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Mecklenburg County health officials preparing for more cases of coronavirus

There are now 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina and 47 in South Carolina.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At WCNC Charlotte, we are focusing our coverage of COVID-19 coronavirus on facts, not fears. We aim to give our viewers the information they need from viewers to best protect themselves during the pandemic.

Key Facts:

  • President Trump says avoid groups of 10+
  • Cases in North Carolina: 45
  • Cases in South Carolina: 47
  • Deaths in the Carolinas: 1

Tuesday, March 17

Mecklenburg preparing for the possibility of a shelter in place order

Densely populated metropolitan centers across the United States are considering or implementing shelter in place orders amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Mecklenburg County is also preparing for the possibility of one in Charlotte.

At a meeting Tuesday night of county commissioners, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said such a possibility is approaching "quicker than we'd like."

RELATED: "Everybody in this community has a role" | Mecklenburg County testing hundreds of people

RELATED: Columbia to impose citywide night curfew starting Wednesday

Harris also provided new numbers, which indicated that hundreds of new, potential patients have been tested over the past 24 hours. Currently the number of positive cases in Charlotte stands at 11 but that number could rise.

15 additional Duke University cases overseas

At least 15 additional members of the Duke community, who were part of a overseas travel group, have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.  On Friday, it was announced four other members of this group were diagnosed with COVID-19.

That brings the total number of Duke University students or staff testing positive to 19.

York County reports first case

A person is York County has presumptive tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, state officials announced Tuesday.

The patient, who is the county's first presumptive positive case, is not be publicly identified.

RELATED: York County reports first presumptive positive coronavirus case

47 cases in South Carolina

South Carolina says they are investigating 14 additional cases of COVID-19. That brings the number of statewide cases to 47, including 2 in Lancaster County.

Gaston County commissioners orders fitness centers to shut down

Gaston County's Department of Health and Human Services ordered all fitness centers and self-serve buffets to shut down by noon Wednesday.

The county said the shutdown will last "until conditions change" regarding COVID-19.

RELATED: Gaston County orders gyms, self-serve buffets to close

South Carolina also closing restaurant dining rooms

In the wake of North Carolina's decision to close restaurant dining rooms Tuesday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has announced the closure of restaurant dining rooms in his state effective Wednesday. Take-out and carry-out services will remain open.

Lincoln County reports first case

A person is Lincoln County has presumptive tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, county officials announced Tuesday.

The patient, who is the county's first presumptive positive case, is not be publicly identified.

RELATED: Lincoln County reports first presumptive positive coronavirus case

UNC Charlotte requires on-campus students to leave residence halls

In a message to students and staff, Chancellor Philip Dubois orders all on-campus students to leave as soon as possible and no later than 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, unless granted an exemption. Residence Halls will be secured and students can get their belongings later. 

All classes will move online beginning March 23 for the remainder of the semester. 

The ACC cancels all athletics through the end of the academic year

The ACC has canceled all athletic events through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. The decision was unanimous among member institutions to help prevent further spread of COVID-19. 

“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our student-athletes as well as our fans, communities and the overall well-being of others during these uncharted times,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We are particularly disappointed for our student-athletes and will continue to work with our membership to assess what is appropriate in the future.”

OrthoCarolina doctor tests positive for COVID-19

A physician at OrthoCarolina's Hip & Knee Center in Mercy Hospital in Charlotte is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus. The Hip & Knee Center is closed until further notice and all employees who have been in close proximity to the doctor are quarantining at home.The clinic is being sanitized and disinfected.

Mecklenburg County reports 4 new cases of COVID-19

Mecklenburg County Public Health announces four new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus. There are now 11 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg County. The four new patients are self-isolating at home, according to the county. 

North Carolina Zoo announces temporary closure

The North Carolina Zoo announced it is taking steps to protect its staff and will be closed to the public starting Tuesday, March 17. Animal caretakers will continue to work to ensure food and medical supplies are available. 

Samaritan's Purse airlifts medical aid to Italy

Boone-based Samaritan's Purse announces it is airlifting a 68-bed emergency field hospital to Milan, Italy. A DC-8 aircraft left Tuesday morning with medical equipment, a specialized respiratory care unit and 32 disaster relief personnel, including doctors and respiratory specialists who will remain in Italy for at least a month. 

South Carolina Strawberry Festival canceled

The Town of Fort Mill announces the cancellation of the 2020 South Carolina Strawberry Festival, which was scheduled for April 25-May 2. 

North Carolina now reports 40 cases of COVID-19

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services now reports 40 cases of coronavirus in the state. There are over 3,500 cases nationwide and 68 reported deaths. As of 8:51 a.m. Tuesday, March 17

  • Mecklenburg Co – 7
  • Wake Co - 15
  • Cabarrus Co – 1
  • Iredell Co - 1
  • Watauga Co – 1
  • Forsyth Co – 2
  • Chatham Co - 1
  • Harnett Co – 3
  • Durham Co – 1
  • Johnston Co - 2
  • Wilson Co – 1
  • Wayne Co – 1
  • Sampson Co – 1
  • Brunswick Co – 1
  • Onslow Co – 1
  • Craven Co - 1

7th Street Public Mark announces it will close

The market will suspend operations effective 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. The market's small businesses will remain open until that time and some businesses are offering direct-to-customer options. 

China's epicenter, Wuhan, reports just one new case

Wuhan, the city at the center of China's coronavirus outbreak, recorded just one new case on Tuesday as officials said they believed the country was over the worst of the crisis. Another 20 cases were recorded around the country, including nine in Beijing. All were reported among people who arrived from overseas.

Beijing has required all arrivals to undergo 14 days of quarantine but has not closed its borders. Other Chinese cities have adopted similar measures, even as authorities work to restart industries that are key to global supply chains.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: Ohio halts Tuesday election; Wuhan has just 1 new case

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