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South Carolina reporting COVID-19 deaths associated with nursing homes

There are over 9,500 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, including over 1,500 in Mecklenburg County. South Carolina has over 5,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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 27, click here.

Key Facts:

REopenNC releases statement after Raleigh rally, arrests

Several protesters were arrested in Raleigh on Tuesday after a REopenNC protest, according to a press release from the group.

“Today in a bold move Police present at our peaceful rally outside the North Carolina Legislature Building arrested me and several other protesters,” said REopenNC cofounder Ashley Smith in a statement. 

The group claims police violated their oath to uphold the constitution and said the organization will continue to hold protests.

“Our protests will continue," Smith said in a statement. "Our civil disobedience will accelerate. Our faith in the Police has diminished. We will open North Carolina!”

South Carolina reporting COVID-19 deaths associated with nursing homes

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control provided an updated list of facilities impacted by COVID-19, including any deaths of residents or staff due to COVID-19 complications.

“This virus is taking its toll on many of our state's most vulnerable, including our friends and family who reside in long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Physician. “DHEC continues to work with facilities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide recommendations and guidance for best practices in controlling the spread of this disease.”

On March 13, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order stopping public visitation to these facilities in order to help protect the residents, staff and visitors. That order is still in effect.

The list of over 50 long-term facilities and their case counts can be found here.

SC DHEC announces 123 new cases of COVID-19

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 123 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 5,735 and those who have died to 192. 

Of the newly announced deaths, 14 were in elderly individuals in Berkeley (1), Charleston (1), Clarendon (1), Darlington (1), Greenville (2), Horry (3), Lancaster (1), Lee (1), Richland (2), and Sumter (1) counties. 

One person who died was a middle-aged individual in Clarendon County.

Here's a breakdown of new cases statewide by county:

Aiken (2), Allendale (2), Anderson (2), Barnwell (2), Bamberg (1), Beaufort (5), Berkeley (1), Charleston 4, Chesterfield (1), Clarendon (9), Darlington (3), Edgefield (1), Florence (5), Georgetown (1), Greenville (11), Greenwood (2), Horry (5), Kershaw (6), Lancaster (2), Laurens (2), Lee (3), Lexington (12), Marlboro (1), Orangeburg (4), Richland (24), Saluda (2), Spartanburg (2), Sumter (5), Williamsburg (1), York (2)

Pandemic Relief Bills filed in NC House

Legislation was filed in the North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday to provide relief funding and policy reforms for families, businesses, healthcare facilities, education campuses, and communities across the state.

The state House approved H.R. 1044 Amend Rules/State of Emergency on Tuesday to implement new procedural guidelines for the chamber to go along with CDC social distancing rules.

The new House rules expand the voting window from 15 seconds to 40 minutes, allow questions to be submitted off the floor, allow caucus leaders to vote for designated members of their parties, permit same-day calendaring of bills given proper notice, and allow remote meetings of official committees.

Lawsuit filed against Citadel Salisbury over communication, conditions

Law firms in Salisbury and Raleigh have teamed up to file a claim against the Citadel Salisbury nursing home. 

It comes as the Citadel has confirmed 17 deaths connected to COVID-19.

A Salisbury firm filed a claim on the behalf of the caretakers of a resident at the Citadel, Marjorie Garvin. The claim was filed on April 21. On April 27, the firms learned that Garvin had died.

"Sadly, we learned late yesterday that Margorie Garvin passed away. We are dismissing her complaint at this time to allow the family to grieve and to get her estate in order," the firms said in a statement, in part. 

The firm partnered with a Raleigh firm to file a new complaint with witness statements, focusing on seeking a review of the facility's policies. 

“We felt we had no choice but to file this suit in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the elderly population and those dedicated to caring for them," Mona Lisa Wallace, speaking for Wallace and Graham (Salisbury), said.

Mecklenburg County allows some businesses to reopen

Mecklenburg County announced Tuesday an intention to recede their local Stay at Home order and default over to the governor's statewide order. The difference between the two orders will mean some businesses which previously could not operate under local rules will now be permitted under Governor Roy Cooper's rules.

Businesses that will be permitted to reopen include car dealership, vape shops, realtors, funeral homes, lawn care, craft and hobby stores, furniture and mattress stores, auto body shop, dog grooming, house keeping service, and carpet cleaning. Other retail stores would be permitted to operate curbside service. 

In addition, shared sports courts and facilities such as tennis courts will be allowed to reopen.

The proposed order would still need to be signed into law upon review.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris, County Manager Dena Diorio, and Emergency Management Deputy Director Robert Graham join a meeting of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners to discuss their on-going response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. There are more than 1,500 cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg County. Officials will hold an on-camera briefing later in the day.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper coronavirus briefing

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state leaders are holding a COVID-19 coronavirus briefing in Raleigh. Today, North Carolina reported the most deaths in a single day with 36 new deaths since yesterday.  There are over 9,500 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina and about 350 deaths.

During the briefing, Cooper says he expects the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will happen without fans in attendance at the end of May unless health conditions deteriorate in the state. 

"I have had conversations with NASCAR officials and officials at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  They have submitted plans that involve social distancing," Cooper said. 

South Carolina holds another meeting of AccelerateSC

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is having another meeting of his task force designed to get the state back up and running following the coronavirus.

McMaster and Lt. Governor Pamela Evette will lead the AccelerateSC meeting in downtown Columbia. WLTX will have live streaming coverage at 2 p.m. in the video player above.  

Lancaster County COVID-19 patient dies

Sadly, another Lancaster County coronavirus patient has died as a result of the virus. Coroner Jennifer Collins says the patient was taken to a North Carolina hospital where they died Monday. 

Congresswoman Alma Adams discusses coronavirus response

Congresswoman Alma Adams is providing an update on the federal response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic during a special meeting of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.

NC lawmakers draft bill titled "COVID-19 time sensitive matters"

A bill has been drafted by lawmakers that would give North Carolinians an extension on their driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and other documents until August 1. The bill would retroactively apply to all expirations dating on or after March 10. 

ReOpen NC rally outside State Capitol

North Carolina reports 36 new COVID-19 deaths

Sadly, 36 more people in North Carolina have died as a result of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS reports an increase of 426 new cases, including 36 deaths, which is the most the state has seen in a single day from the virus. 

There are now 9,568 confirmed cases of the virus statewide in 96 counties. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has served over 800,000 meals during pandemic

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Nutrition Services announces the district has served 864,145 meals since closing for coronavirus. The district has been provided breakfast and lunch for students across the Mecklenburg County area since being closed by Governor Cooper. 

Caldwell County launches "rolling hotspots" for students

The Caldwell County School District and the Education Foundation of Caldwell County launched Rolling Hotspots as part of Google’s Rolling Study Halls program. The initiative will help local students engage in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. By outfitting 31 Caldwell County School District buses with Wi-Fi capabilities, the Rolling Hotspots will address the critical need for reliable internet access and allow all 11,200 county students to continue their education using Google Classroom. Click here for more information.

Mars Hill University makes SAT and ACT optional for 2020-21 enrollment

Mars Hill University is taking steps to make the admissions process as fair as possible for the incoming fall 2020 class, already dealing with multiple challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. Among those steps is making optional the submission of SAT and/or ACT scores for first-year students enrolling for this fall. Students who have taken the tests are welcome to submit their scores, but it is not a requirement for fall 2020 admissions.

Town of Boone asks for moratorium on rent and mortgage payments

The Town of Boone has passed a resolution calling on state and federal leaders to put a hold on rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution passed unanimously during a town council meeting April 21. 

ReOpen NC rally planned outside Capitol

The grassroots political movement has another rally scheduled in the state capital Tuesday morning. Protesters are expected to assemble outside the Capitol at 11 a.m. as the General Assembly reopens for business. :Lawmakers will get together to work on the state's next steps in response to COVID-19

The group has called on Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the state by May 1. Last week, Cooper extended North Carolina's "stay home" order through at least May 8, saying the state needs to make more progress before he's willing to fully reopen all businesses. 

A group of health care workers from the Raleigh area have scheduled a counter protest at the same time. The group plans to show up in personal protective equipment with signs saying "I can't believe I have to show up here too." They say the reopen rallies undermine the efforts of 10 million North Carolinians "doing all that they can" to flatten the coronavirus curve. 

RELATED: Leader of ReOpen NC tests positive for coronavirus: Report

US likely to reach 1 million COVID-19 cases Tuesday

There were more than 988,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6 a.m. EDT Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is likely to reach 1 million by the end of the day. There have been more than 56,000 deaths and more than 111,000 recoveries in the U.S. 

The global total of confirmed cases is more than 3 million, with 211,000 deaths and nearly 900,000 recovered.

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