Associated Press

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. 

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North Carolina's primary elections are heating up with presidential candidates and their surrogates visiting as early in-person voting begins. Registered voters or people who want to register now can cast ballots at locations in all 100 counties starting on Thursday through Feb. 29. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg scheduled early-vote campaign events Thursday in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh. The sister of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders supporter actress Susan Sarandon also planned Thursday events. Sanders has rallies scheduled for Friday in the state.


North Carolina state government has formed a new panel designed to monitor a new virus that has killed over 1,000 people in China. The new Novel Coronavirus Task Force unveiled this week by Gov.

An internet outage caused by a severed fiber line has taken down some Division of Motor Vehicles offices throughout central and eastern North Carolina. The N.C. Department of Transportation says many of the affected offices have closed for the day. News outlets quote the agency as saying a fiber line cut near Benson affected offices from areas surrounding Fayetteville, Wilmington and south of Raleigh. The DMV also experienced outages last Friday, when they said a power outage in the Raleigh area was impacting servers for the N.C.

An eastern North Carolina congressman who died last year could soon be remembered with a local post office named in his memory. Members of the state's congressional delegation have filed legislation designating the “Walter B. Jones Jr. Post Office” in Farmville. That's where the longtime congressman lived until his February 2019 death at age 76. The House approved a resolution last week, while Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis introduced a measure this week. Jones is a former state legislator who had served in Congress since 1995 as a Republican.

Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer

In the five months since Hurricane Dorian battered North Carolina's Outer Banks, workers have hauled away more than 9,000 dump truck loads of debris from a single island, and they're still not done. Hyde County emergency management director Justin Gibbs told The Virginian-Pilot that more than 6,650 tons so far have been put in trucks and ferried to the mainland for disposal in landfills. The waste includes thousands of damaged trees, parts of hundreds of ruined homes and big household appliances. The bill for removing the junk from Ocracoke Island was $26 million, and counting.

Two East Carolina University trustees who tried to influence a student election said in a letter that they regret that their actions. The University of North Carolina system released the letter from the trustees on Thursday, along with a transcript and recording of their conversation. In the transcript, trustees Phil Lewis and Robbie Moore offer to assist the unidentified student financially but want their assistance kept confidential. Complaints have been filed about their actions. The UNC Board of Governors could consider the matter when it meets later this month. 

North Carolina state government coffers are more flush than in recent memory as 2020 began. Analysts from both the legislative and executive branches agree state revenues are about $290 million ahead of expectations through the first half of this fiscal year. Growing individual income tax collections are the main reason. North Carolina has had revenue surpluses five years in a row. But the state's financial accounts also are higher now because a full two-year state budget has never been finalized, leading to money going unspent. As of Dec.

The student government board for the University of North Carolina system is calling for an investigation into allegations that two East Carolina University trustees tried to influence a student election. The Daily Reflector of Greenville reports that the General Assembly of the UNC Association of Student Governments passed a resolution Saturday calling for the investigation. The resolution says the allegations are in a letter sent to UNC system board member from the ECU Board of Trustees.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina health officials say six people died from complications of the flu last week, helping to raise the death toll for the 2019-20 season to 41. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the death toll includes two deaths from previous weeks. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cautions the weekly report count does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state because many go undiagnosed or unreported.

North Carolina judges have told the state to pay $102,000 to the winning side in a recent legislative redistricting case and the outside expert who helped analyze redrawn district lines. A three-judge panel directed the bill on Wednesday to Republican legislative leaders who were sued by Common Cause and Democrats. The court in September threw out dozens of state House and Senate districts drawn in 2017, saying Republicans fashioned them with extreme partisan bias designed to keep the GOP in power.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Facebook

The National Park Service says more than 100 sea turtles stunned by recent cold temperatures have washed up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The agency said on its Facebook page on Wednesday that approximately 95 green and Kemp's ridley turtles washed ashore on Tuesday on the south side of Hatteras Island. In addition, the park service says another 10 turtles were found on Wednesday morning at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The turtles were taken to the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation.   

Legal arguments to North Carolina's voter photo identification law are still being heard in state courts even after a federal judge blocked the mandate for the March primary. Lawyers for voters who sued over the ID mandate and for Republican legislative leaders who helped enact the 2018 law argued Wednesday at the state Court of Appeals. A trial court last summer denied the voters' request to block voter ID. The voters appealed that decision.

North Carolina’s online archival military collection now includes installation camp newsletters and newspapers that contain little-known information about life in the state during World War II. The collection is available as part of a two-year digitization project that the State Archives of North Carolina began in 2018 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of WWII. The project includes newsletter issues from installations such as Camp Lejeune, Camp Davis, Morris Field, and Elizabeth City Naval Air Station.

Lisa Parker/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers will award $281 million to a North Carolina city and county heavily impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

A group that manages herds of wild horses in coastal North Carolina is warning drivers to watch out for the animals taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather by sleeping on the sand at night.