NC Coronavirus Live Updates: Over 7,900 New COVID Cases | Charlotte Observer

By Hayley Fowler and

Simone Jasper

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

95 additional deaths reported

At least 1,330,492 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 15,615 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 7,905 new COVID-19 cases, up from 7,160 the day before. The state health department said a technical issue meant some case numbers reported on Friday were higher than they should have been.

Ninety-five coronavirus-related deaths were added on Friday. State health officials don’t specify the dates on which newly reported deaths occurred.

The state is on track to reach almost 1,120 deaths in September, which could be the highest single-month total seen since February. Vaccines weren’t widely available at that time.

At least 3,573 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 908 adult patients who were being treated in intensive care units, health officials said.

As of Wednesday, the latest date for which data is available, 9.7% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 68% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 63% have been fully vaccinated. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

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What happens to NC school district that broke quarantine rules

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen had threatened legal action against Union County Schools after the district voted to suspend contact tracing and quarantine requirements.

Now it’s unclear what will happen.

“Our attorneys have had productive conversations with attorneys for the Union County Board of Education, and we are hopeful that we can avoid further legal action,” a health department spokesperson said ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline Cohen set for the district.

Cohen’s letter ordering the school board to rethink its decision prompted little reaction from board members, The Charlotte Observer reported. It also stopped short of saying exactly what legal action would be taken.

Experts said the letter might be a way to force the district’s hand or — if that fails — the state can file an action in Superior Court or issue an imminent hazard order.

Nurse plans to use lottery win for COVID patients

A Charlotte nurse who won $216,614 with the Carolina Cash game through the N.C. Education Lottery said she plans to use her winnings for COVID patients.

Shameka Waller, a clinical advising nurse who works with coronavirus patients, said she wants to start a service that helps bed-bound and older patients get access to COVID testing and treatment, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“This win, it’s just great for so many reasons,” Waller said. “I know what I want to do — I want to continue to serve people in need.”

NC veteran’s hospital gives expired COVID vaccine doses

A veteran’s hospital in North Carolina gave expired COVID-19 vaccine doses to almost 300 people.

“At least 281 veterans, spouses, caregivers and employees” received the expired vaccines through the Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System, McClatchy News reported Friday.

Officials say they have been in touch with nearly everyone who was impacted after the expired doses were administered from June 23 to Aug. 19. The doses of the Pfizer vaccine were “frozen between 1 to 21 days longer than the manufacturer’s cold temperature storage requirements support,” spokesperson Gail Cureton said.

COVID rules leave more than 500 Mecklenburg workers suspended

More than Mecklenburg County employees have been suspended for noncompliance with the county’s vaccination or testing requirements.

Unvaccinated county employees who don’t show proof of a negative COVID-19 test face suspension. The total count includes 511 workers, lower than on Wednesday, when the county said about 600 people received the notices.

County Commissioner Pat Cotham said some of those employees may have had trouble with testing or submitting proof of vaccination, The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday. Others could be part-time or temporary, meaning they aren’t actively working for the county.

“It’s always a little bumpy when you do something new for the first time,” County Manager Dena Diorio said Thursday at a town hall. “And we will readily admit that we’ve hit some bumps along the way. But we’re working to resolve those and make sure that we make this as seamless and easy for employees as possible.”

Meanwhile at the sheriff’s office, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the county, no employee has been suspended or deemed noncompliant, a spokesperson said.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra to require vaccines or negative tests

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is set to require that audience members show proof they have been fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 if they want to attend indoor performances.

The rule goes into effect on Oct. 15, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday.

The symphony in a news release said it made the decision “after careful consideration and consultation with Atrium Health, the city of Charlotte, and our partners at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to keep audiences, musicians and staff safe.”

Masks will also be required indoors for guests ages 2 and older who aren’t eating or drinking.

UNC System leaders not pushing for vaccine mandate

Faculty and students are pushing the UNC System to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate — but top leadership won’t budge.

UNC System President Peter Hans said Thursday they can’t legally require a vaccine, The News & Observer reported.

“I think it’s best left in the hands of public health experts,” he said.

President Joe Biden announced a vaccine and testing requirement for large private businesses and federal contractors last week, but it wasn’t immediately clear how it affects colleges and universities. Hans said officials are “awaiting clarity.”

NC Republicans not rushing to push back on Biden mandate

Some well-known GOP leaders in North Carolina haven’t been as fierce as Republicans in other states in response to President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandates.

The reaction comes as polls show most Americans support COVID-19 vaccines, and state legislators are set to be reelected next year.

“Republicans’ milder response to the recent mandate reflects a political calculation by conservative politicians that the issue isn’t worth wading into now, even though the party is generally opposed to government mandates,” The News & Observer reported Thursday.

Some in the GOP are waiting for more information about the president’s vaccine requirements, while others consider that the issue will pass before voters begin going to the polls in March, the N&O reported.

Monoclonal antibody clinics offering treatment

As the delta coronavirus variant spreads, the demand for a treatment that uses monoclonal antibodies has risen.

The treatment is available in North Carolina at mobile clinics that help to keep patients out of crowded hospitals, The News & Observer reported Thursday.

“While vaccines are our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, monoclonal antibody treatment is available if you do get infected,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “This treatment will help us save more lives as we work to turn the corner on the pandemic.”

This story was originally published September 17, 2021 7:06 AM.

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COVID vaccine live updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Sept. 18


COVID vaccine live updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Sept. 18