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Coronavirus NC updates: President Trump approves major disaster declaration for North Carolina over COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus NC updates: President Trump approves major disaster declaration for North Carolina over COVID-19 outbreak 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

  • Wake County is set to announce a stay-at-home order Thursday at 1 p.m to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. ABC11 will air the announcement on-air and online.
  • Orange County leaders are expected to announce a similar stay-at-home order on Thursday morning. County Commissioner Sally Greene said the order will go into effect Friday at 6 p.m.
  • Durham’s stay-home order begins Thursday at 6 p.m. Mayor Steve Schewel says the order is nothing to fear and that residents can travel to essential jobs, get groceries and check on family members. Stay-at-home orders were issued in other regions of the state, including in the Triad where Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem are enforcing orders.
  • Two deaths in the state were announced on Wednesday, with one victim from Cabarrus County. The person died on Tuesday from complications linked to coronavirus. The person was in their late 70s and had underlying medical conditions. A second person in their 60s, from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications.
  • PNC Arena in Raleigh will host a blood drive on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donors will be asked to wait in their cars and will be contacted by call or text when it’s their time to donate in accordance with social distancing.

The number of deaths in the United States surpassed 1,000 on Wednesday and more than 21,000 worldwide according to ABC News. There are more than 472,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 worldwide.

Thursday would have been opening day for Major League Baseball. COVID-19 has shut down all professional sports in the U.S.

RELATED | Raleigh’s plan for Dix Park, affordable housing community to take a huge hit as Wake County preps stay-at-home order

Here’s a full rundown of Wednesday’s COVID-19 related news.
9:30 p.m.
Granting a request filed Tuesday by Gov. Roy Cooper, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for North Carolina on Wednesday evening.

According to the White House, the declaration makes funding available to state, tribal and eligible local governments affected by COVID-19 pandemic beginning on Jan. 20.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Gracia B. Szczech as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

7:25 p.m.
Wake County announced there are a total of 84 positive cases of COVID-19 within the county as of Wednesday evening.

6:30 p.m.
Durham County announced 10 new positive cases of COVID-19, raising the county total to 84.

The Durham County Department of Public Health has notified any individuals who may have come in contact with the 10 residents.

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4:55 p.m.
The Cumberland reported three new residents have tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said two cases were reported by Womack Army Medical Center Department of Public Health another case was from a private provider.

Public Health officials are working to notify anyone who may have been in close contact with the three residents.

4:15 p.m.
Wayne County announced a third positive case of COVID-19.

This patient tested positive for COVID-19 and remains isolated and hospitalized, the Wayne County Health Department said. Attempts are being made to identify close contacts and help prevent the spread of this illness.

3:05 p.m.
North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell announced he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after taking a trip with his son.

In a news release, Folwell said he cut his trip short and came to Raleigh for three days on March 16. He said he has a perennial cough that is usually aggravated by spring pollen, but monitored his temperature for signs of fever.

Though he saw no increase in his temperature, Folwell said he consulted with a doctor and was tested for the novel coronavirus Monday.

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Folwell said he has quarantined himself. His staff at the Department of State Treasurer has been notified, and only those absolutely necessary for daily business will be in the building.

“My thoughts and prayers are with not only those who are sick, but those who are impacted by the vast financial fallout of this pandemic,” Folwell said in a written statement. “We will continue to work diligently to make sure retiree checks still go out on time, the State Health Plan provides comprehensive health care coverage, and state banking operations continue uninterrupted.”

2:55 p.m.
Orange County health officials announced the county is developing a stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

In the meantime, officials said they strongly urge residents to stay at home and keep their distance from one another.

2:30 p.m.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office’s COVID-19 Staff Support Services Team said that 11 staff members have been asked to self-isolate in their homes for 14 days.

Those affected, which consists of five deputies, one telecommunicator and five detention officers, either reported flu-like symptoms or has a spouse who is also in isolation because they’ve possibly encountered someone while working in the healthcare industry.

All employees show no signs of coronavirus and are being monitored by their primary care physicians.

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2:00 p.m.
In a news conference, Governor Roy Cooper emphasized that Wednesday would be a day of mourning for the first two COVID-19-related deaths in North Carolina.

“I want us to remember these families as they are having a difficult time right now,” Cooper said. “Say a prayer for those families who have to wait outside a hospital room when a person is critically ill.”

Cooper continued to stress the importance of social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. When asked about individual counties and cities issuing stay-at-home orders, he urged residents to stay home said he would issue additional orders soon.

“We want people to stay at home. Local communities are doing what they think is right,” Cooper said. “It’s important for us to make sure that we are deliberate and that we get this right.”

When asked about unemployment checks, Cooper said the agency was working to process the claims received in the last week.

“This is an organization that has been used to 3,000 claims a week, and we got 80,000 very quickly when this happened,” Cooper said.

Cooper also said he hoped the federal $ 2 trillion economic stimulus bill would provide some relief to North Carolinians and small businesses in the state.

In the same news conference, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen reiterated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking those experiencing mild symptoms to stay at home and call their doctor.

“As a physician, I can say testing someone won’t change what we ask them to do,” Cohen said, implying that anyone with mild symptoms, whether or not they test positive for COVID-19, will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor their own symptoms.

Cohen reminded listeners that there are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, nor is there a vaccine against the virus.

1:50 p.m.

Senate leaders from both parties are joining forces to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

“Earlier this week the two of us had a lengthy discussion about how to best address the COVID-19 crisis in North Carolina,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham and Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake, in a release to ABC11. “We agreed that the best route was to survey the state for needs and come to a consensus with Governor Cooper and the House for how to help all North Carolinians.

“In order to accomplish that, we will ask senators with interest or issue-area expertise in COVID-19 to reach out to their community to compile specific ideas for how we can respond. We will continue to lean on every member of the Senate during this time to do outreach. Those conversations are providing insight into how the state can and will move forward from this crisis. With those ideas in mind, the issue-area leaders will come together, compare notes and report back to leadership.”

The Senate leaders will hold a joint leadership call to update the efforts later in the week.

1:40 p.m.
Organizers of Out! Raleigh Pride have decided to move the date of the event to Sunday, Aug. 9. All sponsorships and vendor booths will be honored for the 10th year of the event.

“In the meantime, and to build momentum as we move towards August 9th, we are going to hold a Virtual Out! Raleigh Pride Vendor Fair! The virtual event will launch on the original date of May 30th and run until August 9th,” the LGBT Center of Raleigh Staff, Board of Directors, and Out! Raleigh Pride Planning Committee said in a release.

1:40 p.m.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has announced that it is canceling all school proms.

11:40 a.m.
A chairman for the Wake County Board of Commissioners announced that the county will be issuing a stay-at-home order “very soon.” Greg Ford said on Twitter that the county is working on a draft declaration and will make an announcement at a press conference Thursday.

RELATED: Here’s how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19

11:30 a.m.
In a news conference, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel officially announced a stay-at-home order for the City of Durham. Schewel said he expects Durham County to issue a similar order in the next few days.

Though Schewel said most of the county’s 74 cases were related to travel, eight have been identified as cases of community transmission.

Watch the full announcement here:

“This is our window to intervene,” Schewel said. “If we are going to stop the spread of the virus, this is our window.”

The order prohibits gatherings of 10 people or more in public or private settings. In any gatherings under 10 people, all participants must practice social distancing.

11:10 a.m.
The state is reporting the first deaths related to COVID-19, including a victim out of Cabarrus County.

A person died on Tuesday from complications linked to coronavirus. The person was in their late 70s and had underlying medical conditions.

A second person in their 60s, from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

10:45 a.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 504 cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, up more than 100 cases from the day before. At least 10,489 people have been tested for the virus across the state.

Wednesday’s report marks the highest single-day increase in the number of cases.

RELATED: Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

As of Tuesday night, 73 people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Wake County and 74 tested positive in Durham County. Durham officials said they have found evidence of community spread, meaning some patients did not know where they contracted the virus.

10 a.m.
Three Chatham County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Officials say six people have now tested positive within the county. That number is expected to rise.

“Because of the infectiousness of the new coronavirus, we expect the number of cases to continue to rise,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long. Long states, “I urge the public not to focus on specific confirmed case counts but rather, as a result of known community transmission occurring in NC, those things that we all can do collectively to slow the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and those at higher risk of serious illness: stay home and away from public places to the fullest extent possible, practice social distancing if you do have to go out, do not go out, if you are having symptoms (call your doctor), and wash your hands and sanitize surfaces that may have come into contact with others before touching them.”

9 a.m.
Duke University Hospital has joined the first national study to test a possible therapy for COVID-19. Duke is giving hospitalized adults with symptoms a chance to participate in the study.

The investigational treatment is known as remdesivir, an antiviral agent previously tested in humans with Ebola. The treatment has shown promise in animal studies against MERS and SARS, which emerged from different strains of the coronavirus. Eligible patients can be enrolled immediately.

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