We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
Case count tops 870,000
At least 870,149 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11,446 have died since last March, according to state health officials.
As of Friday, at least 1,226 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Forty-seven coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday. Deaths don’t all occur on the day the state reports them. The state health department revises its daily figures as information becomes available.
As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data are available, 4.3% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. Health officials have said 5% is the target rate to control the spread of the virus.
More than 1 million people in North Carolina have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine as of Thursday. A total of 2.7 million doses have been administered statewide.
Economy can recover if COVID is tamed, professor says
UNC Charlotte professor John Connaughton believes the economy will get better in 2021 if the pandemic is under control.
In a quarterly economic forecast Friday, Connaughton said North Carolina could have more jobs at the end of the year than it did in 2019, The Charlotte Observer reported. But it will depend on the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus dominated the economic picture in 2020, and the coronavirus will dominate the economic picture in 2021 as well,“ Connaughton said in a webcast.
Most Charlotte coronavirus deaths are no longer in nursing homes
The latest data in Mecklenburg County show the majority of people dying from COVID-19 are no longer those in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Instead, more than half of the deaths are now tied to the broader community, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Dr. David Weber, an epidemiology professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and associate chief medical officer at UNC Health, attributes the decline to two things: the most vulnerable in nursing homes have already died, and vaccinations have helped with existing “natural immunity.”
At Clear Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Mint Hill, medical director Dr. William Long told the Observer cases have dropped off dramatically.
“It’s like someone is taking a weight off your shoulder,” he said.
Cohen, Barber receive COVID vaccinations
Two public figures in North Carolina received their COVID-19 vaccinations Friday in Wake County.
Civil rights activist Rev. William Barber II joined Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in getting publicly vaccinated against the disease.
“Let people know they don’t have to die,” Barber said. “They don’t have to get sick and go to the hospital.”
NC schools to get $1.6 billion in COVID relief
The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a policy that would distribute $1.6 billion in federal aid meant to help schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction will keep as much as 10% of the funds, and the rest will go to charter schools and districts. Schools can use the money for cleaning supplies, mental health support and other purposes.
The highest amount of money will go to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which is expected to get $141.9 million or more. The Wake County district is slated to receive at least $96 million, The News & Observer reported.