COVID Cases Hit 31 in Buncombe, Unemployment Skyrockets, More Parks Close

State Seeking To Use Hotels, Dorms For COVID-19 Patients

(Raleigh, NC) -- State officials are looking for help from FEMA in finding places of isolation for coronavirus patients or those with symptoms. They're considering the use of hotels and dorms for temporary housing as case numbers surge and hospitals overflow. If approved, the federal level would cover 75-percent of the costs.

Coronavirus Cases Top 1,800 In NC

(Raleigh, NC) -- The number of coronavirus cases official statewide number is 1857. The News and Observer reported numbers last night from state health officials and local county health departments that totaled two-thousand-23 in North Carolina. The number of deaths climbed to 16.

Unemployment Claims Skyrocket In State

(Raleigh, NC) -- It's no surprise to see a gigantic jump in unemployment claims for North Carolina amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials revealed yesterday more than 350-thousand people have filed claims since the middle of March. Jobless claims across the country doubled week-to-week, up to six-point-six-million. A WalletHub study shows North Carolina has been the second-hardest hit state in the nation for unemployment.

Asheville, Buncombe Creates Call Center For Coronavirus Questions

(Asheville, NC) -- Buncombe County residents have a quick way to get questions over COVID-19 answered. The city of Asheville is staffing employees to answer questions about the local stay-at-home orders and any other concerns on a new hotline. That number can be found at the website Buncombe-County-dot-org. North Carolinians can also dial 211 for information on food, medical and financial assistance.

More Park Areas Close

(Asheville, NC) -- The Forest Service is closing some more park areas to comply with social distancing guidelines. Trail heads in Bent Creek and Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest were blocked off yesterday. The falls have also been barricaded. All campgrounds in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests were closed down already.

Forest Service Encourage Delay In Burning Debris

(Waynesville, NC) -- Residents in western North Carolina are being asked to delay burning debris. The North Carolina Forest Service is concerned over staff shortages and exposure to COVID-19 while responding to burns that turn out of control. Prescribed burns are also being postponed.

Atrium, Novant Seeking Field Hospital

(Charlotte, NC) -- Atrium and Novant are urging Mecklenburg County officials for a field hospital. The CEOs of the hospital groups sent a letter to the county manager yesterday requesting a three-thousand bed space on the campus of UNC Charlotte. The school's chancellor says they're clearing out six dorms that can be used already. That space would equate to around two-thousand beds. The county is still working to ensure it has enough personal protective equipment to prepare for a surge of coronavirus patients in the next few weeks.

Coronavirus Cases Climb Over 500 In Mecklenburg

(Mecklenburg County, NC) -- The number of coronavirus cases in Mecklenburg County is more than double anywhere else in the state. There were more than 500 cases as of last night, with Wake County at nearly 250. The News and Observer reports more than two-thousand cases in North Carolina, with 16 deaths. Meck's health director says close to 60 homeless people who have tested positive are staying at a local hotel for isolation.

One Dead In Gas Station Shooting

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is looking for the suspect in an east Charlotte gas station homicide. Officers say one man was shot in the parking lot of a Citgo at Morningside Drive and Commonwealth Avenue late last night. The suspect had fled the scene by the time police arrived.

Commercial Burglaries Rise During Closings

(Charlotte, NC) -- Commercial burglaries are on the rise in Charlotte during the stay-at-home order. The CMPD reports businesses left shuttered have been broken into around Plaza Midwood and Central Avenue. The owner of Hattie's Tap and Tavern in NoDa told WBTV someone broke in to steal paper towels and toilet paper. A pizza joint owner says it doesn't really benefit anyone because we're all in the same boat.

Suspect Arrested For Death Of Stepfather

(Rowan County, NC) -- A man is facing charges for the death of his stepfather in Salisbury. Investigators say Abe Helms was allegedly drunk when he assaulted his girlfriend, mother and stepfather at a home on Yost Road early Wednesday. The stepfather was taken to Atrium Health Cabarrus for head pain and died hours later. Helms faces charges including voluntary manslaughter and assault.

Panthers' McCaffrey Starts Coronavirus Fundraiser

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Carolina Panther is helping lead the way for a new fundraiser to benefit frontline healthcare workers. Running back Christian McCaffrey said yesterday he's joining in with Lowe's and the Bose Corporation to start the "22 and You" program. The proceeds raised will go to the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation and South Carolina Hospital Association Foundation. McCaffrey will also be matching the commitment of the companies. He said he's watched the COVID-19 public health emergency unfold with shock and sadness.

Durham School Food Service Employee Diagnosed With COVID-19

(Durham, NC) -- Starting Monday, the Durham Public School District will stop distributing meals to students following the discovery of one of its food service employees testing positive for the coronavirus. A school spokesperson said meals will be delivered today to all 67-school and community center locations. But on Monday, the District will implement a new system of delivering a full weeks worth of meals to certain designated locations. For more information contact the Durham City School District.

Woman Purposely Set On Fire, Suspect In Custody Facing Attempted Murder Charges

(Goldsboro, NC) -- Police in Goldsboro are investigating a case of domestic violence in which a woman was intentionally set on fire Thursday. Latonya McCoy is listed in critical condition at the burn unit of UNC-Chapel Hill after suffering severe burns during an altercation with another woman. Karla Ann Davis of Goldsboro has been arrested and charged with first degree attempted murder. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance today.

Man Arrested For Organizing Party Of Over 70-In A Barn

(Edgecombe County, NC) -- At lease one person in North Carolina has been charged with violating the state's mandate against gatherings of, what was then, more than 50-people during the coronavirus pandemic. Last Saturday, Edgecombe County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a call about a shooting in the Pinetops community. When they arrived, they discovered a gathering of more than 70-people partying at a barn. Authorities arrested and charged the event's organizer, John Fitzgerald Taylor.

Blue Cross Waives Co-Payments And Deductibles For Policyholders Receiving Treatment For Coronavirus

(Raleigh, NC) -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has announced that policyholders who test positive for the coronavirus will not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for treatment. This includes co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance. The state's largest insurer also said the waiver will remain in place at least through June 1st.

Davidson Co. Schools Employee Tested For Coronavirus

(Davidson Co., NC) -- A Davidson County Schools employee is being tested for coronavirus. The Midway Elementary School employee helped deliver food to students on March 25th and started showing symptoms soon after, according to FOX 8. The employee was reportedly diagnosed with COVID-19 based on their symptoms but has not yet tested positive. County health officials told anyone who came in close contact with the person to self-isolate.

Sen. Thom Tillis Speaks About COVID-19

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis is opening up about coronavirus and when things may return to normal. The senator spoke with NBC 12 yesterday. He said it could be a matter of weeks or even months before life returns to normal. Tillis said once the peak of the curve is reached in the coming weeks it is critical for lawmakers to act.

WFU Students Helps Make Masks For Hospital Staff

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- A Wake Forest University student is helping to make masks for healthcare workers who are taking care of COVID-19 patients. Abbie Ashcraft, who's from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, says she started making the masks for family and friends who are in the medical field. She tells NBC 12 she saw the need and began donating masks to nearby hospitals. Ashcraft says the masks are not medical grade, but they can help medical workers who are in need of protection during the current shortage of supplies.

High Point Opens Utility Payment Drive-Thru

(High Point, NC) -- High Point is opening up a drive-thru for residents to pay their utility bills. It's located at 309 East Green Driver, next to the USPS office. The drive-thru will be open 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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