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 COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been more than 1,012,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. death toll is more than 58,000 while nearly 116,000 have recovered. Nearly 5.8 million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 3.1 million cases with 217,000 deaths and 929,000 recoveries.
Gaston County Municipalities release joint statement in response to order to open businesses
The mayors of 12 Gaston County municipalities went public after the Gaston County Board of Commissioners implied businesses would be reopening.
"We share the sentiments of the Gaston County Board of Commissioners that we are experiencing unprecedented times in our county, and that many people and businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," the mayors said, in part in a statement.
The mayors emphasized businesses and residents of Gaston County are still required to comply with Governor Roy Cooper's orders, which currently expire on May 8.
"We will therefore follow the Governor’s Orders, and we encourage all businesses and citizens to do the same so that we can continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus," the mayors said in the statement.
SC DHEC identifies 29 additional deaths related to COVID-19
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control provided the results of a cross-analysis of the deaths reported directly to the agency by medical professionals and the deaths reported to the agency on death certificates.
As a result, DHEC has identified 29 additional deaths in the state related to COVID-19. None of the deaths were previously reported in the total count — it brings the current number of COVID-19 related deaths in the state to 232.
“As our state continues to respond to this unprecedented event, DHEC remains committed to ensuring that every South Carolinian who has died from COVID-19 is counted,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Physician.
The newly identified deaths occurred from March 25 through April 21. Since the reports were spread out, it doesn't have a significant impact on the state's projections or plans.
As of April 22, healthcare providers must report all COVID-19-related deaths to DHEC within 24 hours. Additionally, deaths reported to DHEC for death certificate registration by funeral directors must be done within five days of the date of death.
North Carolina coronavirus update
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, and Director of NC Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, held a COVID-19 coronavirus update from Raleigh. The state has 9,948 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 98 counties, 551 hospitalizations and there have been 354 deaths.
"We need to be sure to keep up the actions that will slow the spread of the virus as we continue to loosen restrictions," Cohen said.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced last week an extension of the state's "stay home" order until May 8. Cohen stressed that while other counties in the state may reopen businesses, Cooper's order still stands.
“We know that this is more than the governor making decisions about opening or closing. We need to make sure that consumers can feel safe as they go back to businesses,“ Cohen said.
South Carolina announces 130 new cases of COVID-19
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 130 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths. It brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 5,881 and those who have died to 203.
Six of the people who died were elderly individuals in Beaufort (1), Berkeley (1), Clarendon (2), and Greenville (2) counties. Five people who died were middle-aged individuals in Clarendon (1), Florence (2), Greenville (1), and Richland (1) counties.
Here's a breakdown by county of new cases in South Carolina:
Aiken (3), Anderson (6), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (2), Chesterfield (1), Clarendon (9), Darlington (3), Dillon (3), Edgefield (3), Fairfield (1), Florence (9), Greenville (26), Greenwood (2), Kershaw (4), Lancaster (3), Lexington (9), Marlboro (1), Orangeburg (3), Richland (20), Spartanburg (5), Sumter (3), Williamsburg (4), York (9)
Governor Cooper: Gaston County's plan to reopen businesses "is dangerous"
Earlier Wednesday, Gaston County leaders announced plans to reopen businesses in the county at 5 p.m. Wednesday, going against Governor Roy Cooper's stay home order.
Even though Cooper extended his order for another two weeks through May 8, Gaston officials openly said they're contradicting him with their reopening order.
"This order’s only effect is to create confusion during a public health emergency, which is dangerous," the office of Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. "The Gaston County order itself says that the statewide Stay At Home order remains in effect, and state leaders urge people to continue following it."
AccelerateSC meets again
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster's committee for economic restart is meeting for the fourth time.
Gaston County lifting stay home order, contradicting Governor Cooper
Gaston County Commissioners Chair Tracy Philbeck says the county has flattened the COVID-19 curve. Philbeck announces he will sign a county order that contradicts the state's stay home order, which was extended through May 8.
Philbeck's order takes effect at 5 p.m.Wednesday, and he encouraged businesses to reopen to get people back to work.
Cabarrus officials dropping stay home order to be aligned with state's rules
Elected officials with Cabarrus County, the cities of Concord and Kannapolis, and the towns of Harrisburg, Midland and Mt. Pleasant announced the local Stay-at-Home Proclamation will expire on April 29 at 5 p.m. with no extension. The move aligns the County with North Carolina’s Stay-at-Home Order, which expires on May 8.
The change relaxes restrictions the local Proclamation had placed on specified businesses, including car dealerships, real estate services and funerals. All other restrictions remain consistent with the State’s Stay-at-Home Orders, including limiting travel to essential functions.
Simon Properties to open 49 properties in 10 states this week
Simon Properties, owner of Concord Mills Mall, SouthPark Mall and the Charlotte Premium Outlets, announced it is opening 49 of its locations in 10 states. These include two in South Carolina: The Gaffney Outlet Marketplace and Haywood Mall. Both will open Friday, May 1.
North Carolina locations will not open until the stay home order is lifted by Governor Roy Cooper.
Some Mecklenburg County businesses to reopen Thursday
Some Mecklenburg County businesses will be allowed to reopen as regulation shifts to a unified, statewide stay home order, Mecklenburg County officials announced Tuesday.
The regulatory changes come as Mecklenburg County rescinds its local stay home order. The rules and regulations of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's statewide order remain in effect, but those rules have some differences than the local order.
Starting Thursday some businesses that had been closed, will reopen. Full list
Park playgrounds, sports courts, restrooms, and fields for group sports will remain closed. Basketball, soccer and volleyball, as well as softball/baseball, are not permitted in Mecklenburg County.
Myrtle Beach reopens all city beaches to the public
The city of Myrtle Beach is reopening all beaches, a move that allows people access to one of the state's most visited locations after weeks of being closed due to the coronavirus.
Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen on Tuesday rescinded the emergency order which had closed public beach access and parking areas.
The city reminds everyone to practice safe social distancing and that those rules will be enforced. Parking meters also are enforced, seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., unless otherwise posted.