North Carolina - COVID-19 Covered

North Carolina

Total Cases: 127,630 (August 4)
Tests Administered: 1,837,410 (August 3)
Fatalities: 2,043 (August 4)
Testing:
  • Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) today has approved a third vendor, NC Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA), to expand free COVID-19 testing to historically marginalized communities that currently have limited testing sites. (July 20) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services issued a statewide standing order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing, as well as a State Health Director Temporary Order on COVID-19 diagnostic test reporting, which will help to increase access to testing across the state, particularly for members of historically marginalized populations. (July 7) 
  • NCDHHS will partner with Omnicare, a CVS Health company, to make facility-wide testing available to residents and staff in all North Carolina skilled nursing facilities. There are over 400 nursing homes in the state with approximately 36,000 residents and more than 30,000 staff. Testing will begin in July and continue through August. (June 30) 
  • The State Department of Health and Human Services launched new initiatives to expand testing within the state including online tools to check their symptoms and locate a testing location. (June 4) 
  • CVS announced it has 55 drive-thru testing sites throughout North Carolina. (May 28) 
  • The State has published a full list of testing sites. (May 14) 

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 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) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Roy Cooper announced that an additional $150 million in federal funds provided for COVID-19 relief to counties has been disbursed this week. (July 30) 
  • Funding is now available to help North Carolinians in crisis pay cooling or heating bills, or secure cooling or heating resources. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Crisis Intervention Program aids qualified, low-income households who are experiencing a cooling related crisis (or heating related crisis in the winter). (July 24) 
  • The State has 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) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been granted $1.5 million to expand the Hope4NC program. (June 19) 
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is distributing $35 million to local health departments. (June 16) 
  • Governor Cooper signed an executive order to extend the moratorium on utility cut offs and to establish a moratorium on evictions; it expires June 20. (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 HB 1043 which allocates the federal funding received from the CARES Act. (May 4) 
  • Governor Cooper signed 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 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 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 issued an executive order allowing employers to file attached claims for unemployment on behalf of their employees. (April 9) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • The Highlands Board of Commissioners has 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 has 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 has 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 remained closed. (June 19) 
  • Governor Cooper said that the State was “examining the issues surrounding a statewide requirement of face masks.” (June 18) 
  • Governor Cooper said he would issue a decision about the reopening of businesses early next week. (June 15) 
  • The North Carolina Zoo will reopen on June 15. (June 11) 
  • 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 the number of people within the store, marking six feet of distance for checkout areas, and specific cleaning procedures. (April 9) 
  • Governor Cooper announced that the State would move into Safer at Home Phase 2 on May 22 at 5 pm. 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) 
  • 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 5 pm. The order removes the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. Retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity.  (May 5) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that schools will open for in-person instruction in August under an updated Plan B that requires 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 State Department of Health and 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 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