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Third coronavirus patient dies in Mecklenburg County

There are now over 1,800 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, including 533 in Mecklenburg County. South Carolina has almost 1,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's Note: This story contains updates from Thursday, April 2. Click here for live updates on Friday, April 3

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.  

Key Facts:

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was 226,374 as of 2 p.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. death toll was 5,119, passing the 5,000 mark fewer than 24 hours after reaching 4,000. Almost 1,400 of those are in New York City. Nearly 8,600 people in the U.S. have recovered.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Thursday, April 2

Mecklenburg County quietly went into crisis mode without the public knowing

Three days before Mecklenburg County health officials started hosting regular public briefings about the Coronavirus, County Manager Dena Diorio quietly activated the county’s crisis management plan, identifying this as an event that would have a significant impact on county operations and possibly county services, according to public records obtained by WCNC Charlotte.

RELATED: Mecklenburg County quietly went into crisis mode without the public knowing

Charlotte hospitals ask to build field hospital to treat coronavirus patients

Atrium Health and Novant Health sent a joint letter Thursday asking for a field hospital to handle 3,000 additional coronavirus patients.

"We are anticipating potential additional volumes of approximately 3,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients beyond our currently planned surge capacity," the letter reads. "In addition, our models suggest the surge will occur between mid-April and mid-May 2020."

A location has not been finalized but the hospital systems suggested the UNCC campus.

RELATED: Charlotte hospitals ask to build field hospital to treat coronavirus patients

RELATED: UNC Charlotte preparing to assist the county, state to combat COVID-19

Third coronavirus patient dies in Mecklenburg County

533 Mecklenburg County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, new numbers announced Thursday showed. The number of deaths in the county has risen to three.

"The curve will not flatten immediately," the county tweeted. "We don’t expect numbers to drop right away. Community spread is here, so assume you’re going to be exposed if you’re out and about. "

Biltmore closes

The 8,000 acre estate in Asheville first opened as a tourist attraction in 1930 as a way to boost the local economy during the Great Depression. 

These days the estate draws about 1.5 million visitors a year. 

The more than 2,000 employees who work there are all furloughed.

Coronavirus case in every South Carolina county

Statewide totals Thursday climbed to 1,554 across all 46 counties. A total of 31 people have died.

RELATED: Coronavirus in every South Carolina county

Mecklenburg County detention center nurse tests positive for COVID-19 

A Mecklenburg County juvenile detention center nurse has tested positive for COVID-19, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office reports. 

The sheriff's office contracts with Wellpath, LLC to provide healthcare services to residents at both the main Detention Center Central as well as their Juvenile Detention Center (formerly known as Detention Center North). 

On Sunday, March 22, one of Wellpath’s nurses reported to work at the Juvenile Detention Center and passed through the standard screening which includes a temperature read as well as questions regarding potential symptoms and exposures related to COVID-19. This nurse had been on personal leave and she had not worked in the facility since March 3rd.

Late Monday, the sheriff's office learned that this nurse has tested positive for COVID-19.

Both the Mecklenburg County Health Department and MCSO have investigated whether this nurse may have exposed anyone else while at the Juvenile Detention Center on March 22nd.  Deputies said she had not yet seen any patients and had briefly been in the presence of one other staff person – another Wellpath nurse.  In an abundance of caution, that second Wellpath nurse – though she has shown no symptoms – has been quarantined and tested for COVID-19. 

NCDHHS has more data integrated into their online dashboard

 Mandy Cohen announced Tuesday that the state now has more data integrated into their online dashboard, including available hospital beds, number of ventilators, info about requests to the Strategic National Stockpile, and demographic information about cases & deaths in the state.

"We will continue to add data. Today we added information on the number of outbreaks in congregate settings – these are our nursing homes, adult care homes and correctional facilities," Cohen said. 

South Carolina to give 1st responders virus address data

South Carolina public health officials are creating a statewide database of addresses of known positive COVID-19 cases, a secure tool only made available to first responders who have argued the information could help protect them.

Although solely intended for the emergency response community, it’s also a step toward the release of more specific information about the location of infections that officials have come under fire for resisting.

RELATED: Coronavirus in South Carolina: Free app tracks Midlands restaurants, food trucks in service during COVID-19

RELATED: South Carolina officers connect with communities from a distance

The online matrix, according to Nick Davidson, acting director of public health for the Department of Health and Environmental Control, comes in response to local officials' complaints that first responders were being left potentially vulnerable to the disease and also needed that information to conserve protective gear, which is in short supply.

Charlotte to host virtual small business forum

The City of Charlotte is hosting a Small Business virtual forum Friday to get ideas, strategies and input from Charlotte small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The event starts at noon. Participants can register online.

South Carolina DOL extends deadline to renew business licenses

Effective immediately, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) is extending the license renewal deadline for licenses, registrations, and permits scheduled to renew during the months of April, May, June, July, and August. The new renewal deadline is extended to September 30, 2020.

Health Director says COVID-19 impacting the homeless community

During a presentation Thursday, Health Director Gibbie Harris said Charlotte's homeless community has been impacted by coronavirus. The county has now opened hotels to allow these individuals to isolate if they have nowhere else to go, according to North Carolina Health News. 

Christian McCaffrey launches initiative to help healthcare workers


Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has launched a new initiative called "22 and You" to support healthcare workers on the front lines in the Carolinas. Funds raised by the charity will go to the NC Healthcare Foundation and South Carolina Hospital Association Foundation. 

In a tweet, McCaffrey encouraged his followers to donate anything they can: $22, $220 or $2,200. 

Gaston County reports its first COVID-19 related death 

The Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services has confirmed its first death associated with Covid-19 in Gaston County. 

Gaston DHHS was alerted to the death after the individual passed away Wednesday evening, April 1st. 

According to officials, the individual was in their 80’s and had previous underlying health issues.

6.6 million people seek unemployment amid coronavirus

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. 

RELATED: 6.6 million seek jobless aid as layoffs mount

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College donates PPE to local hospitals

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College recently donated medical masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment from its health-related programs to local hospitals to help with shortages of supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rowan-Cabarrus staff delivered the supplies to facilities associated with Atrium Health, Novant Health and the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center. The equipment is normally used during daily healthcare classes and labs. Classes at the College have transitioned online, with all in-person classes temporarily suspended.

Economic experts say we could see another unemployment record

Economists expect last week's U.S. jobless claims, due to be reported Thursday morning, to blow past last week's total of nearly 3.3 million initial claims. That was quintuple the prior record. 

CNBC reported we could see between 4 and 5 million unemployment claims this week. North Carolina has been among the top five states for claims following Governor Cooper's executive order to shut down non-essential businesses. 

RELATED: Furloughed or laid off? What's the difference?

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