North Carolina - COVID-19 Covered

North Carolina

Total Cases: 258,292 (October 25)
Fatalities: 4,144 (October 25)
Testing:
  • A full list of testing sites in North Carolina can be found here. 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • A full list of essential business designations can be found here 

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • North Carolina released official reopening guidance for businesses based on sector. Details for each sector can be found here 
  • The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association partnered with the State Department of Health and Human Services to create and offer “Count on Me NC” a free virtual training program to assist businesses in learning how “to protect customers and employees from COVID-19.” (May 22) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an order establishing requirements for workers in nursing homes such as daily health screenings of both residents and staff, cancelling of communal activities, and requiring personal protective equipment. (April 9) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order allowing employers to file attached claims for unemployment on behalf of their employees. (April 9) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Benefits (NC Medicaid) is extending temporary provider rate increases related to COVID-19 through the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency, which goes through January 21, 2021. (October 21)
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended essential flexibilities for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to ensure participants continue to receive the food and health support they need throughout the COVID-19 national public health emergency. (October 2)  
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with United Providers of Health (UPOH) to address unmet health care needs of historically marginalized communities. A new $7 million statewide effort will support NCDHHS’ COVID-19 response by providing preventative health care services, connections to mental health supports and help securing non-medical drivers of health like food and housing. (October 1) 
  • North Carolina has distributed over $2.6 billion in coronavirus relief funds as of September 21 and continues to work to administer remaining funds in coordination with federal requirements. (September 29) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced today it will provide additional benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-priced meals at school has been impacted by remote learning this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (September 25) 
  • Some North Carolina small businesses that have experienced extraordinary disruption to their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic may benefit from a $40 million relief program to help offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests, and utility bills. (September 22) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina will receive funding to help provide high-speed internet access to more residents. The projects are made possible by more than $4 million in supplemental GREAT grant funding through the COVID-19 Recovery Act. (September 4) 
  • Governor Cooper laid out his budget proposal where he asked for bonuses for teachers, principals, school support staff, and community college employees. His proposal would also cut money for opportunity scholarships, which are vouchers for private education. (August 26) 
  • Governor Cooper announced $175 million to help North Carolinians with rental and utility payment support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (August 25) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced a new, expedited reimbursement program that aims to expand non-congregate sheltering options in communities across the state. (August 11) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Businesses and nonprofit organizations in North Carolina that have experienced interruption due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic could qualify for up to $250,000 from a new state grant program, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Job Retention Grant Program (JRG) through the agency’s website. (August 13) 
  • The state established the “first statewide technology platform” NCCARE360, a pubic private partnership which connects government and businesses to help North Carolinians facing COVID-19. (June 22) 
  • North Carolina received a grant from the US Department of Labor to support job training and provide temporary employment opportunities. The funds will go to the State Commerce Department’s Division of Workforce Solutions who will partner with local workforce development boards. (May 28) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. (October 21) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that applications are now being accepted for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program, which will assist eligible low- and- moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The new program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections. (October 15) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services is developing a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’ that will launch across the state in September 2020. The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. (September 4) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina will move into Phase 2.5 on September 4. Mask mandates and other prevention methods would remain in effectGyms, indoor fitness centers, playgrounds, and museums were permitted to reopen. (September 1) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services awarded four contracts to regional organizations to administer its new COVID-19 Support Services program. The program supported North Carolinians in 20 targeted counties who were asked to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 and needed assistance such as food, relief payments, or access to primary medical care. (August 25) 
  • “¡Recuerda las 3Ms!” (Know your 3Ms) was launched by the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services as part of a larger public outreach campaign designed to reach historically marginalized populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. (August 24) 
  • Governor Cooper announced more than $12 million to expand internet access for people living and working in 11 rural counties. (August 19) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services expanded the Hope4Healers Helpline to serve North Carolina’s teachers, school personnel, and their families. (August 17) 
  • The Highlands Board of Commissioners mandated face coverings be worn in the business district, both inside businesses and outside along streets and sidewalks. (July 23) 
  • North Carolina’s highest court temporarily blocked a judge’s ruling that allowed dozens of bowling alleys in the state to reopen by overturning a portion of Governor Cooper’s COVID-19 executive order requiring them to remain closed. (July 16) 
  • Governor Cooper updated the Safer at Home Order to include a new definition of mass gatherings. There will be a limit of 10 persons for indoor gatherings and 25 for outdoors. The order also requires businesses to post signage advising people of the need to wear a mask. (July 9) 
  • The North Carolina legislature sent a bill to Governor Cooper to overturn part of the pre-existing safety measures he previously ordered which would open several types of businesses that have remain closed. (June 19) 
  • The North Carolina House and Senate have passed legislation that would allow gyms and bars to reopen across the state despite the governor’s restrictions. (June 10) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order establishing further policies for social distancing in retail stores, including limiting number of people within the store, marking six feet of distance for checkout areas, and specific cleaning procedures. (April 9) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Cooper announced North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5) beginning October 5. Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. (September 17) 
  • Governor Cooper announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students. (September 9) 
  • Governor Cooper directed $95.6 million in new funding to help support K-12 and postsecondary students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who can benefit from support during the upcoming school year. (August 12) 
  • Governor Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that schools would open for in-person instruction in August under an updated Plan B that required face coverings for all K-12 students, fewer children in the classroom, and measures to ensure social distancing for everyone in the building, among other safety protocols. (July 14) 
  • The Department of Health & Human Services released the first set of health guidelines, the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, meant to aid in allowing K-12 public schools to reopen for the upcoming academic year. (June 8) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of North Carolina universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services updated guidance for institutions of higher education. In compliance with existing executive orders, colleges and universities should be requiring and enforcing students and staff to wear cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose. The order also recommends limiting social gatherings — whether students are on campus or off campus. The guidance also encourages limiting on-campus housing, closing communal dining settings, and implementing procedures to isolate and quarantine cases appropriately to slow the spread of the virus. (August 21) 
  • The University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University announced that they would resume in-person classes in August and end the fall semester early. (May 21) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com