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SC DHEC releases list of long-term care facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases

There are now over 6,900 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina and 4,600 in South Carolina. Meanwhile, South Carolina's beaches could reopen to the public this week.

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.  

For updates from Monday, April 20, click here

Key Facts:

There were more than 787,960 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States around 6 a.m. ET on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been over 42,000 deaths in the U.S., with more than 73,000 recoveries. More than 4 million tests have been conducted nationwide.

Worldwide, there have been 2.4 million cases and 171,152 deaths.

SC DHEC releases list of long-term care facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has released a list of long-term care facilities across the state with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

SC DHEC plans to provide regular updates on the number of cases in these facilities — for both residents and staff members. 

If you can't view this list, click here.

JCSU reschedules 2020 commencement for October

Johnson C. Smith University has rescheduled the 2020 Commencement plans, as the original date of May 17 will not be advisable due to COVID-19.

Commencement 2020 has been rescheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at Bojangles’ Coliseum, and will occur as part of homecoming festivities.

Degrees for students who have met requirements will still be conferred on track with the normal schedule, and transcripts will list the official May graduation date. Diplomas will likely be delayed, however, as the warehouse they were ordered from hasn't released them due to COVID-19.

"Because these are uncertain times, the University is working on an alternative plan if circumstances with COVID-19 are such that we will not be able to have the in-person graduation ceremony on October 28," JCSU said in a release.

Charlotte city councilman advocates for potential reopening of small businesses

Charlotte City Council Member Tariq Bokhari (R-District 6) said in his podcast Tuesday he thinks businesses in Charlotte are ready to start reopening.

Bokhari spoke with John Marino, founder of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Marino said he would argue grocery stores and other big stores that have remained open are more dangerous than a beer garden. 

"I can control how many people come into my beer garden and how far apart they stand just like at the grocery store or Walgreens," Marino said. "So to say all breweries have to stay closed... you're wiping out a huge segment of small industry."

Bokhari said he felt it was time to make a "soft call to action" to his colleagues, adding it wasn't simple for him to do. He says while he doesn't think now is the time to go out and protest, things can be done.

"It is time to reopen businesses in a thoughtful and fast and nimble fashion," Bokhari said.

RELATED: 'Every single day that we don't do that, small businesses die' | Charlotte councilman proposes this reopening idea

SC DHEC announces 172 new cases of COVID-19, 11 additional deaths

 The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 172 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 4,608 and those who have died to 135.

Those who died were elderly individuals from the following Counties: Beaufort (3), Berkeley (2), Charleston (2), Clarendon (1), Colleton (1), Greenville (1), and Spartanburg (1).

Here's a county-by-county breakdown of the new cases of COVID-19:
Abbeville (1), Aiken (1), Anderson (2), Beaufort (8), Berkeley (4), Charleston (12), Chesterfield (1), Clarendon (6), Darlington (8), Dillon (1), Dorchester (2), Edgefield (5), Fairfield (1), Florence (15), Greenville (17), Greenwood (3), Horry (3), Kershaw (2), Lexington (12), Marion (4), Newberry (2), Oconee (2), Orangeburg (5), Pickens (3), Richland (30), Spartanburg (5), Sumter (14), York (3).

SC DHEC estimates that as of April 20, 72% of individuals have recovered from the illness, 28% remain ill. That number is based on the available symptom onset data SC DHEC had for individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

Novant Health purchases 75,000 masks to combat spread of COVID-19

Novant Health announced it's supporting communitywide masking. It comes weeks after the CDC issued updated guidance recommending everyone where nonmedical cloth face coverings when in public to prevent the spread of the virus.

Over the coming weeks, Novant Health will distribute cloth masks to team members, patients and visitors across North Carolina. 

In addition to team members, 45,000 masks will be distributed at respiratory assessment centers and to the vulnerable community members receiving care at Novant Health Waughtown locations and the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic and our mobile screening sites.

Gov. Cooper signs Executive Order to help furloughed employees

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed a new Executive Order today to help furloughed workers whose employers have paid them a severance or furlough payment. Before this order, these employees were ineligible for unemployment compensation. With this order, they now qualify.

"We are working with legislators to try to codify into law this order and my other orders on unemployment benefits. Next week when the General Assembly returns, we hope to get consensus on more help for North Carolina," Cooper said. 

North Carolina sees biggest, single-day increase in deaths thus far

In North Carolina, there are over 6,900 cases of coronavirus. On Tuesday, the state reported 34 new deaths, the biggest, single-day increase within the state thus far. The coronavirus death toll in North Carolina is now 213 people. 

General Assembly leaders and Gov. Cooper have agreed that the state needs to make more funding available for small business owners. 

"And we'll do that by providing funding to the Rapid Recovery Program through the Golden LEAF Foundation, which is up & running and can act quickly to get funding to people," Cooper said. 

Gov. Cooper also said on Tuesday that he plans to make an announcement later this week regarding the executive orders that expire at the end of the month and schools. 

Hundreds gather outside NC Capitol for #ReOpenNC rally

Hundreds of people assembled outside the North Carolina Capitol for the ReOpen NC rally. The group is demanding that Gov. Roy Cooper reopen the state's economy. 

North Carolina reports 34 additional COVID-19 deaths

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says 213 people have died from coronavirus. That's 34 new deaths from Monday's toll of 179. There are 427 people hospitalized with confirmed cases in 93 counties statewide.

LabCorp gets green light for at-home coronavirus test kits

North Carolina based  LabCorp announced Tuesday that it has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.

The EUA permits nasal swab specimens to be collected at home using the LabCorp COVID-19 test home collection kit if recommended by a healthcare provider after completing a COVID-19 questionnaire.

LabCorp’s COVID-19 at-home test kit is part of the company’s continued commitment to increase the supply and availability of tests for healthcare workers and first responders who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Health care workers honored by first responders in Mooresville and Gastonia

The towns of Mooresville and Gastonia honored health care workers with "parades of lights" Tuesday morning. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics thanked front line workers by flashing their lights and sirens outside hospitals during shift change. 

PARADE OF LIGHTS - First responders from the Mooresville Police Department, Mooresville Fire-Rescue, Iredell County EMS, and local volunteer fire departments will provide a “Parade of Lights” to thank health care professionals at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.

Posted by Town of Mooresville NC on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ReOpen NC rally planned for Tuesday in Raleigh

Protesters calling for a quicker reopening of the North Carolina economy amid the coronavirus pandemic plan to rally Tuesday near the governor's mansion and say they'll do so every Tuesday as needed.

Their attorney said members plan to exercise social distancing at the 11 a.m. protest. A once-discussed plan to bus people in has been set aside, attorney Anthony Biller said. 

Insulin maker offering free 90-day supply to patients financially impacted by pandemic 

One insulin maker is offering diabetic patients free insulin for 90 days if they no longer have health insurance coverage because they lost their jobs during the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk announced April 14 that the offer is available through its diabetes patient assistance program.

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