Gov: Schools Could Be Out Longer, Buncombe Adds More Closings, NC Cases Up

Buncombe Extends Business Closures

(Buncombe County, NC) -- More businesses in Buncombe County are being ordered to close over coronavirus concerns. County officials yesterday extended a state of emergency to include a ban on gatherings of ten or more people. Some places like grocery stores, gas stations and hardware stores are exempt. But, business like gyms, theaters, spas, fitness centers, and indoor pools fall under a new list of closures, joining a statewide mandate for restaurant dining areas to shut down.

Cooper: Schools Likely To Be Out Longer

(Raleigh, NC) -- Governor Roy Cooper is suggesting public schools will be closed longer. He issued a mandatory closing last weekend until March 30th. Yesterday, Cooper said with the coronavirus increasing, schools will likely be out for a longer period of time. The governor of Kansas has already ordered schools there to close for the rest of the semester.

Coronavirus Cases Top 97 In NC

(Raleigh, NC) -- The number of coronavirus cases is skyrocketing in North Carolina. There were 97 positive cases as of Thursday night across 27 counties. Governor Roy Cooper says the state also has its first community transmission of COVID-19 in Wilson County. That means some cases there have no known origin and weren't linked to any travel.

One Dead In Marion House Fire

(Marion, NC) -- Investigators are looking for the cause of a deadly fire in Marion. Fire engines rushed out to the Pleasant Gardens community early Thursday morning, where flames had already spread through half of a home. The lone resident of the home was found dead inside. The SBI is working to find the identity of the victim and the cause of the blaze.

Hotel Occupancy Drastically Down In Asheville

(Asheville, NC) -- Coronavirus is drastically changing the hospitality industry in Asheville. The chairman of McKibbon Hospitality, which operates several downtown hotels, told WLOS-TV yesterday that occupancy is down around 80-percent. He said closing down dining areas of restaurants also had an impact. Also, gas prices have dropped down to an average of close to two-dollars-a-gallon in the state, but western North Carolina remains above that.

Asheville Offering Free Fares On Buses

(Asheville, NC) -- The city of Asheville is temporarily going fare-free on its ART bus service system. Offering free rides will allow customers from having to handle money or tickets at the counter and with drivers. Public health officials are still encouraging people to travel only when necessary. There are hand sanitizer dispensers on each bus.

Coronavirus Cases Climb Over 30 In Mecklenburg

(Charlotte, NC) -- The number of coronavirus cases in Mecklenburg County is close to three dozen. The number of cases essentially doubled locally from Wednesday to Thursday. Positive cases are over 130 statewide, but there have been no deaths reported. The number of cases nationwide has risen to over 13-thousand.

Man Shot To Death In Gastonia

(Gastonia, NC) -- Gastonia police are investigating a Thursday night homicide. A 20-year-old man was allegedly shot to death on Brownstone Court. Little details have been released from investigators. It's unclear if any arrests have been made.

Lancaster Speedway To Hold Racing Despite Coronavirus

(Lancaster, SC) -- A race track in the Charlotte area is holding an event this weekend, despite an urging from public health officials to keep from holding large gatherings. The Lancaster Motor Speedway says its next races will be held Saturday night at the track just off U.S. 521. Major sports leagues and college sports have essentially shut down. WSOC-TV spoke with one county leader in Lancaster, who said the county has no authority to shut down a private venue.

Tepper Donates One-Million For COVID-19 Relief

(Charlotte, NC) -- Panthers' owner David Tepper is giving a large donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund. The Charlotte Business Journal reports both Tepper and Bank of America gave the fund one-million dollars each this week to help in relief during the coronavirus outbreak. Close to eight-million dollars has been donated to the COVID-19 Response Fund since the beginning of the week.

Driver Dies After Being Shot, Crashing Into Building

(Matthews, NC) -- Police in Matthews are investigating after a driver was shot and slammed his car into a building. Officers found the man injured outside a building at the Matthews Township Office Park last night. They say he was shot in the intersection of Matthews Township Parkway and Sam Newell Road, hit another car, and then struck the building. The man died at the hospital. Officers are looking for a black 2007 Acura TSX connected to the case.

Millennium Hip Hop Concert Goers May Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

(Wake County, NC) -- Wake County officials have issued a public health alert that a person who attended the 'Millennium Tour Concert' at the PNC Arena in Raleigh last week has tested positive for the coronavirus. More specifically, the health department reports the person attended the concert on Friday March 13th, from 8:30 p.m. until midnight. The individual also had floor seats in section five of the arena, and moved throughout the crowd during the show. Anyone who believes they may have come in contact with this individual is asked to call the health department or their primary care physician to get tested.

One Confirmed Case Of Coronavirus Caused By Community Spread

(Wilson County, NC) -- State health officials have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 to be classified as being caused by 'Community Spread.' This means that it cannot be determined how or where the person became infected. Officials say the person is a resident of Wilson County, but has no known travel history or any knowledge of coming into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. Last Friday, there were only 15-cases of the disease across the state. But because of increased testing, that number now stands at 134.

Financial Disclosure Form Raises Questions About Burr's Financial Knowledge

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr is coming under intense scrutiny after recent financial disclosure forms revealed that he sold up to one-point-five-million dollars in stocks days before he warned the public about an imminent financial fallout from COVID-19. It is of particular note that Burr was one of three senators to vote against the STOCK ACT OF 2012, which explicitly prohibits members of Congress, or staff members, from using non-public information for insider trading. Burr has denied any wrongdoing.

Voters Warned Of Text Messaging Scam Being Circulated

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Board of Elections is investigating a possible scam involving voter registration. Several complaints have been filed by citizens who said they recently received unsolicited text messages asking them to register to vote. The messages also contain a link that reportedly will connect them to the website of '' officials confirmed Thursday that they have not sent out any messages.

House Fire Kills Mother And Two Young Sons

(Fayetteville, NC) -- Authorities are investigating an early Thursday morning house fire in Fayetteville that resulted in the deaths of three people. They were described as a mother and two young children. It happened along the 64-hundred-block of Portsmouth Drive. Four other occupants of the house managed to escape unharmed. The victims were identified as 30-year-old Amelia Jones and her sons, ages five and nine. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Father Arrested After Crash That Killed Teenage San

(High Point, NC) -- The man charged with murder after a drunk-driving crash that killed his teenage son in High Point is in custody. Roderick White was arrested in Charlotte for an unrelated crime, according to police. He was wanted in connection with the March 8th crash that killed his 18-year-old son, Roderick White Junior, who was thrown from the vehicle. White Senior ran from the scene before police arrived. He's facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, driving while impaired and felony hit-and-run.

Tractor-Trailer Full Of Bathroom Paper Products Stopped In Guilford Co.

(Guilford Co., NC) -- An investigation is underway in Guilford County after a stolen tractor-trailer full of "bathroom paper products" was stopped. The big-rig was pulled over on I-40 in Whitsett on Wednesday. Deputies say it was loaded with 18-thousand pounds of commercial bathroom paper products. So far, no arrests have been made.

Novant Health Restricts Visitors

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Novant Health is putting restrictions on visitors. It's part of the health care system's plan to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. The restrictions do not apply to people who are seeking care at one of its hospitals.

Weekly Jobless Claims Jump As Coronavirus Slows Economy

(Undated) -- The coronavirus pandemic is making the state's unemployment lines a lot longer. Governor Roy Cooper says jobless benefit requests have surged to 18-thousand since Tuesday. That's when the governor issued an executive order loosening rules for jobless claims as bars, restaurants and other businesses cut-down operations. Under normal circumstances, the state sees about three-thousand claims a week.

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