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President Trump approves Major Disaster Declaration for NC

There are now 611 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, including 170 in Mecklenburg County, and 424 in South Carolina.

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

Key Facts:

  • Cases in North Carolina: 621, with 2 deaths
  • Cases in South Carolina: 424, with 7 deaths
  • Cases in Mecklenburg County: 170
  • A stay-at-home order has been issued for Mecklenburg County 

Click here for a map of the coronavirus cases in North Carolina.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said the county's COVID-19 cases went from just three to over 140 in just 10 days. There are only a few zip codes in Mecklenburg County without a positive case of coronavirus. 

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Mecklenburg Sheriff says gun permits will still be issued, but only by mail

Beginning Thursday at 8 a.m., the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office will be closed to the public until further notice. During this time, gun permits can not be applied for or picked up in person -- but the sheriff's office says they will still process them.

To apply for a gun permit, individuals must now apply online. Processed permits will be issued by mail.

President Trump approves Major Disaster Declaration for NC

FEMA announced that federal emergency aid was made available for the state of North Carolina to supplement the state, tribes and local recovery efforts in areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20 and continuing.

Gracia B. Szczech was named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. 

Lowe's hiring 30,000 workers

Lowe's is actively hiring for 30,000 positions in-stores across the U.S. They are hiring for full-time, part-time, seasonal and overnight roles available for displaced workers who are seeking short-term opportunities. They are also hiring at our distribution centers and other supply chain facilities. Those interested in applying can visit jobs.lowes.com or text “JOBS” to LOWES (56937) to learn more about available opportunities and apply.  

NC Medicaid increases support to protect those most at risk for COVID-19

The NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Benefits (NC Medicaid) will temporarily increase payments rates to long-term care providers and facilities to support them in caring for Medicaid beneficiaries at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19. 

Additionally, Medicaid will temporarily increase rates to behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disability and specialized therapy providers for vulnerable children and adults in outpatient and residential settings. 

“Our Medicaid providers are among the many heroic health care professionals on the front line of North Carolina’s response to COVID-19,” NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. said in a statement. 

The following Medicaid providers and services will receive a 5% increase in fee-for-service reimbursement rates, retroactive to March 10, 2020: 

  • skilled nursing facilities
  • hospice facilities
  • health departments
  • home health
  • private duty nursing
  • personal care services
  • physical
  • occupational
  • speech and audiology therapy
  • Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
  • Community Alternatives for Children (CAP/C) and for Adults (CAP/DA)

LME-MCOs will receive a 1.5% increase in their per person rate effective April 1. NC Medicaid is also pursuing hardship support to rural, independent hospitals as needed.  

Caldwell County reports two new cases of COVID-19

The Caldwell County Health Department has announced two new positive COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the county total to three.

Patients have been instructed to remain in isolation until they are fever-free for 72 hours without medication, have an improvement in respiratory symptoms, and wait at least seven days since symptoms first appeared. 

Lowe’s announces $100 million commitment in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Lowe’s has committed more than $100 million to support associates and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As part of the commitment, Lowe’s dedicated a $10 million donation in essential protective products to do our part in helping keep medical professionals on the frontlines healthy and safe. 

RELATED: Habitat for Humanity partnering with Lowe's to help healthcare workers in the Carolinas

RELATED: Lowe’s donating $10 million in essential protective products to medical professionals

Lowe's is also reducing hours, closing stores at 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Sunday. This is to provide additional time for essential product replenishment and to thoroughly clean and sanitize our stores daily. 

The company is also hiring for 30,000 positions in-stores across the U.S. The open positions include full-time, part-time, seasonal and overnight roles.

Those interested in applying can visit jobs.lowes.com or text “JOBS” to LOWES (56937) to learn more about available opportunities and apply.  

All Discovery Place museums closed until further notice

After originally planning to close all Discovery Place museums through March 27 to reduce risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, Discovery Place has decided to close all museums until further notice. 

"In the meantime, I hope you will join our online community of learners," Discovery Place said in a statement. "This week we launched Stay-at-Home Science, a new digital learning center where you will find activities, videos and other resources to keep learners of all ages engaged. Check back regularly for new content and ideas. Curiosity never rests – even when it must stay home – and our goal is to help you and your families better understand, apply and enjoy science in your adjusted lives."

All memberships will be extended for the length of the time that the museums are closed. 

C.D. Spangler Foundation, National Gypsum add $1 million to COVID-19 Response Fund

The C.D. Spangler Foundation and Charlotte-based National Gypsum announced a $1 million commitment to the COVID-19 Response Fund. It's part of a community-wide effort to assist those impacted by the pandemic.

The fund was first launched by Foundation For The Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas on March 16.

“That we’ve already raised $10 million in a little over a week is a testament to the generosity of those who have given so far – governments, private businesses, foundations and philanthropists,” United Way of Central Carolinas President and CEO Laura Yates Clark said in a statement. “We are so grateful for their compassion and commitment to this cause. But much more is needed to assist our nonprofits in providing critical relief to thousands of residents already suffering from the impacts of this pandemic.” 

Community members who want to help can donate at HelpCharMeck.org.

To contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit HelpCharMeck.org. Corporations and foundations that wish to make a donation may contact either Catherine Warfield, Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Advancement at FFTC, at 704.973.4515 or cwarfield@fftc.org; or Clint Hill, Chief Development Officer at United Way of Central Carolinas, at 704.371.6359 or chill@uwcentralcarolinas.org.

Curfew announced in Chesterfield County amid new COVID-19 cases 

Chesterfield County has two new cases of COVID-19 reported by DHEC, bringing the county total to three cases. 

Effective March 25, a curfew will be instituted from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day in the unincorporated areas of Chesterfield County until further notice. 

The curfew does not apply to travel to/from work, medical providers, pharmacies, or similar locations. The curfew does not order businesses, industries, etc. to close during those hours.  

South Carolina Announces Additional 82 cases of COVID-19

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is investigating 82 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, bringing brings the total number statewide to 424 cases in 39 counties.

Two cases that were previously reported — one in Lexington County and one in Lancaster County — have been subtracted from the total case count because the individuals were determined to reside out of state. DHEC reports positive cases based on an individual’s county of residence.

Here's the breakdown of new cases by county:

  • Abbeville County: 2 cases
  • Anderson County: 3 cases
  • Beaufort County: 4 cases
  • Berkeley County: 1 case
  • Charleston County: 16 cases
  • Chesterfield County: 2 cases
  • Dorchester County: 1 case
  • Fairfield County: 1 case
  • Greenville County: 11 cases
  • Horry County: 1 case
  • Kershaw County: 5 cases
  • Marion County: 1 case
  • Orangeburg County: 1 case
  • Pickens County: 5 cases
  • Richland County: 14 cases
  • Spartanburg County: 5 cases
  • Sumter County: 2 cases
  • Union County: 1 case
  • Williamsburg County: 1 case
  • York County: 7 cases

Cabarrus County announces 'stay at home' order

Cabarrus County has issued a 'stay at home' order. The order takes effect Thursday at 5 p.m. Neighboring Mecklenburg County has a similar order taking effect Thursday at 8 a.m.

RELATED: VERIFY: What's the difference between stay at home and shelter in place?

Cabarrus Health Alliance Interim Director Erin Shoe and Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Morris will host a livestream press conference on the local impact of COVID-19. The update coincides with today’s North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announcement that a person from Cabarrus County died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their late seventies and had several underlying medical conditions. A second person in their sixties, who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications in Cabarrus County. 

Cleveland County identifies second case of COVID-19

A second Cleveland County resident has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This second case is in no way linked to the first case, although this individual also did recently travel and then return to the county. The individual began to develop symptoms shortly after returning to the county and was tested by a local healthcare provider. The individual is isolating at home and will remain in isolation until discontinued by local health department personnel, who are also working with the individual to identify close contacts.

Gov. McMaster asks out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine

Gov. McMaster is requesting all out-of-state visitors to South Carolina planning a stay of two or more nights self-quarantine for two weeks immediately upon arrival.

Gov. Cooper discussing the latest on COVID-19 in the state

Governor Cooper said in the past weeks he's taken significant statewide actions to slow the spread of Covid-19, but said he expects further action will be necessary. 

"We closed schools, banned social gatherings, closed numerous businesses that can increase the spread of the virus, limited nursing home visits and encouraged people to stay home," Cooper said. "We know that further action to protect our state will be necessary."

Gov. Cooper is, once again, urging everyone to stay home if they can. 

"Stay at home when you can. Practice social distancing wherever you are. If you are a business and haven’t done so yet, get your social distancing and telework plans in place now. Do not wait. You owe it to your employees," Cooper said. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen shared some positive developments during the Wednesday news conference saying they have made policy changes for Medicaid providers to really ramp up access to telemedicine which allows patients to access the care they need.

"We are also getting food to children," Cohen said. "Our public school districts – many working with community partners such as food banks and faith-based entities – have served 2.4 million meals and 32,000 snacks since March 15." 

Chesterfield County implementing curfew 

As part of Chesterfield County’s ongoing effort to cope with and curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), effective March 25, 2020, a curfew will be instituted from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each day in the unincorporated areas of the county until further notice. The curfew does not apply to travel to/from work, medical providers, pharmacies, or similar locations, nor is the curfew an order that any business, industry, etc. close during the curfew hours.

Charlotte Mayor says she hasn't been tested for coronavirus

During a teleconference with Charlotte media, Mayor Vi Lyles says she has not been tested for COVID-19. Lyles told reporters she hasn't experienced any symptoms that would meet the qualifications for testing. 

North Carolina reports its first coronavirus-related deaths

Two people have died in North Carolina as a result of COVID-19. The first patient died Tuesday in Cabarrus County. They were in their late 70s, according to health officials. 

The second death was someone in their 60s from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina. 

NC DHHS updates COVID-19 testing figures

According to the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, 10,489 people have been tested for coronavirus in the state. There are 512 positive cases in the state. 

Riverbanks Zoo extends public closure

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia, South Carolina announces they will be closed through April 30 in accordance with state and federal guidelines. The zoo will offer "Z-Learning" each day at 10 a.m. on its Facebook page

Eastridge Mall temporarily closed 

Due to COVID-19, Eastridge Mall is temporarily closed. However, the NCDMV office is open from 9-5 (use the food court entrance only) and Dillard's is open the regular hours of Noon--7 p.m., Mon.-Sat., and Noon--6 p.m. on Sunday. Reopening date TBD.

Congressional leaders, White House agree on coronavirus rescue 

The White House and Congressional leaders reached a deal on a $2 trillion rescue package Wednesday to help working and laid-off Americans, businesses and hospitals. It still faces votes in the House and Senate. 

The deal would send nearly every American adult a one-time payment of $1,200 and $500 for each child. A vote is expected later Wednesday.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: White House, Congress leaders reach rescue package deal

RELATED: South Carolina confirms two additional deaths due to COVID-19

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