PRE News

Stories broadcast on PRE which are of interest to Eastern North Carolina

Lenoir County Public Schools

In one of the poorest counties in Eastern North Carolina, a program providing no-cost meals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue uninterrupted during spring break. 

“We know that many of our students will not get the hot meal and breakfast item right now if it were not for Lenoir County Public Schools,” said Nicholas Harvey, assistant superintendent with Lenoir County Public Schools.

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.

Health officials are reporting the first COVID-19 associated death in Pitt County. According to a news release, the individual died over the weekend from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their seventies and had several underlying medical conditions.  There are 42 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pitt County.

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.

Three residents of a central North Carolina nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19. The Johnston County Health Department said on Saturday that the cases involved residents at Springbrook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Clayton. A handful of nursing homes have reported outbreaks. State health officials report North Carolina with over 2,400 positive COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths. More than 270 people are hospitalized. A statewide stay-at-home order took effect March 30. Gov.

Coastal Land Trust

More than 560 acres of land adjoining the Croatan National Forest in Craven County has been set aside for conservation.  The Coastal Land Trust recently acquired the land using a portion of $7.3 million awarded as part of the Havelock Bypass settlement in 2018. The property, along Brices Creek Road and Perrytown Loop Road near New Bern, is the Coastal Land Trust’s fifth land acquisition in two years using the settlement funds.

Carteret and Onslow counties have reported their first COVID-19 related deaths.  Carteret Health officials say the individual that died on March 28th was a Virginia resident in their 80’s, and had several underlying medical conditions.  An individual from Onslow County died on March 22 from complications associated with the virus. The individual was in their 70s with underlying medical condition(s) and died of pneumonia secondary to COVID-19.

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.

On Monday, four people in Carteret County tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eleven. Carteret County Health Department staff are conducting public health follow-ups and trying to determine if anyone had close contact with the individuals who tested positive. Health officials say anyone showing symptoms should isolate themselves at home and call their medical provider for advice.

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.

Pitt County Commissioners have signed a new State of Emergency Declaration, imposing further restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Effective Tuesday at 5pm, gatherings of 50 people or more will be prohibited. The requirements also close fitness clubs, gyms, hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas, tanning, massage, and tattoo salons, and other professional grooming services. The restrictions also prohibit the use of playground equipment at parks (excludes backyard playgrounds or open-air amenities such as greenways and walking trails).  The declaration is for all unincorporated areas of Pitt County. Local health officials are urging the public to stay home and practice social distancing. There have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pitt County.

NCDHHS

As of Sunday, Carteret County reported 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19.  According to a news release, four of the five cases were international travel.  Health officials said the remaining case is due to community spread.

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.

CDC

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.

Scientists from across North Carolina have released a report exploring the effects of climate change on the state, from the mountains to the coast.  The North Carolina Climate Science Report found that major changes in the climate will occur by the end of the century. If greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, temperatures across the state will continue to rise, according to David Easterling, the chief of the Scientific Services Division at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

NCDHHS

Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina due to coronavirus. This comes a day after five people in Wake County who traveled to Boston in late February for a conference tested positive for COVID-19. 

 

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.

CDC

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.

CDC

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. 

Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at East Carolina University found that 61.7% of retail pharmacies in North Carolina have naloxone available without prescription. The study also found that some independent pharmacies or those in rural areas lack same-day availability or would not sell the medication without a prescription. 

NCDHHS

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.

CDC

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.

North Carolina will receive $7.7 million in federal fisheries disaster assistance to help the State's fishing industry recover from Hurricane Florence.  An assessment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the September 2018 storm caused $38 million in damages to vessels and businesses and nearly $57 million in lost revenues.  The funds are part of a $56.5 million appropriation from Congress for fishery disasters nationwide. After Hurricane Florence, $11.6 million in state funds were distributed to commercial fishers and shellfish harvesters.

 

Those affected by an injustice that occurred at the height of Jim Crow will be remembered at a ceremony Saturday afternoon. In the early 1900s at least a dozen African Americans were disinterred from New Bern’s historic Cedar Grove Cemetery in order to make room for the burial of more whites. Those bodies were moved to Greenwood Cemetery and buried in a mass grave. An article in the New Bern Sun Journal in 2014 brought citizens to address the city with their concerns. The grave was excavated last year, leading to a decision to leave the commingled remains at Greenwood.

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