Associated Press

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.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday ordered all schools in the state to close for at least two weeks, joining other states around the country switching to online learning as the coronavirus spreads. Cooper said he is also issuing an executive order banning all gatherings of more than 100 people. Cooper had already strongly discouraged large gatherings, but said several venues continued their events. The governor's order makes it mandatory.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has strongly discouraged large meetings and gatherings statewide to limit the magnitude of the coronavirus outbreak. Cooper and health officials recommended that starting Friday all meetings of more than 100 people be postponed, canceled or modified. Telecommuting is also being encouraged for employees statewide. The governor already declared a state emergency earlier this week and had encouraged older or medically fragile adults to avoid large gatherings. Cooper says his more restrictive guidance will help blunt the spread of the virus and save lives.


North Carolina's top public health official says the number of people in the state testing positive for coronavirus has grown to 12. State Health Director Elizabeth Tilson announced the four additional cases Thursday while at a task force meeting about the state's response COVID-19. Gov. Roy Cooper already declared a state of emergency earlier this week and said he expected to provide more guidance to the public later Thursday. Recommendations on mass gatherings and working already have been released.

A man who won a North Carolina school board primary has been fired from his job and asked to withdraw from the race because of a slur about black people that he posted on social media. Eric Whitfield won the Republican nomination for the Onslow County Board of Education race. He posted the comment on Facebook. Whitfield has since deactivated his page. He was an instructor at the Jacksonville Christian Academy but was subsequently fired. Two sitting board members have asked Whitfield to withdraw from the race.


North Carolina health officials say five more people have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to seven statewide. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says all five new patients are from Wake County and each traveled to Boston in late February to attend a conference. Their tests are being sent to federal authorities for final confirmation. The department said in a statement Monday that several cases of COVID-19 across the country have been linked to the conference.

An eastern North Carolina health system says a budget shortfall is causing them to layoff nearly 200 workers. News sources report Vidant Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum said in an email that the first steps to eliminate the $18 million budget shortfall during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was to reduce costs, implement operational efficiencies and to discontinue recruitment. Waldrum said the 191 positions to be cut will be on the business and administration side of the health care system. Of the total, 82 jobs will be cut at the corporate level.


North Carolina health officials say a second person has tested positive for coronavirus in a case unrelated to the first one. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a news release Friday saying that the person tested positive for COVID-19, the strain causing the fast-moving illness. The state test will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state health officials say the person is in isolation at home and is doing well. They say the Chatham County man had traveled last month to an area of Italy that has an outbreak. 


The director of a local North Carolina public health agency says some people have been asked to voluntarily self-quarantine after coming in contact with a man who tested positive for coronavirus. Chris Kippes, director of Wake County's division of public health, told a news conference on Wednesday that the request was made of a number of people within the county and elsewhere in the state after coming within 6 feet of the patient for at least 10 minutes after he began to show symptoms.


North Carolina's governor says a person in the state has tested positive for the fast-spreading coronavirus.

North Carolina primary voters are deciding which Democrat they believe could unseat Sen. Thom Tillis and whether the current GOP lieutenant governor is best suited to oust Gov. Roy Cooper in the fall. Tuesday's primary results should set the fall election lineups for seats currently held by Cooper and Tillis, who both had their own primaries. Tillis' Democratic rival will be one of five seeking their party's nomination, with Cal Cunningham and Erica Smith the leading candidates. Dan Forest and Holly Grange are seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will go head to head with Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest this fall if each wins his respective party's gubernatorial primary next week. Also running on Super Tuesday are a slew of candidates seeking the Council of State's nine other statewide positions. Forest and state Rep. Holly Grange are seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Cooper faces low-key opposition in the primary from Democratic challenger Ernest Reeves. Fifteen people are seeking the Democratic or Republican bids for lieutenant governor to succeed Forest.

A steady run of Democratic presidential candidates to North Carolina is starting as the days dwindle before Tuesday's primary. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the return as he participates Wednesday in an anti-poverty forum at the Goldsboro church of civil rights activist the Rev. William Barber. Sanders also has a Winston-Salem rally on Thursday. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be in Raleigh later Thursday for a televised town hall. She and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are speaking Saturday in Charlotte at a state Democratic Party event.

A North Carolina appeals court has joined a federal judge in ruling against the state's newest voter photo identification law. Tuesday's unanimous decision means it's increasingly unlikely that North Carolina voters will have to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in this year's elections. The decision reverses last July's lower court ruling, which said a challenge of the law wasn't likely to win at trial.


Contractors will soon be placing sandbags along a stretch of N.C. 12 on North Carolina's Outer Banks to protect the road from getting washed out again. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday that the North Carolina Department of Transportation is using the sandbags  to reinforce a ridge of sand between the Atlantic ocean and the road on Ocracoke Island. The new dune replaces one that was washed away by Hurricane Dorian. The September storm flooded the island and buckled about 1,000 feet of roadway. Highway 12 reopened in early December.