Cooper: Decision on Schools Coming, Cases up in NC, Deaths Spike

Hundreds Protest To Re-Open Businesses

(Raleigh, NC) -- Protesters are increasing the call to re-open North Carolina businesses. Hundreds of people taking part in a ReOpen NC protest gathered near the legislature in downtown Raleigh yesterday to urge Governor Cooper to lift the stay-at-home order. Many ignored social distancing guidelines in the process. One Wake Forest resident told the News and Observer the government is just using scare tactics and taking health risks out of proportion.

North Carolina Company Approved To Provide At-Home Testing Kits

(Burlington, NC) -- A North Carolina-based company is about to start rolling out at-home COVID-19 testing kits. LabCorp announced yesterday it's been given FDA approval to offer testing that includes a nasal swab for everyday consumers. An initial wave of kits will only be made available to healthcare workers and first responders. Anyone taking part must mail their samples back to LabCorp for results.

More Coronavirus Cases In NC

(Raleigh, NC) -- The number of coronavirus cases is now around 71-hundred for North Carolina. The News and Observer reported totals last night from state health officials and county health departments, which also show around 330 cases in the mountain region. That's a slight increase from Monday. Governor Cooper is expected to make a decision this week on the calendar for public schools, which are closed until mid-May at the moment.

Buncombe Jail Population Down Since Mid-March

(Buncombe County, NC) -- The jail population is lower than normal at the Buncombe County Detention Center. A sheriff's office spokesperson told the Citizen-Times there are close to 200 less inmates at the jail now than there were in mid-March. The population of 346 on April 17th was also roughly 200 less than the daily average last year. Some of those inmates were released in an effort to downsize by a judge, who said they were facing misdemeanor offenses and posed no threats. There have been no positive cases of coronavirus at the Buncombe jail so far.

Study: Asheville One Of Hardest Hit Cities

(Asheville, NC) -- A new study shows the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Asheville harder than most mid-size cities in the country. The e-commerce website Volusion has compiled a list of cities based on the impact shutdowns are having on the leisure, retail and hospitality industries. More than 28-percent of Asheville's workforce is involved in those areas, which put it ninth on the list.

Tax Scam Letter Being Sent To Buncombe Residents

(Buncombe County, NC) -- There's a tax scam letter floating around the Asheville area. Buncombe County's tax department says some residents are receiving mail that asks the recipient to pay unpaid federal taxes to a unit of the county's Public Judgment Records, which actually doesn't exist. Tax officials advise to avoid calling the phone number listed in the letter.

Coronavirus Cases Rise Slightly In Mecklenburg County

(Mecklenburg County, NC) -- Coronavirus cases are up slightly in Mecklenburg County. Public health officials identified 24 new cases yesterday, which was half the number reported on Monday. Statewide numbers now sit around 71-hundred, with around 240 deaths. It's taken roughly 13 days for cases to double in North Carolina.

Gaston County Pushing For Business Re-Openings Soon

(Gaston County, NC) -- Gaston County is preparing to gradually re-open businesses. It's unclear what decision Governor Cooper will make on the state's stay-at-home order, but county officials are urging local control. Commission chair Tracy Philbeck says one big reason is because nearly all of Gaston's 120 COVID-19 patients have recovered. He considers the beginning of May as a good target to allow businesses to open with proper social distancing.

Dowless Indicted For Social Security Fraud

(Wilmington, NC) -- The man at the center of District Nine's election fraud scandal less than two years ago is facing more charges. McRae Dowless was indicted earlier this month for allegedly collecting Social Security disability payments while making thousands of dollars working on election campaigns in 2018. Counts include Social Security fraud, theft of government property and making false statements. Dowless has already been accused of illegally harvesting ballots, which resulted in a do-over for the Ninth District Congressional race.

One Injured In Waffle House Shooting

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is investigating a shooting at a University City Waffle House. Officers say the victim was injured when a suspect attempted a robbery inside the restaurant last night. The alleged gunman ran away on foot. The man's injuries weren't considered to be life-threatening.

Teen Running To Raise Money For Food Non-Profit

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Charlotte teen is hitting the ground running for a good cause. Sixteen-year-old Colin Shaver told NBC Charlotte he's running 26-miles in 26-hours to raise money for Loaves and Fishes. The organization's executive director says they served meals to triple the amount of families than normal last week. Shaver's GoFundMe page had raised more than 32-hundred-dollars of his five-thousand-dollar goal as of last night. He'll be finishing up the run today.

Hornets' Face Mask Purchase Helps Hunger Relief

(Charlotte, NC) -- Basketball fans can help out a charity by purchasing a Charlotte Hornets face mask. The NBA and WNBA set up an initiative to produce protective masks showing each team's logo, with every penny going towards the hunger relief organization Feeding America. A single mask costs 15-bucks, while a pack of three costs 25-dollars.

Governor's Decision On Whether To Extend Stay-At-Home Order To Be Announced This Week

(Raleigh, NC) -- Governor Roy Cooper is promising to announce a decision later this week on whether he will extend the statewide stay-at-home order beyond its expiration date. The order is scheduled to run through April 29th. At a news conference Tuesday, Cooper said he will also unveil a new plan to ease restrictions in a responsible way, so that the coronavirus does not spike. Cooper also announced that he had signed a new executive order allowing furloughed workers who've received severance pay, to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

One Day Spike In Coronavirus Deaths

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports there were 187-new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, which brought the total number to around 71-hundred. Of that number, there were around 240-deaths. The Department said the one day death toll of 34 Tuesday, marked the largest single day of COVID-19 fatalities since the outbreak first began.

Raleigh City Council Approves $1-Million In Assistance To Small Businesses

(Raleigh, NC) -- The City of Raleigh has approved a one-million dollar economic relief package to provide some relief to struggling small businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus. The funds will be administered by the Carolina Small Business Development Fund and Wake Tech Community College. Starting next week, small businesses will be allowed to apply for up to ten-thousand dollars. The money can be used for rent, utilities and payroll. Business owners are prohibited from using the funds to pay themselves.

Plasma Research Team Now Looking For Donors To Help Fight Virus

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill have started to collect blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus. Doctors are trying to determine if antibodies built up against COVID-19 and stored up in plasma, can be used to fight the virus in sick patients. Persons wishing to donate plasma must have been symptom free from the virus for at least 28-days. For more information contact the Plasma Task Force At UNC Medical Center.

Guilford Co. Schools Offers Free Childcare For Healthcare Workers

(Guilford Co., NC) - Guilford County Schools is the first district in the state to offer free childcare for healthcare workers. Three of its elementary schools are opening up their facilities for healthcare workers who are facing coronavirus on the frontlines. A district spokesperson tells FOX 8 parents can drop their kids off between 6 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Hunter, Irving Park and Shadybrook elementary schools are participating in the program.

Winston-Salem City Leaders Announce 'Mask The City' Initiative

(Winston-Salem, NC) - Winston-Salem city leaders are teaming up with medical experts to launch a new initiative called "Mask the City." Three-hundred-thousand specially-designed masks will be provided for community members. The initiative also calls for extending social distancing efforts for another 40 days. Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health joined Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines in rolling out the plan yesterday. Their goal is to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

More COVID-19 Cases

(Undated) - North Carolina Health officials are reporting around 71-hundred cases of COVID-19 in the state. The state Department Health and Human Service said around 240 people died of COVID-19 as of yesterday afternoon. There are 805 cases in the Piedmont Triad and 31 deaths.

Teen Stabbed To Death In Greensboro

(Greensboro, NC) - A homicide investigation is underway in Greensboro after a teen was stabbed to death. It happened just before noon yesterday in the 32-hundred-block of Randlemann Road. Seventeen-year-old Decarrio James was found suffering a stab wound in the parking lot. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died. A possible suspect was not identified.

Lowes Food Employee Contracts Coronavirus

(Burlington, NC) - A Lowes Food employee is recovering from coronavirus. A worker at the University Drive store in Burlington tested positive for the virus and is receiving medical care. Lowes Food issued a statement, saying they thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the store, and with the support of the local health department, they decided to remain open.

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