friday, but an update on the chain’s website shows that date is now a week later than initially scheduled, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“Within the last month, the opening date was pushed a week to April 23 with several of our theaters opening dates following suit with the change,” Regal spokesman Richard Grover said Friday.

NC emergency management leader to retire

Mike Sprayberry, who has been the executive director of the N.C. Division of Emergency Management since 2013, announced Friday he is retiring.

Sprayberry has frequently appeared alongside Gov. Roy Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen during coronavirus briefings throughout the last year, The News & Observer reported.

He was known for repeating a similar refrain at each briefing: “As always, don’t forget to look out for your family, friends and neighbors.”

The state public safety department said Sprayberry will retire Aug. 1 after more than 42 years.

Mike Sprayberry, North Carolina Director of Emergency Management, and Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, North Carolina State Health Director, Chief Medical Officer, arrive for a press briefing to update the public on the COVID-19 virus on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.
Mike Sprayberry, North Carolina Director of Emergency Management, and Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, North Carolina State Health Director, Chief Medical Officer, arrive for a press briefing to update the public on the COVID-19 virus on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.

COVID long-hauler writes her own obituary

A Charlotte woman gained attention online after writing her own obituary before she died on March 12 from complications related to “long haul” symptoms from the coronavirus.

Leiah Jones was “33-and-a-half years young” when she died, according to her obituary.

“Unfortunately, those like me may or may not survive the aftermath. I, hopefully, am in the minority of those numbers,” she wrote.

Jones, who loved to cook, considered herself “an attentive caregiver to loved ones,” The Charlotte Observer reported. In her obituary, she urged others to remember to care for the COVID-19 “long-haulers” and stay educated about the virus, saying “please pray and support the ‘long haulers.’”

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