WEDNESDAY MORNING STORYLINES
As Wake County keeps adding COVID-19 testing sites to keep up with demand, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state is preparing for the coronavirus vaccine to be distributed.
UNC professor and former Wake County health director Dr. Leah Devlin said the goal is for 75% of North Carolinians to be vaccinated by summer 2021. Dr. Devlin is one of three co-chairs on the NC Institute of Medicine COVID-19 vaccine committee.
Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech say they’ve gotten permission Wednesday for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain. The move would make Britain one of the first countries to start vaccinating its population.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 and will complete his recovery at home. Budd said in a video message posted Tuesday on social media that he has “very mild symptoms” and will work remotely from his family farm with staff in the district and in Washington.
The state surpassed 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday and reported a concerning 10.2% positive test rate. New figures are expected to be released around noon Wednesday.
Wake County health officials reported two COVID-19 outbreaks at
Wake County Public Health has confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 at Avendelle on Lazy River Assisted Living, located at 2268 Lazy River Drive, Raleigh, and BellaRose Nursing and Rehab, located at 200 BellaRose Lake Way, Garner.
This is the second outbreak at BellaRose.
At his Tuesday news conference, Gov. Cooper gave more details about the distribution plan for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference to urge North Carolinians to continue to do what’s needed to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases.
“We need to keep doing what we know works,” Cooper said at his new conference.
WATCH HIS OPENING STATEMENTS:
The governor also expressed hopes in the vaccines being developed and said that they will be free for residents.
Cooper said hospitals and health departments will be the first to have access to and administer vaccines.
“When it’s my turn to get this vaccine, I’ll be ready to roll up my sleeves,” Cooper said.
More than 2,000 people in North Carolina are hospitalized because of COVID-19 for the first time since the virus was declared a pandemic in March.
With 97% of hospitals reporting to the state, there are 2,033 patients that are in the hospital due to COVID-19. The state hit another concerning benchmark in Tuesday’s report as the daily positive percent rate hit 10.2%.
Last week, the daily positive percent rate averaged around 7.4%. The state’s goal, which it was achieving earlier in the pandemic, is 5%.
There were 2,883 new reported cases and 23 more deaths reported.
For complete information, check out the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. about these updated numbers and what it means for safety precautions in the state.
A look back at November, shows that the state saw an 82% increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. That comes with only a 30% increase in the number of tests completed.
The percent positive rate started the month around 6%.
In November, there were 87,820 new positive cases of COVID-19; there were 1.2 million tests performed.
The death toll increased 20%, with a total of 878 North Carolinians dying of the virus in November.
A Cumberland County teacher has died from COVID-19 complications.
Cumberland County Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly confirmed the teacher’s death Tuesday morning, passing on condolences on behalf of the school system.
“We are saddened by the recent passing of one of our teachers, due to complications from COVID-19,” Dr. Connelly said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family, loved ones and school community. Because the employee was working remotely, no additional staff members were affected. Due to confidentiality laws, we are unable to share additional information at this time.”
TUESDAY MORNING STORYLINES
Gov. Roy Cooper will give an important update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic today at 3 p.m. The update comes after Monday’s report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that showed more than 1,966 patients are in hospitals from COVID-19–the highest total ever reported
That number includes 96% of hospitals reporting, meaning there are likely a few more COVID-19 patients not included in the count.
Monday’s COVID-19 metrics also showed an uptick in the percent of tests returning positive. The daily rate of 9.5% came after a week that averaged around 7.4%, and is well above the state’s goal of 5%.
You can watch Gov. Cooper’s briefing on abc11.com and the ABC11 Facebook page.
Wake County is opening a new COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday. The site is at 5809 Departure Drive in Raleigh near Triangle Town Center. Tests are available from Tuesday until Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. this week. You do not need to register to receive a test.
The Charlotte Hornets will not allow fans to attend home games to start the 2020-2021 season because of the pandemic. The team said Monday it made the decision after consulting with state and local government officials. It will continue to work on a plan that will allow fans to safely return to Spectrum Center later this season.
Wake Forest’s men’s basketball program is pausing team activities for the rest of this week and won’t play Troy on Wednesday due to recent COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
Wayne County Public Schools has reported a COVID-19 cluster at Meadow Lane Elementary involving three staff members and two students. None of the cases have been on campus since Nov. 23.
“The school had two reported cases on November 24. Today, we learned about three additional cases. Based on contract tracing, we believe these cases can be reasonably connected,” said Dr. James Merrill, WCPS superintendent.
Wake County health officials announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver House Assisted Living Facility, located at 4230 Wendell Boulevard in Wendell.
Hobbton High School in Sampson County is closing for two days to clean after five reported COVID-19 cases in employees.
Lee County is reporting 123 more COVID-19 cases and its 31st death. In total, 2,504 residents have tested positive for the virus in the county.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina reached a new high in Monday’s report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services while the percentage of people who tested positive rose again.
There are now 1,996 people in the hospital due to COVID-19 with 96% of hospitals reporting. The number of hospitalizations went up by more than 100 from Sunday’s reported number.
The state also recorded one of its highest percent positive numbers since the beginning of the pandemic when the number of tests being completed was much lower.
Monday’s percent positive rate was 9.5%. The number has been averaging around 7.4% for the last week or so. Health experts with the state have said they want that number below 5%.
The state also reported 2,734 new cases and 21 more deaths included in Monday’s numbers.
Complete data can be found on the NCDHHS’ COVID-19 dashboard.
As temperatures drop, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will issue automated payments to help seniors and those with disabilities keep the heat on.
The state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program will help eligible households pay their utility bills. The program begins Tuesday, Dec. 1, and is available to those who:
- are age 60 or older or a person with a disability receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services
- Anyone who currently receives Food and Nutrition Services and
- Anyone who received LIEAP during the 2019-2020 season
“More of our neighbors may be facing financial hardships because of COVID-19, and this funding can help eligible households with their heating expenses this winter,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “We want to ensure seniors and people with disabilities are healthy and safe during a difficult time of the year.”
You must sign up for the program to receive any payments. You can find information about how to apply here.
A Raleigh bar was cited for having too many people inside after a shooting from Sunday night. Police found that Rose Bar Sports Bar & Lounge exceeded the state’s maximum occupancy rule during COVID-19 after they responded.
Three people were hurt.
MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES
Wake County is simplifying the process to get a free COVID-19 test. You no longer need to complete a detailed registration form before getting a test. Starting Tuesday, to get a test in Wake County, just schedule an appointment online and bring a form of ID to the testing site.
Wake County is also opening a new COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday. The site is at 5809 Departure Drive in Raleigh. Tests are available from Tuesday until Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. this week. You do not need to register to receive a test.
Tests are also still available at the Sunnybrook parking deck at 2925 Holston Ln. in Raleigh.
United Airlines has begun shipping the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine on charter flights. The U.S. now has more than 13,300,000 cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Copyright © 2020 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.