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South Carolina prohibits gatherings greater than 3 people

There are 404 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, 298 in South Carolina and at least 97 in Mecklenburg County.

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: 404
  • Cases in South Carolina: 298, with 5 deaths
  • Cases in Mecklenburg County: 106
  • Nearly half of Meck County cases are adults 20-39

LIST | These Charlotte-area grocery stores are offering special hours just for seniors during the coronavirus outbreak

Monday, March 23

Winthrop University student tests positive for COVID-19

Winthrop University was informed Monday that a student tested positive for COVID-19. Before the student tested positive, they stopped by their residence hall on March 17 to pick up belongings during spring break. 

Winthrop University says the student sought medical advice and testing once they showed symptoms.

"While the resident was on campus for only a short time, precautions have been taken in the hall to sanitize shared space and frequently touched surfaces," a release from Winthrop University said. "These preventive measures will minimize the risk posed to other residents and the campus community." 

The university said they don't currently intend to publicly announce each additional case of COVID-19. Students who still need to return to campus to pick up belongings this week are asked to use the staggered sign-up process to emphasize social distancing.

Attendee of NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference tests positive for COVID-19

A person who attended the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

"While it is difficult, if not impossible, to know when, where or how this individual was exposed, we felt it was important to share this information with all participants at the event," event organizers said in a statement. 

UNC Charlotte student tests positive for COVID-19

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte was informed Monday that a student tested positive for COVID-19. The student in isolation and receiving proper medical attention.

UNCC says the student was studying abroad, self-quarantined upon return to the U.S. and did not return to campus. 

"I know this is concerning news," Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said in a statement. "However, as testing for the virus becomes more widespread, we will begin to see more confirmed cases in the Charlotte region. I encourage everyone to remain vigilant in protecting their health and the health of others."

North Carolina high school spring sports suspended until at least May 18

NCHSAA announced that in light of North Carolina schools remaining closed until mid-May, NCHSAA interscholastic athletics will remain suspended until at least May 18.

Emergency blood drives to be held in Gaston County

The American Red Cross and Gaston County YMCA will hold several emergency blood drives over the next two weeks at the Pharr YMCA in McAdenville.

There will be six blood drives: all from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. They will take place March 24-26 and again the following week, March 31-April 2.

"Donations are crucial right now because many blood drives have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic," American Red Cross officials said in a release. "The goal is to collect at least 20 pints each day, and all blood types are needed." 

The blood drives will follow social distancing mandates, with extra measures in place to keep space between donors whenever possible. Donors and staff will have their temperatures taken before being allowed into the blood drive.

Those who would like to donate at the upcoming blood drives are asked to schedule appointments at www.redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code PharrYMCA.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster outlaws gatherings greater than 3 people

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is prohibiting public gatherings of people greater than 3 in a new executive order issued Monday. The new measure does not apply to private households and certain businesses, such as grocery stories.

"This weekend, we saw large crowds gathered on beaches, on sandbars, and in parking lots," McMaster said in a statement. "We are facing a dangerous and deadly enemy and this type of behavior is both irresponsible and selfish. Law enforcement asked for clarification as to how this existing law applies during this state of emergency. I have included it in an executive order to make it clear that law enforcement has the ability to disperse groups of people who pose a risk to the public's safety and to the safety of others."

McMaster said the measure dow not apply to private businesses "nor to responsible South Carolinians continuing to make the best out of this situation." 

Two new cases of COVID-19 in Iredell County

Monday, the Iredell County Health Department was made aware of two additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Iredell County. It brings the total case count in the county to 8.

Gov. Cooper announces closures of several businesses by Wednesday at 5 p.m.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order lowering the threshold to ban mass gatherings of more than 50 people. 

The order takes effect Wednesday at 5 p.m., but Gov. Cooper is urging these businesses to close as soon as possible.

This will mean the closure of the following types of facilities: 

  • Bingo Parlors, including those operated by charitable organizations
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, indoor trampolines, etc.)
  • Health Clubs
  • Indoor Pools
  • Live Performance Venues
  • Movie Theaters
  • Skating Rinks
  • Spas
  • Sweepstakes Lounges
  • Video game arcades
  • Barber Shops
  • Beauty Salons (including waxing and hair removal centers)
  • Hair Salons
  • Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
  • Massage Parlors
  • Tattoo Parlors

FEMA helping distinguish between rumors and facts on COVID-19

FEMA has created a web page to help the public determine if what they're hearing about COVID-19 is a fact or a rumor.

"Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis," FEMA said on its web page. "Do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the federal (COVID-19) response."

For more, click here to see FEMA's Rumor Control page.

South Carolina announces two additional deaths

Two more coronavirus patients have died in South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Monday. That brings the total number of deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Carolina to five.

One patient was an elderly person from Clarendon County, who had underlying health conditions. The second patient was an elderly person from Kershaw County who also had underlying health conditions. 

South Carolina health officials also announced an additional 103 cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 298. 

Chester County, Lancaster County and York County are among the counties with new cases announced. Here's a full breakdown of new SC cases by county:

  • Anderson County: 5 cases
  • Beaufort County: 7 cases
  • Berkeley County: 2 case
  • Charleston County: 17 cases
  • Chester County: 1 case
  • Clarendon County: 3 cases
  • Dorchester County: 1 case 
  • Darlington County: 2 cases
  • Fairfield County: 1 case
  • Florence County: 2 cases
  • Horry County: 5 cases
  • Kershaw County: 10 cases
  • Lancaster County: 2 cases
  • Lee County: 1 case
  • Lexington County: 5 cases
  • Georgetown County: 2 cases
  • Greenville County: 12 cases
  • Oconee County: 1 case
  • Orangeburg County: 5 cases
  • Richland County: 14 cases
  • Spartanburg County: 1 case
  • Sumter County: 1 case
  • York County: 3 cases

S.C. education assessment requirements waived

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman says the U.S. Department of Education has approved South Carolina's assessment and accountability suspension waiver that was submitted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The suspension of South Carolina's student assessments will allow educators to focus on meeting the needs of students and relieve undue anxiety faced by parents and students," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. 

RELATED: U.S. Dept. of Education waives S.C. education assessment requirements due to COVID-19 pandemic

Northlake Mall closes

Northlake Mall is closing its doors Monday amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The mall will close at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.

Cats to operate on a modified schedule 

Starting Wednesday, CATS will operate modified service, including CATS buses, LYNX Blue Line and Special Transportation Services. All service will be FREE during this time.

Cooper to close all North Carolina K-12 schools through May 15

Gov. Roy Cooper announces he will sign an executive order to close all K-12 schools for in-person instruction through May 15. Cooper says he isn't giving up on the school year yet, but the effects of coronavirus mean schools will rely further on internet learning.

Governor Cooper  asked the State Board to collaborate with the Department of Public Instruction and legislators to:

  • develop a plan ensuring access to quality education 
  • provide students with remote learning 
  • ensure that school employees – including janitors, bus drivers, teaching assistants and cafeteria workers -- will work in safe environments and be paid.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials update coronavirus cases in North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper, alongside top health and education officials, are updating the state's response to COVID-19. 

Gibbie Harris: Mecklenburg County is not taking this seriously 

Mecklenburg County Health Director, Gibbie Harris, said during a news conference that the county is not taking coronavirus precautions seriously. 

Our numbers are not encouraging and what we see in the community in terms of how people are responding to the restrictions that have been put out there are concerning.  People are continuing to act as if we do not have this infection in our community and that concerns me greatly," Harris said. 

Harris also said that roughly 1 in 8 people who have tested positive have been hospitalized to date. 

"They’re not all still in the hospital.  And we will see that number fluctuate on a daily basis," Harris said. 

As of Monday morning, Mecklenburg County has over 3,000 coronavirus tests pending right now.  The number of total tests administered is not available. 

Crowders Mountain to temporarily close starting Monday 

Due to declared state of emergency in various counties and continued crowding that does not adhere to social distancing guidelines, Crowders Mountain State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, Lake Waccamaw State Park and Raven Rock State Park will be CLOSED as of sunset on Sunday, March 22.

Mecklenburg County officials hold coronavirus update at 12 p.m. 

Crowders Mountain State Park closes indefinitely

As of March 23, 2020, Crowders Mountain State Park will be closed until further notice due to health and safety concerns for visitors and staff.

North Carolina school board votes to cancel tests amid COVID-19 closure

As schools across North Carolina begin their second week of closure due to the coronavirus, the state board of education voted unanimously to request a federal waiver for required testing and accountability measures for the current school year.

In opening remarks, board chairman Eric Davis said districts have quickly ramped up meal delivery for students who depend on schools for food. About 1.6 million meals have been delivered in the past week, Davis said, and the statewide capacity is now about 571,000 meals per day.

Mecklenburg County reports 17 new cases of coroanvirus

There are now 97 positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in Mecklenburg County. Health leaders will have an update on the county's response at 12 p.m. Monday.

AFC Urgent Care adds more COVID-19 testing at their clinics

The clinics in Pineville and Gastonia are also available to test for COVID-19. AFC has limited testing at this time, but are hopeful to receive additional rapid tests in the near future. They have also set up triage tents to keep all patients safe.

Harris Teeter begins new senior shopping hours

Harris Teeter has designated Mondays and Thursdays for seniors with stores opening at 6 a.m. for customers age 60 and over to shop. The stores will be open to the rest of the public from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. This change is in effect until further notice. 

Carolyn Bruck gives an update on on her health

Wake Up Charlotte anchor Carolyn Bruck joined Monday morning's newscast via phone and provided viewers with an update on her health. Bruck said she was told by her doctor to quarantine until at least April 1 while awaiting test results.

CMS makes available remote supplemental learning resources student portal

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has made available to students and families its remote supplemental learning resources student portal. This portal is to help reestablish some of the routines of the school day at home. There are numerous lessons and activities designed to help students stay engaged in learning. Print copies of the learning resources for K-3 students are also available at CMS sites providing meals daily.

Click here for the link to the portal.

Congress hopes to vote on coronavirus relief Monday

The latest economic rescue package being negotiated in Washington is now nearly $2 trillion. But the Senate has yet to agree on the parameters of the package, voting against advancing the measure to a full vote. Talks were continuing Sunday night on Capitol Hill with the goal a new vote on Monday.  

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