Cases Jump, Hospitalizations Up, Jury Scams Swirling, Panthers Tank Final

Positivity Rate, Hospitalizations Up

(Raleigh, NC) -- The positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is at a record-high in North Carolina. Latest numbers released from public health officials show 14-point-two-percent of tests are coming back positive per day for the last week. There was also another new high in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 on Sunday with nearly 35-hundred-80. The state's health secretary, Dr. Mandy Cohen, urged residents again over the weekend to keep gatherings small and outdoors.

Nonprofit Constructing Emergency Field Hospital

(Lenoir, NC) -- An emergency field hospital is going up in Lenoir to help relieve hospital systems during the coronavirus pandemic. WLOS-TV reports the nonprofit Samaritan's Purse started putting together a site outside Caldwell Health UNC with enough room for 30 hospital beds over the weekend. Patients taking up that bed space are ones who are COVID-19 positive but don't need a ventilator. Caldwell Health's entire ICU was full of COVID patients on January 1st.

Henderson County Schools To Discuss Learning Schedule

(Henderson County, NC) -- A western North Carolina school district is deciding today how to proceed with learning once class begins again this month. The Henderson County board of education will hold a virtual meeting at noon to potentially make the call. All students in Buncombe County Schools will learn remotely from January 5th through 15th.

Jury Scammers Targeting Buncombe Vet Clinics

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Phone scammers are reportedly targeting vet clinics in Buncombe County. The sheriff's office says someone is calling offices from a fraudulent number to notify of an arrest warrant due to failure to respond to a jury summons. The scammers allegedly ask the victim to place money on a prepaid debit card, which the sheriff's office will never do. The best thing to do is hang up the phone.

Large Mixed Development Proposed In Woodfin

(Woodfin, NC) -- Zoning officials are soon set to discuss a large mixed-use development in the town of Woodfin. Developers are planning to build 15-hundred residential units, a hotel, and office buildings next to Asheville's Richmond Hill Park. A zoning hearing initially scheduled for today has been postponed to the beginning of February over COVID-19 concerns. The Citizen-Times reports that an attorney for residents says a virtual meeting would restrict public access.

Humane Society Needs Food Donations

(Asheville, NC) -- The Asheville Humane Society is in need of pet food. The Citizen-Times reports the organization's program to help provide food for those community members in need is running low due to COVID-19 stress. The 95-hundred pounds of pet food given out per month recently is around three times what's normal. Donations can be dropped off at the society's adoption center on Forever Friend Lane.

Church At Center Of Outbreak Holds Large Event

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Charlotte church at the center of the city's largest COVID-19 outbreak is being warned against holding large events again. The United House of Prayer reportedly held another big gathering on Saturday night against the advice of the Mecklenburg County Health Department. The church assured health officials that precautions were being taken and the attendance was limited. There was an outbreak of around 200 cases and eleven deaths following convocation events hosted by the church in October.

Suspect Found Dead After Shooting At Lancaster Deputies

(Lancaster County, SC) -- A man accused of firing shots at Lancaster County deputies is dead. Investigators say law enforcement chased the man into Chester County last night until he wrecked his car. The suspect allegedly fired more shots before running away. He was eventually found dead off Highway Nine near Lewisville High School, but the cause hasn't been released.

Soldier From Gaston County Found Dead

(Fort Bliss, TX) -- The U.S. Army is investigating the death of a soldier from Gaston County. Private first class Asia Graham was only 19-years old when she was found unresponsive in her barracks at Fort Bliss, Texas on New Year's Eve. There's no word on how she died. Graham had been stationed at Fort Bliss for just over a year.

Suspect Arrested In Ashe County Homicide

(Ashe County, NC) -- A suspect is accused of killing a man in Ashe County. The victim was shot to death at a home in the Fleetwood community on Saturday night. Officers caught the suspect as he pulled into the parking lot of a Lowe's store in the town of West Jefferson. He's in jail without bond.

Panthers Drop Season Finale

(Charlotte, NC) -- The Panthers are heading into the offseason with a loss. Carolina fell to the Saints 33-to-seven at Bank of America Stadium yesterday. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 176 yards with two interceptions. The Panthers end the 2020 season with an overall record of five wins and eleven losses.

NC Hospitals Nearing Capacity For Patient Beds

(Raleigh, NC) -- Hospitals across the Triangle are worried that the impact of holiday travel and social gatherings will push their ability to care for the sick to the brink. Facilities throughout the UNC System are reporting nearly every bed is currently full with January predicted to be the worst month since the start of the pandemic. With some 450 COVID-19 patients now being treated, non-urgent, orthopedic and bariatric surgeries are already being delayed. Hospital officials say the strain is also creating staffing shortages at area hospitals.

Veteran Raleigh Firefighter Killed In Weekend Auto Accident

(Raleigh, NC) -- A Raleigh firefighter was killed in a traffic accident Sunday. It happened around 12:30 p.m. along Six Forks Road and Interstate 540. According to a statement released by the Northern Wake Fire Department, Lt. Herman Gregory Ellis died after his vehicle slammed into several other cars and flipped onto its roof. Ellis was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The veteran firefighter had been with the Department since 2008.

Two People Injured In Separate Shootings Along North Briggs Avenue Sunday

(Durham, NC) -- Police in Durham are investigating two separate shootings Sunday that occurred within the same neighborhood. The first happened around 2 p.m. along the 800-block of North Briggs Avenue, injuring one woman in the ankle. The second left a man hospitalized with serious injuries after being gunned down on Briggs Avenue at Holloway Street. Investigators did not say if the two shootings were related.

Epic Games To Move Its Global Headquarters To Cary Towne Center

(Cary, NC) -- Epic Games has announced plans to purchase the Cary Towne Center Mall and convert it into its new global headquarters. In a statement released Sunday, Epic Games, publisher of the highly successful 'Fortnite,' said it will turn the 980-thousand square foot facility into a multi-use complex that will feature corporate office space as well as residential housing. The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.

Alamance Co. Firefighter Loses Battle With COVID-19

(Alamance Co., NC) -- The E.M. Holt Fire Department is mourning the death of one of its firefighters who lost his battle with COVID-19. Tim Morton died from coronavirus-related complications Saturday night. He was first diagnosed with the disease in September. Morton retired as a sergeant with the Alamance County Sheriff's Office before serving with the E.M. Holt Fire Department.

Burlington Man Accused Of Throwing Massive New Year's Eve Party

(Orange Co., NC) -- A Burlington man is accused of throwing a huge New Year's Eve party. Thirty-year-old Jacob Bethea is charged with violating the governor's executive order and operating an entertainment facility. Orange County sheriff's officials say about 100 people attended the gathering on Palmers Grove Church Road. Deputies also served Bethea with an outstanding warrant from Guilford County for another violation back in September.

Davidson Co. Health Dept. Begins Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines To Elderly

(Davidson Co., NC) -- The Davidson County Health Department is moving on to the next phase of its plan to vaccinate the public against COVID-19. Starting today, the department will distribute coronavirus vaccines to folks 75 and older, as well as front-line and health-care workers. They can register on the health department's website.

Man Found Dead In High Point Hotel

(High Point, NC) -- An investigation is underway in High Point where a man was found dead at a hotel. Staff at Hotel NC discovered the 60-year-old man's body on Sunday. Police say he died overnight. Foul play is not suspected at this time.

Burlington Police Looking For Car Burglar

(Burlington, NC) -- Burlington police are looking for a man accused of breaking into several vehicles. The burglaries happened early Sunday morning in the area of South Church Street and Fountain Place. Surveillance video shows a younger, masked man trying to disable the camera. Anyone with information is urged to call Burlington P-D.

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