The mayor of the eastern North Carolina city of Washington has died from complications of the coronavirus. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the city announced his death on Wednesday night. Mac Hodges had been mayor since 2013 and was described as a “legend and a leader.” He tested positive for COVID-19 in July. City officials said in a statement that “we are heartbroken." But the statement also said that they are thankful for his amazing leadership and the friendship he provided. Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted his condolences.

East Carolina University

University police say about 20 parties, including one with nearly 400 people in attendance, were shut down at a university in North Carolina during the school’s opening weekend. A campus police official at East Carolina University told McClatchy News Wednesday the parties were held last week and over the weekend. The official says most of the gatherings that authorities shut down had between 25 and 50 people in attendance. Parties of 25 people or more violate the state’s ban on large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Gov. Roy Cooper says he’s preparing to accept extended unemployment benefits for North Carolina that President Donald Trump ordered as part of the continuing response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The Democratic governor told top Republican legislators of his plan Wednesday. GOP leaders asked him on Tuesday to act quickly to ensure North Carolina workers can get an additional maximum weekly benefit of at least $300. The legislature says it plans to authorize the state's share of matching funds the order requires next month.


North Carolina public health officials have announced a major reporting error in the number of coronavirus tests conducted since the start of the pandemic. North Carolina previously reported having more than 2 million COVID-19 tests performed. Officials now say that is 200,000 more than were actually performed. They blame LabCorp. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen says the company gave different numbers when it reported electronically and manually. She noted the error doesn't affect data on key metrics such as the number of confirmed cases and deaths.


The number of COVID-19 cases at East Carolina University in Greenville tripled last week.  The university began tracking confirmed cases of coronavirus on July 5.  From July 5 through August 1st, an average of 11.5 students and employees tested positive each week.  However, the university said there were 30 cases the week of August 2nd through the 8th, just before classes began.

Campus workers in the University of North Carolina system have filed a lawsuit saying working conditions are unsafe and that workers are reporting for work with inadequate protective equipment in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the union representing the workers says some university employees, including housekeepers and other campus workers, are provided one or two masks per week and many don’t have access to face shields or gowns.

Gov. Roy Cooper - Twitter

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 2.9 aftershock rattled the North Carolina town where a 5.1 earthquake on Sunday shook items from grocery store shelves and was felt from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta. The USGS website shows the aftershock occurred around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and was centered almost 2 miles (3 kilometers) southeast of Sparta. The latest aftershock occurred hours after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper toured the town to survey the damage. Cooper met with homeowners as well as with local and county officials.

Angela Hsieh/NPR

Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that California Sen. Kamala Harris would be his vice presidential running mate. They are giving remarks together on Wednesday. Watch live at 4:30.

North Carolina’s Attorney General will have his office investigate the sources behind so-called “forever chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in the southeastern part of the state. The Fayetteville Observer reports that  AG Josh Stein made the announcement on Monday. The chemicals his office will focus on include substances like PFAS and GenX. PFAS are used in industrial processes to make things like nonstick coatings and fire suppression foams. Stein says the chemicals do not break down once they are released into the environment.


North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has won another legal victory defending his COVID-19 executive orders, this time involving a lawsuit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. A judge on Tuesday refused to block temporarily his orders limiting business activities and mass gatherings and mandating face coverings. Forest sued Cooper last month, saying the orders were unlawful because he failed to first get support from the Council of State.


Some Eastern North Carolina counties are reporting Coronavirus related fatalities on Monday.  The Beaufort County Health Department said four residents died from COVID-19.  One person died Saturday and the other three individuals died today. The recent fatalities brings the county’s death toll to six.  The Craven County Health Department reports a thirteenth resident has died from Coronavirus complications. The individual tested positive for COVID-19 on July 28. The person had several underlying health conditions.  Statewide, there are 2,172 deaths due to the virus.

The two most powerful state lawmakers in North Carolina want President Donald Trump and Joe Biden to have an extra presidential debate. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger are pushing for a fourth debate to be held in North Carolina. Trump's campaign has called for the additional debate, though it did not name a particular desired host site. The Commission on Presidential Debates turned down the request but said it would consider the possibility of an extra debate if both candidates agreed to it.


Data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction shows most K-12 parents won't have the option of sending their kids back to school at the start of the fall, even partially. Gov. Roy Cooper allowed districts to opt for fully remote learning in his reopening guidance. His Republican gubernatorial election opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, wants every parent to be able to have the choice for fully in-person learning five days a week.

The Pitt County Health Department said Friday that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual began exhibiting symptoms on Sunday and is currently at home in self-isolation.

State health officials have taken additional steps to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a

Hurricane season has already been busy this year, but forecasters say it should get even nastier soon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday increased its forecast for the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes this year to far above normal. Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season forecasting, is calling for twice the number of named storms and hurricanes this year — 24 of them. That means the season likely will run out of traditional names and start to use Greek letters. There already have been nine named storms.


Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions keeping high-risk businesses closed and mass gatherings severely limited will remain in place for another five weeks. The governor's decision announced on Wednesday means the mandates under his current executive order set to expire later this week will be extended beyond Labor Day at least. Bars, gyms, movie theaters and amusement parks must remain closed and a face covering requirement in public places will continue.


Tropical Storm Isaias has moved well out of Eastern North Carolina, but not after leaving behind a trail of damage.  Gov. Roy Cooper said today the storm made landfall at Ocean Isle Beach with 85 mph winds and 3-5 feet of storm surge. As it moved across Eastern North Carolina, many communities reported downed trees and powerlines and flooding.

“Damaging winds and likely tornadoes spun out from the storm, including one in Bertie County that tragically killed two people, and sent about a dozen others to the hospital,” said Cooper.

Motorist across Eastern North Carolina should be cautious of storm damage impacting travel this morning. 

A portion of East 3rd Street between Jarvis and Summit in Greenville is still closed due to a tree on a power line.  The city said in a facebook post that multiple traffic signals are out and Greenville Police are handling traffic control until they are repaired.  Greenville Utilities Commission reports 2,800 customers in Greenville are without power.  City crews will be out in the city throughout the day to assist with clean-up efforts.  

City of New Bern - Facebook

Sustained winds of about 30-40 miles per hour, and gusts up to 60 miles per hour across Craven County toppled numerous trees on to roads and power lines.  About 20,000 customers are currently without electricity in Craven County.  Most of the damage occurred in the northern and western part of the county, including the towns of Cove City, Dover, Fort Barnwell, and Vanceboro. 

City of Jacksonville - Facebook

Hurricane Isaias toppled numerous trees in the City of Jacksonville, causing widespread power outages and damage to a home in the Holiday City subdivision. The two adults and three children in the home had to be taken to a shelter. No one was injured.  Downed trees on power lines caused as many as 19,000 customers to lose power after the storm’s center passed north of Jacksonville, said Glenn Hargett, Jacksonville Assistant City Manager.


updated 5:55 am Tue. August 4, 2020

Hurricane Isaias has caused widespread power outages across Eastern North Carolina, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the dark.

Isaias is forecast to return to hurricane strength early as it approaches the Carolinas, where residents are being warned to brace for flooding rains and storm surge. Isaias remained a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph on Monday morning, where the storm remained more than 200 miles south-southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Conditions in Myrtle Beach were overcast but calm Monday morning as people strolled the shoreline. In North Carolina, officials were wrapping up evacuations of Ocracoke Island, which took a beating from Hurricane Dorian last year.


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency to aid in preparations for Hurricane Isaias, which he says will bring atypical challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency declaration issued on Friday runs as another declaration for the coronavirus has been in place for months. Cooper says the state could feel the greatest impact of the storm Monday night and into Tuesday. Tropical storm-force winds could be felt as early as Sunday night. Hyde County authorities announced that Ocracoke Island will be evacuated starting Saturday.

Local Scientists Explore New Way To Test For COVID-19

Jul 31, 2020

Scientists at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City are conducting research that may change the way Covid-19 infection rates are measured. PRE’s Jamie Rodriguez has more.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the departure of its chief operating officer has nothing to do with State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s call to replace him. The DOT says Chief Operating Officer Bobby Lewis’ last day is Friday. An agency spokesperson says Lewis submitted his resignation letter nine days before Folwell announced July 15 he wanted the chief operating officer and chief financial officer removed from their jobs. DOT spokeperson Jamie Kritzer says Folwell hadn't communicated with anyone at the department before distributing his news release.

Duke Energy

North Carolina regulators have told the state’s big for-profit electric, natural gas and water utilities to keep delaying disconnections through August as customers still struggle financially from COVID-19. The state Utilities Commission issued an order late Wednesday, the same day a provision expired in Gov. Roy Cooper’s separate executive order that prevented shutoffs for all residential customers.

N.C. Dept. of Agriculture

The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled for this year due to safety, financial and attendance challenges from COVID-19. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the announcement Wednesday. The fair was first held in 1853 is one of the state’s largest annual attractions, bringing in roughly 1 million visitors every October. The fair was last canceled during World War II. Troxler also cited the uncertainty of whether current mass gathering restrictions will be eased.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

On Thursday at 1030 a.m., Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta holds a celebration of life for Rep. John Lewis, who died at 80.


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he’s curbing alcohol sales hours at restaurants starting later this week in another effort to stem COVID-19. Cooper announced on Tuesday that starting Friday the eateries, distilleries and breweries will have to cut off sales at 11 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. Health officials says they're concerned more young people are contracting the virus and want to discourage late-night gatherings where social distancing isn’t happening. The order doesn’t apply to grocery or convenience stores, and bars remain closed.