COVID Positivity Rate Drops to 5.9% in N.C., South African Variant in NC

New Strain Of COVID Found In North Carolina

(Raleigh, NC) -- A new strain of COVID-19 is now in North Carolina. The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed yesterday that a variant first reported in South Africa last fall has been identified in one COVID-19 case from the central part of the state. Like the U.K. strain, it is also considered to be more contagious than most cases confirmed in the U.S. during the pandemic. Health officials have recently suggested wearing two cloth masks to help reduce transmission.

Suspected Drug Traffickers Arrested In Buncombe

(Asheville, NC) -- Two suspected drug traffickers are facing charges in Buncombe County. The sheriff's office seized more than a third-of-a-pound of fentanyl, four handguns and 74-thousand-dollars in cash during arrests in the Reynolds community yesterday. It concluded an investigation into trafficking that began several months ago. Both men were being held at the Buncombe County Detention Facility last night.

UNC Asheville Offering To Serve As Vaccine Site

(Asheville, NC) -- UNC Asheville is throwing its name in the hat as a possible COVID-19 vaccination site. The university's chancellor said yesterday they've applied with North Carolina Health and Human Services to help provide doses five-days-a-week. Western Carolina University in Cullowhee is also preparing to host a vaccine clinic inside its Health and Human Services building. The school expects to receive doses soon, and is targeting next Thursday as its opening date.

Select North Carolina Walgreens Offering COVID Vaccines

(Undated) -- A handful of Walgreens pharmacies in North Carolina are rolling out COVID-19 vaccines. The state is one of 17 in the U.S. Walgreens will begin offering doses today. Over one-million people in North Carolina have received their first vaccine, while over 300-thousand have gotten a second dose.

Shots Fired Into Home With Children Inside

(Asheville, NC) -- Asheville police are trying to figure out who shot into an occupied home. Investigators say a bullet was fired into a home on Whispering Pines Drive yesterday afternoon. There were several children and adults there at the time, but no one was injured.

Free Medicine Offered In Drive-Thru Event

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Over-the-counter medications are available at a free drive-thru event in Asheville today. Workers with NCMedAssist will be on hand from nine-to-two at the Abernathy United Methodist Church. Any individual or families in need can stop by on a first come-first serve basis, but must be at least 18-years-old and remain inside vehicles. Around 100-thousand-dollars-worth of medicine will be on hand.

Gastonia Man Arrested For Threats Against President

(Gastonia, NC) -- A Gastonia man is accused of making multiple threats to kill President Biden. David Reeves appeared in court yesterday following his February 5th arrest. Court documents reveal Reeves called the White House and Capitol Police switchboards multiple times over a span of a few days in late January, making expletive-filled threats. He also allegedly made similar statements with a Secret Service agent over the phone. The judge ordered Reeves to stay behind bars.

Second Doses Given At Speedway This Weekend

(Charlotte, NC) -- Thousands of people are receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. Atrium Health employees will be on hand for three days to administer vaccines to around 16-thousand people who got their first dose at the Speedway in late January. Novant Health is also expecting to vaccinate two-thousand people at the Spectrum Center this weekend. Over one-million people in North Carolina have received their first vaccine, while over 300-thousand have gotten a second dose.

Amazon Reportedly Eyeing Pineville Business Park

(Pineville, NC) -- Amazon appears to be setting up shop in Pineville. The Charlotte Business Journal reported yesterday a recent construction permit named Amazon in a project at Carolina Logistics Park between Downs and Nations Ford roads. The project may take up around one-million-square-feet. The e-commerce giant just opened up a large sorting center in Charlotte last fall, with one-thousand expected employees.

Mooresville PD Ordered To Return Seized Cash

(Mooresville, NC) -- The Mooresville Police Department is being ordered to return nearly 17-thousand-dollars to a man who was arrested for marijuana possession. Officers reportedly seized the cash and a half-ounce of pot from a rental car while the suspect was inside a Mooresville hotel room. A judge ordered the department to give the cash back nearly three months ago, but nothing has happened. Arrest warrants may be issued if the money isn't returned by early next week.

NAACP Wants Cabarrus Library Mural Removed

(Cabarrus County, NC) -- The NAACP is trying to have a mural with Confederate imagery removed from a Cabarrus County library. The picture appears to show a Confederate battle flag, soldiers, slaves and Native Americans. The president of the state's NAACP branch told WSOC-TV the images are offensive and dehumanizing. Cabarrus County released a statement saying the mural has been covered by a screen since 2014, and it is not visible to employees or the public.

LYNX Blue Line Service Schedule Changing

(Charlotte, NC) -- The schedule the LYNX blue line service is changing. The Charlotte Area Transit System announced yesterday the rail will start to run every 20 minutes until 8 p.m. on a permanent basis. The overnight schedule is switching to 30-minute increments. The changes take place starting tomorrow.

House Passes Return To School Bill, Sends It Back To The Senate With Changes

(Raleigh, NC) -- A bill that would require school districts across the state to offer an option for in-person classroom instruction, passed the North Carolina House on Thursday. But before the vote was taken, members made some changes to the Senate version of a similar bill that was approved earlier this week. The House version would make it easier for teachers to continue conducting classes remotely. The bill will now have to go back to the Senate before moving on to the Governor's desk for his signature.

Hospitalizations And Other Metrics Trending Downward In North Carolina

(Raleigh, NC) -- Most COVID-19 key metrics in North Carolina continued on a downward trend Thursday. The Health Department reporting the State's test positive rate was the lowest it had been in three months at 5-point-9 percent. There were also 21-hundred-85 people in the hospital, the fewest number recorded since early December. But the number of new coronavirus cases showed a slight increase yesterday, the four thousand-586 infections were 685-over the day before.

Investigators Determine Pregnant Woman Whose Body Was Found In Suitcase Was Strangled To Death

(Wake County, NC) -- More details coming out about the brutal killing of a 28-year old pregnant Wake County woman, whose body was found stuffed inside a suitcase Monday near the Neuse River. Prosecutors say Brittany Simone Smith was strangled to death, before being placed in the luggage and thrown into the river. The suspects, Thomas Clayton Johnson and Emmalei Trevathan, made their first court appearance Thursday. Both were charged with murder, murder of an unborn child and concealment of a body. Their next court hearing was set for March 4th.

Accused Shooter Of UPS Driver Makes First Court Appearance

(Raleigh, NC) -- Investigators have yet to determine a motive behind the bizarre shooting death of UPS driver Dylan Scott Wall on Wednesday. The suspect, 30-year old Stephen Joseph Bynem, lived just two doors down from where he fired multiple gun shots into Wall as he was delivering packages to a house on South East Street in Raleigh. Bynem made his first court appearance on Thursday.

Man Accused Of Beating, Robbing Wheelchair-Bound Eden Man

(Eden, NC) -- A 34-year-old man is behind bars in Rockingham County after, deputies say, he beat and robbed an elderly man in a wheelchair. The scene unfolded Tuesday morning in the 100-block of Entrance Court in Eden. Michael Muncy Junior is accused of entering the man's home, beating him with a bat, and then stealing his money and medications. Deputies say Muncy also threatened to kill the victim if he called the police. The suspect and the victim reportedly knew each other.

Freezing Rain To Cause Slick Roadways

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Freezing rain will cause slick roadways in the Piedmont Triad. Forecasters say the northern regions of the Piedmont are the most at risk. The system is also expected to bring sleet and snow. Temperatures will teeter right around freezing.

NC A&T Will Not Have Spring Football Season

(Greensboro, NC) -- North Carolina A&T University will not have a spring football season. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference suspended its spring season yesterday because most of the schools opted out. Conference policy states that over 50 percent of institutions must participate in order for the season to move forward.

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