Associated Press

Tropical Storm Arthur brought heavy rain to North Carolina's coast on Monday as forecasters warned that the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season could also spread life-threatening surf and rip currents along U.S. East coast beaches in the days ahead.

It's another early start for the Atlantic hurricane season: Arthur formed Saturday in waters off Florida, marking the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed before June 1.

North Carolina government is offering widespread testing or protective equipment to workers in two of the more vulnerable living settings for COVID-19 outbreaks. The Department of Public Safety unveiled on Thursday a plan to make free testing available starting next week to employees in state prisons and those who supervise offenders in the community. An earlier initiative failed to materialize. Gov. Roy Cooper also says packages of personal protective equipment are being sent to each of the state’s 3,800 long-term care facilities.

One of North Carolina's most powerful Republican elected officials has called on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to give county governments the ability to reopen barbershops and hair salons. Senate leader Phil Berger said on Wednesday that most Southeastern states have allowed these personal service businesses to reopen in some capacity. Salons and barbershops remain closed in the first part of Cooper's three-phase plan to ease out of the state's stay-at-home order. They could reopen in some capacity statewide later this month.

Hundreds of North Carolina state prisoners with COVID-19 are now deemed to have recovered based on government health guidelines. The Division of Prisons calculates that more than 500 of the over 640 offenders testing positive for the new coronavirus meet criteria to be released from medical isolation. Most of the prisoners presumed recovered are housed at the Neuse Correctional Institution. Five prisoners statewide have died from COVID-19-related illnesses. The prison system credits cleaning prisons, isolating the sick and limiting prisoner movement in part for controlling outbreaks.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is defending details of his eased stay-at-home order against criticisms by Republican elected officials and the latest weekly protests at his home. Cooper’s altered COVID-19 order allows more businesses to open, but barber shops, movie theater and gyms remain closed. He's also keeping narrow the exceptions for churches to hold services indoors. Cooper said on Tuesday that “pandemics cannot be partisan" and talked about how he signed a bipartisan COVID-19 funding bill recently.

Three counties on North Carolina's tourist-reliant Outer Banks have announced plans to lift coronavirus-related visitor restrictions. Officials in Currituck, Dare and Hyde counties released a joint statement on Wednesday announcing restrictions on entry for visitors will be lifted at noon on Saturday, May 16. According to the statement, reopening to visitors on that date will allow local businesses, attractions, and accommodation providers time to follow the new business operating requirements put in place by Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order.


North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper has signed legislation pumping $1.6 billion into schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Cooper signed the two bills during a conference call on Monday. They represent a compromise between measures approved separately in the Senate and House last week, with input from the governor and legislative Democrats seeking items in Cooper's own $1.4 billion request. The $1.6 billion is less than half of North Carolina's share received from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law that Congress approved last month.

Through a program called “Feed the Soul,” hospital workers across North Carolina are receiving deliveries of nutritious meals as they respond to growing needs to treat COVID-19 patients. The program also supports local restaurants seeing a slowdown in business.

The coronavirus pandemic could delay the removal of a 72-foot long fishing vessel that has been grounded for weeks on a beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The scallop harvesting boat is considered a safety hazard as curious people climb aboard its rusting hull. The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday that removing the abandoned boat could cost more than $60,000. The boat’s owner is responsible for its removal. But the owner lives in Texas. Stay-at-home orders have limited travel between states. Visitors are also banned from coming to the Outer Banks.


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state's stay-at-home order from COVID-19 will remain in place for at least another two weeks because current data doesn't support loosening restrictions that began in mid-March. The Democratic governor said this and other prohibitions on dine-in restaurant services and mass assemblies has now been extended until May 8. The stay-at-home order was supposed to expired next week. Cooper also unveiled a three-phase plan for reopening based on expanded tracing and testing and declining case growth.

Hundreds of people angry and frustrated with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order marched around his home while demanding that he cancel it to help restore the state's economy.  The crowd gathered on Tuesday before being escorted by Raleigh police motorcycles to walk through downtown Raleigh streets, including those surrounding the Executive Mansion. Cooper’s current order expires April 29, but the governor has said goals still must be met to ease movement and commerce restrictions. He says he'll release more specifics this week about quantifying those goals.

A large COVID-19 outbreak at an eastern North Carolina prison has led officials to shutter a nearby facility so its correctional officers can help relieve staff there. The Division of Prisons said Monday that more than 330 of the 700 offenders at Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro and a dozen of its employees have now tested positive. Nearly all of them are asymptomatic. Officers from the Johnston Correctional Institution should start working at the Neuse prison in a few days now that the Johnston prisoners have been moved elsewhere.

Low-income families in North Carolina with school-age children will soon get additional food benefits thanks to federal funds sought by state government due to the COVID-19 crisis. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday that the state is among the first four states approved to provide help through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer. That's $250 in benefits per child for families whose children are eligible for free and reduced school lunches. The benefits are funded by the federal government and will flow through electronic cards.

A coastal town in North Carolina is lifting restrictions it imposed on visitors because of the coronavirus outbreak. WITN-TV reports the town of Beaufort in Carteret County has ended its police checkpoint near U.S. Highway 70. Mayor Rett Newton says the move is the first step toward taking the waterfront town back to normal. The town declared a state of emergency on March 17 because of the threat posed by the coronavirus and enacted restrictions that were to remain in effect through April 29.

Authorities in North Carolina are reporting 350 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases to 6,500. Numbers released Sunday by the state health department show laboratory-confirmed cases increased from 6,140 cases to 6,493. The death toll increased from 164 to 172.


A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to approximately 150 inmates. The Wayne County Health Department said in a news release Friday that 149 inmates had tested positive for the virus at the state's Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro. State prison officials had announced about 80 of the cases the previous night. The county health officials said that the number of positive results was expected to rise as the prison completes testing on all of its 700 inmates.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper responded to President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the economy by stressing that the state needs the federal government’s help supplying medical professionals to ramp up COVID-19 testing. The state government also said Friday that it was tripling the staff handling unemployment claims as the state faces a crush of hundreds of thousands requests. Trump told governors Thursday that restrictions could be eased to allow businesses to reopen in the coming weeks in areas that have extensive testing and a decline in cases.

More than 70 North Carolina airports have received nearly $284 million in federal aid to help with their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced Tuesday the Federal Aviation Administration will award the money to 72 airports as part of the Trump administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Airport Grant Program. The program is aimed at providing relief to U.S. families, workers, and businesses.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue has granted permission to over 3,400 business to be recognized as essential entities. WRAL-TV reported Wednesday that the businesses that were granted appeal were mostly listed in Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order on March 27. The permission granted by the state was a confirmation for most of them, including landscapers, dog groomers and carpet cleaners. The state has also denied appeal to 533 other businesses unless they put in place more social distancing efforts. Some of these businesses have since partially opened.

Deaths in North Carolina of those with COVID-19 have exceeded 100, but the increase in the number of positive cases may be slowing. The Department of Health and Human Services reported 108 related deaths statewide as of Tuesday and more than 5,000 positive cases. Department Secretary Mandy Cohen mourned the deaths at a media briefing but says social-distancing directives are helping blunt the intensity of the virus. They include Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order.

North Carolina’s governor said Monday that he could ease some coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses after April if social-distancing practices continue to slow the virus outbreak over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, corrections officials said they are allowing some inmates out of state prisons early if they didn’t commit violent crimes and fit certain criteria. Gov. Roy Cooper stressed at a news briefing that relaxing restrictions meant to slow the virus outbreak would be gradual.

Two years after a newly formed North Carolina island was lost to storm surge, officials say a new one appears to be rising in its place on the Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras National Seashore says the nearly 100-foot long formation was discovered Sunday, about a quarter of a mile south of Cape Point. It's in the same area where Shelly Island showed up on a NASA satellite in the fall of 2016. National Park Service officials say the sandbar could either continue growing in size or get washed away with the next storm swell. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and health experts are laying groundwork to convince the public that social distancing orders could be needed beyond April to dull COVID-19′s spread and preserve hospital beds and lives. Cooper’s current statewide stay-at-home order and ban on dine-in service at restaurants and bars currently expire in a few weeks. A team of epidemiologists and other health policy experts released a report Monday that says maintaining social distancing rules gives hospitals a better chance to respond to a patient surge.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and health experts are laying groundwork to convince the public that social distancing orders could be needed beyond April to dull COVID-19's spread and preserve hospital beds and lives. Cooper's current statewide stay-at-home order and ban on dine-in service at restaurants and bars currently expire in a few weeks. A team of epidemiologists and other health policy experts released a report Monday that says maintaining social distancing rules gives hospitals a better chance to respond to a patient surge.

North Carolina's public television network is now airing educational programs designed to complement work that students are doing at home or online while schools are shuttered. University of North Carolina Television started airing shows this week on its North Carolina Channel and on the web focused on learning for children in grades four to 12.  The Department of Public Instruction is also assembling materials related to the programs for online access or for printing. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered K-12 public schools be closed starting March 16.

North Carolina is making it easier to register online to vote or to make registration changes through the Division of Motor Vehicles. The State Board of Elections and the DMV announced this week that people with North Carolina driver's licenses or division-issued IDs can make registration changes on a website without completing a DMV transaction at the same time. The expanded services are free. Registration modifications that can be performed include changing one's address or political party.

Police in North Carolina say they've filed charges against a man who claimed on Facebook that he had the coronavirus and was going to infect others with it. The Craven County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday that Christopher Floyd, 44, of Havelock, has been charged with disorderly conduct. The Sheriff’s Office said that citizens had contacted authorities about the posting. Investigators determined that Floyd did not have the virus. They said he what he posted was a hoax. It's unclear if Floyd has hired an attorney.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a statewide stay-at-home order, saying more movement restrictions are needed to stop the new coronavirus and prevent hospitals from being overrun by the pandemic. Cooper said on Friday the order takes effect late Monday afternoon and lasts for 30 days. It prevents people from leaving their homes except for work that's considered essential, along with getting food, going to the doctor or exercising. Cooper's order also bans groups of more than 10 people. down from the current limit of over 50.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is ordering tighter assembly and business restrictions to attempt to dull the intensity of new coronavirus and directing that public schools remain shuttered longer. Cooper said on Monday his new executive order would make it a misdemeanor for assemblies of more than 50 people, compared to the current prohibition of over 100.  Public schools statewide also will stay closed through May 15. And all hair salons and barber shops, gyms, movie theaters must close by late Wednesday afternoon. State health officials have counted nearly 300 positive COVID-19 cases.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says all restaurants and bars must be closed to dine-in patrons in another effort to dampen the spread of the new coronavirus. Take-out and delivery can continue under an executive order that Cooper said will take effect Tuesday. Bars and restaurants had been exempted from Cooper's prohibition of assemblies of more than 100 people. Cooper's order also is designed to make it easier to help employees harmed financially by broad closings in the state to obtain unemployment benefits.