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Charlotte lights up green to thank first responders

There are now over 2,000 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina and 1,700 in South Carolina. Mecklenburg County has over 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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.  

Key Facts:

Friday, April 3

Charlotte skyline turns green to thank first responders

The City of Charlotte has turned green to thank first responders putting themselves at risk to help the rest of us during the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

York County Sheriff's Office employee tests positive

An unnamed employee of the York County Sheriff's Office has tested positive for coronavirus. Four other employees remain in precautionary quarantine. 

There are 73 positive cases of coronavirus in York County. One patient has died from the virus.

RELATED: York County Sheriff's Office employee tests positive for coronavirus

Mecklenburg County cases climb to 601

Mecklenburg County is urging everyone to stay home as positive cases of the coronavirus climb to 601.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said Friday.

In an updated curve graphic, Mecklenburg County is trying to convenue to residents the need to stay home and be socially distant.

Credit: WCNC

The top graph shows up to a projected 8,000 coronavirus patients needing to be hospitalized if social distancing is not followed. The more residents who practice social distancing, the lower the number of projected hospitalizations.

The county is working to construct a field hospital at UNCC to handle the projected surge of coronavirus patients.

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

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

Total of 4 Charlotte first responders test positive

The number of sickened Mecklenburg County first responders has climbed to four.

Newly released numbers indicate a member of the Charlotte Fire Department has tested positive.

Earlier numbers indicated two Charlotte Police Department officers, and a paramedic with Medic, had also tested positive.

Another 41 first responders are in quarantine at home.

RELATED: 4 Charlotte first responders test positive for coronavirus

President Donald Trump holds briefing

President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus task force are holding a briefing in Washington. On Friday, U.S. death toll passed 6,000 people and worldwide total cases have passed 1 million.  

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster holds briefing

South Carolina announces the closure of additional businesses, including furniture stores, home furnishing stores, clothing, shoe, clothing accessory stores, jewelry store, luggage, leather goods stores, department stores, and florists 

A new executive order also prohibits the rental of property, including hotel rooms, to individuals from coronavirus hotspots, excluding military and first responders.

There are 147 new cases of coronavirus. The state total is now 1,700.

DHEC announced three additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 34.

Two CMPD officers test positive for COVID-19

CMPD said the pandemic is having an impact on first responders locally as two officers are on administrative leave, along with 14 additional officers on COVID-19 quarantine protocol.

Later in the day, newly released numbers showed a total of four Mecklenburg County first responders had tested positive.

RELATED: 4 Charlotte first responders test positive for coronavirus

Gibbie Harris: This is a marathon, not a sprint 

Mecklenburg County officials are urging residents to stay indoors and comply with the stay at home order as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. 

The Mecklenburg County manager, Dena Diorio, released information that said with no social distancing, the county could see 1,603 people on ventilators. She said with proper social distancing we could see 845 people on ventilators.

Gibbie Harris said that anyone could test positive for COVID-19, noting that 3/4 of the cases were people between the ages of 20-59. Harris said 5 of those cases were people under 20.

"COVID-19 has no boundaries, everyone is susceptible," Harris said

In a news conference Friday afternoon, Gibbie Harris said she expects this pandemic to last for at least another two months. 

"We are not anywhere close to the end of this, unfortunately," Harris said.   

Harris said officials said they are used to responding to emergency situations, like a hurricane or a flood, but noted that those situations never last very long. 

"This is a marathon, not a sprint. We're trying to do everything we can to support our staff," Harris said. 

Gibbie Harris said 6 UNC Charlotte dorms have been vacated to serve as a field hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Harris said the 3,000 beds will be used to house patients but said she's not sure how many of those patients will be COVID-19 patients. 

Gov. Cooper, NC officials say we need to be better at complying with stay at home order

As North Carolina enters the first weekend with the stay at home order, Gov. Cooper is urging residents to stay at home. 

"The weekend is coming up. Lots of Tar Heel blue skies are in our forecast. I know it’s hard but stay at home anyway. We are in a crucial time period for flattening the curve, and we still need you to step up. If we all do our part, we’ll get through this," Cooper said." 

Cooper also said in Friday afternoon's news conference that they are encouraging manufacturers across the state to shift their production lines to create the masks, gloves, gowns and other materials we so desperately need. 

"Some are responding positively," Cooper said. 

'Queens commitment' will support local high school students 

Queens University of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools formalized a program to support local students in their quest for a bachelor’s degree.

The Queens Commitment promises admitted students graduating from Mecklenburg County schools a minimum $10,000 annual scholarship to attend Queens.

Queens President Daniel Lugo said, “Queens is committed to Charlotte. We know that many members of our community have been impacted directly and indirectly by the global pandemic. The University was in the process of creating this program to roll out next fall. We expedited that timeline to help local families during this time of stress and uncertainty.”

Treasurer Folwell Released from Hospital After Brief Stay

State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA was released from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after five days of treatment due to symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus. A little more than a week ago, he was diagnosed with the virus. It has primarily impacted his respiratory system, producing a severe cough. As he was convalescing at home, the cough became more acute, resulting in his physician, Dr. John Bernoit, M.D., recommending that he admit himself to the hospital. He did so on March 29 until he continued to get better and was, subsequently, discharged today.

Catawba County announces first COVID-19 related death

Catawba County Public Health is reporting its COVID-19 associated death in Catawba County. 

According to health officials, this person was hospitalized and later died on March 30 from complications associated with the virus. Public Health was notified of the test result Friday. The patient was in their early 70s and had underlying medical conditions.

Mecklenburg County amends 'Stay at Home' order regarding real estate transactions

 Prohibited Unless Virtual: Anyone looking to purchase real estate, but who has not "vested" money into a house, which could be forfeited or lost, should do it virtually only and avoid any face to face interaction with a realtor during this period. Any communication regarding the transaction should be done electronically.

North Carolina DHHS reports 3 new deaths, bringing statewide total to 19

NC DHHS reported new COVID-19 coronavirus totals Friday. There are now 2,093 confirmed cases in North Carolina in 86 counties. Officials say 259 people are hospitalized with the virus and 19 people have died. The state has completed 31,598 total tests, according to DHHS. State officials say there are 564 cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County. 

Charlotte mayor says city has "contractual obligation" to hold RNC

Mayor Vi Lyles said during a Twitter Q&A Friday that the City of Charlotte has a "contractual obligation" to host the Republican National Convention this summer.

Lyles said the city would host the RNC the rules of the CDC, as well as state and local guidelines.  

DES to expand capacity in response to surge in COVID-19 unemployment claims

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is taking immediate actions to help people who are unable to work because of COVID-19.

To better assist individuals and employers, initial steps include:

  • Hiring 50 new staff
  • Adding 100 staff from Division of Workforce Solutions Career Centers
  • Contracting with an additional 200-person call center
  • Adding computer servers to ensure capacity for large number of people filing online
  •  Doubling printing and mail capacity to ensure timely delivery of documents
  • Purchasing more than 500 new computers and other equipment so employees in the office and at home can work to process claims.

Following these initial steps, the division will have more than 850 people working to process unemployment claims and get payments out the door. 

South Carolina to disclose COVID-19 cases by zip code, McMaster says

Governor Henry McMaster tweets that he will have DHEC publicly disclose the number of up-to-date coronavirus cases in each county by zip code starting Friday. McMaster says in addition to this, DHEC will provide the estimated number of residents who are likely infected and untested within that same zip code. 

Novant Health partners with Walgreens for medical supply donations

Community members may now drop off medical supply donations for Novant Health team members at the following participating Walgreens locations in the Charlotte area:

  • 544 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28207
  • 5040 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28216
  • 9848 Gilead Road, Huntersville, NC 28078
  • 1220 Matthews Township Parkway, Matthews, NC 28105
  • 1906 W. Innes St., Salisbury, NC 28144

Charlotte field hospital being planned to treat coronavirus patients

Atruim and Novant Health systems have asked Mecklenburg County and its’ partners to build a field hospital to treat as many as 3,000 additional COVID-19 coronavirus patients during the anticipated surge of the virus. 

In the letter, the hospital system leaders propose University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a possible location.

While UNCC has not been confirmed as the final location, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois announced Thursday that it may become necessary for Holshouser, Hunt, Laurel, Levine, Sanford and Scott Halls to be opened for support of the county and state’s plans to protect the health and safety of the community.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: US death toll passes 6,000; Costco customer limits begin

RELATED: 'In my blood, there may be answers': COVID-19 survivor among first to donate blood