North Carolina - COVID-19 Covered

North Carolina

Total Cases: 29,592 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 421,908 (June 1)
Fatalities: 948 (June 2)
Testing:
  • CVS announced it has 55 drive-thru testing sites throughout North Carolina. (May 28) 
  • The State expanded criteria for who should be tested. The guidelines now include: any patient who is suspected to have COVID-19; close contacts with known positive cases; persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings; people at high risk; “historically marginalized populations”; health care workers, first responders, and essential workers. (May 15) 
  • The State has published a full list of testing sites. (May 14) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that University of North Carolina, East Carolina University, and Duke University have joined a project to expand testing and tracing. (April 17) 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order to allow childcare facilities to remain open for children of essential business workers, children in welfare services, homeless children, or children who live in unstable living arrangements. (April 8) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an order forcing the closure of gyms, movie theaters and nail and hair salons by March 25, and urged businesses to close as soon as possible. (March 23 
  • A full list of essential business designations can be found here 

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order which allows the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to modify or waive regulations for “accreditation for asbestos and lead testing professionals, accreditation of local health departments, and regulations impacting child care and his-risk health care facilities.” (May 12) 
  • The State Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued guidance to assist workers at food processing facilities. (April 21) 
  • Chief Justice Cheri Beasley ordered that magistrates continue to perform marriage ceremonies following social distancing protocols. (April 21) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an order which establishes 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 (EO 130) to increase the number of medical workers by allowing out of state licensed workers to practice in North Carolina as well as expanded telehealth services. (April 8) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order (EO 129) to establish more flexibility in law enforcement training schedules” during the pandemic. (April 7) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order (EO 125) authorizing and encouraging remote shareholder meetings during the state of emergency declaration. (April 1)  
  • Governor Cooper has issued an executive order broadening unemployment benefits to those affect by the COVID-19 outbreak (EO 118).  The order waived the one week waiting period for benefits, requirements of an ongoing work search and the ability to work, and “lack of work” provisions under state employment law.  (March 17) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Cooper signed an executive order to extend the moratorium on utility cut offs and to establish a moratorium on evictions. (May 30) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that $85.4 million provided by the federal government will be disbursed for pandemic relief to counties this week. (May 26) 
  • Beginning May 13, families whose children have access to free and reduced school lunches will receive an additional $370 in Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program benefits per child. (May 13) 
  • Governor Cooper signed two bills (SB 704, HB 1043) which will provide relief for North Carolinians. HB 1043 allocates the federal funding received from the CARES Act. SB 704 to extended driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines, waived interest on tax payments due in April, and modified end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools among others. (May 4)  
  • Governor Cooper announced the state was partnering with different companies including AT&T and Duke Energy Foundation to equip school buses with Wi-Fi. (April 24) 
  • Governor Cooper is releasing a budget proposal for the $1.4 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act passed by Congress. (April 24) 
  • The State’s Department of Health and Human Services has received a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to aid behavioral health in response to the pandemic. (April 22) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order allowing furloughed workers to be eligible for unemployment compensation. (April 20) 
  • North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services will provide families aid to purchase food for children impacted by school closings through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. (April 20 
  • North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services is offering two new mental health resources through two different helplines. (April 8) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that the State received approval from FEMA to offer housing alternatives to those with unstable housing who need to quarantine. (April 8) 
  • North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services will give financial assistance to essential workers who need childcare. (April 7) 
  • North Carolina is expected to receive $4 billion from the federal stimulus package. $2.2 billion is earmarked to be used to fight the spread of COVID-19 on the state level. The remaining $1.8 billion will be allocated to local governments. (March 27) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • The State 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) 
  • Governor Cooper sent a letter to the Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation requesting that they “ensure women and minority-owned businesses receive an equitable portion” of COVID-19 relief funding. (May 19) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order allowing employers to file attached claims for unemployment on behalf of their employees. (April 9) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order allowing for shareholders’ meetings to be conducted via remote communication. (April 1) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • No records found as of June 1. 
  • State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent an additional letter to Republican convention planners for the RNC requesting further details about hosting the RNC in Charlotte, questioning whether it can be done safely. (May 29) 
  • State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter to Republican convention planners for the RNC requesting a written COVID-19 safety plan to determine how the convention should take place following President Trump’s comments demanding that Governor Cooper provide an answer as to whether the convention would be permitted to be fully occupied. (May 26) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that the State would move into Safer at Home Phase 2 on May 22 at 5pm. Phase two lifts the stay at home order but transitions to a “Safer at Home recommendation” particularly for people at higher risk. Mass gatherings are capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Bars, night clubs, gyms, movie theaters, and bowling alleys remain closed. Restaurants can begin offering dine-in service at 50 percent capacity. This phase will be in effect until June 26. (May 20) 
  • A federal judge ruled in favor of several religious groups by granting a temporary restraining order on Governor Cooper’s religious gathering restrictions. (May 17) 
  • Governor Cooper’s office said they would not appeal but “urge houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe.” (May 16) 
  • Beaches along the coast started reopening the weekend of May 8. (May 8) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order easing restrictions for travel, business operations, and mass gatherings to phase 1 beginning May 8 at 5pm. The order removes the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. Retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity.  (May 5) 
  • Governor Cooper issued a disaster declaration for the village of Cedar Rock and the town of Hudson in Caldwell County. (April 3) 
  • Governor Cooper issued a disaster declaration for the town of Marshall. (April 3) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order calling for a statewide stay at home order. (March 27) 

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • 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) 
  • Governor Cooper issued an order banning gatherings of 50 or more persons. (March 23 
  • Governor Cooper issued an executive order (EO 117) prohibiting gatherings of 100 people. Operations at airports, bus terminals, train stations, medical facilities, shopping malls, offices, restaurants, factories, grocery stores, or other retails establishments were exempted from this decree.  (March 14) 

Delivery Services:

  • The Governor restricted the sale of food and beverages was restricted to carry-out, delivery, and drive thru. (March 17)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Cooper announced that all K-12 public schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. (April 24) 

State Higher Education:

  • The University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University announced that they will resume in-person classes in August and end the fall semester early. (May 21) 
  • The head of the State’s public university system reported that he plans to reopen campuses in the fall. (April 29) 

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