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North Carolina statewide 'stay at home' order in effect

There are now 1,377 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina and 925 in South Carolina. There are 382 cases of COVID-19 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 COVID-19 pandemic.  

Key Facts:

Editor's Note: This story has updates from Monday, March 30. Click here for live updates on Tuesday, March 31.

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MONDAY, MARCH 30

Newly-released Mecklenburg County data shows demographics hardest hit by COVID-19

Every zip code in Mecklenburg County has at least one COVID-19 case and at least 13 zip codes are home to 10 or more cases, according to the latest data released by county health officials. 

Although the older population is one of the most vulnerable, the numbers continue to show that a majority of cases are patients between 20 and 59 years old, 75.3%. 

RELATED: Mecklenburg County data shows demographics hardest hit by coronavirus

SC Gov. Henry McMaster orders public access to all beaches closed

Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-16, ordering the closure of all public access points to the state’s beaches, as well as the closure of public boat ramps, landings and other access points on lakes, rivers and waterways.

It comes after a warm weekend led many in the Carolinas to spend time in groups outside, despite being advised against it.

It does not apply to those who possess a current and valid commercial fishing license, or permit "to the extent such individuals may seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities."

RELATED: SC Governor orders public access to all beaches closed

The order also doesn't impact the rights of private property owners that live on beaches, lakes, rivers or waterways.

DOD announces death of first US service member from COVID-19

The Department of Defense has announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman has died from COVID-19 complications Saturday. The person had been hospitalized since March 21 after testing positive, the agency says.  

RELATED: DOD announces death of first US service member from COVID-19

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden closing indefinitely

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is closing to the general public indefinitely. 

The Garden reduced its workforce to those required for minimal maintenance and nominal operations. The staff of 52 has now been reduced to nine people.

President Trump speaks from the White House

President Trump says that over 1 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19.

The president mentioned that the U.S. Navy hospital ship "Comfort" arrived to New York harbor Monday. The ship has 1,000 rooms and will be there to help patients who do not have COVID-19 so that hospitals on land can deal with COVID-19 patients. 

Dr. Fauci said that we should be able to use a vaccine to help with this in a year or more from now.  

SC announces two additional COVID-19 deaths, 151 new cases

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 18.

One person was an elderly individual from Beaufort County with underlying health conditions. The other was an elderly individual from Anderson County with underlying health conditions.

Additionally, DHEC is reporting 151 additional cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the statewide total to 925 cases in 41 counties.

Here's a breakdown of new cases by county: 

  • Anderson County: 2 cases
  • Barnwell County: 1 case
  • Beaufort County: 24 cases
  • Charleston County: 6 cases
  • Chesterfield County: 2 cases
  • Clarendon County: 2 cases
  • Colleton County: 1 case
  • Darlington County: 1 case
  • Dorchester County: 2 cases
  • Fairfield County: 1 case
  • Florence County: 1 case
  • Georgetown County: 1 case
  • Greenville County: 17 cases
  • Horry County: 1 case
  • Kershaw County: 16 cases
  • Lancaster County: 1 case
  • Lexington County: 6 cases
  • Marion County: 1 case
  • Orangeburg County: 5 cases
  • Pickens County: 2 cases
  • Richland County: 40 cases
  • Spartanburg County: 5 cases
  • Sumter County: 4 cases
  • Union County: 2 cases
  • York County: 7 cases

Johnson C. Smith University closes residence halls

Residence halls on Johnson C. Smith University's campus officially closed Monday. It comes as students begin online instruction for the rest of the semester.

"All decisions are being made with you in mind," President Clarence D. Armbrister said in a video to the university. 

JCSU will continue remote operations through at least April 16. During that time, the campus is closed to everyone except for faculty and staff involved in essential operations.

"Staying home will save lives."

"This is like a war right here at home," said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen. "The enemy is this virus. It can hurt us. It can take our loved ones from us. The only way we can win, and save as many lives as possible, is to stay at home."

As of this morning, there have been 1,307 cases across 74 counties in North Carolina. 46 is the median age of coronavirus patients. This is the median age of people who tested positive. 

There have been 137 hospitalizations and 6 deaths. While not all labs report negative test results, at least 20,864 completed tests across the state have tested negative. An estimated 8,752 tests are still pending. 

There are 15,398 in-patient hospital beds in the state and 6,235 are empty. That's about 40%. These numbers are based on 64% of hospitals reporting. 

At 5 p.m., a statewide 'stay at home' order goes into effect. Cohen stressed Monday: "Unless you're going out for groceries or to exercise, stay at home."

The state is still looking for additional medical volunteers. Retired or former medical personnel who wish to help with the response to the coronavirus, can visit terms.ncem.org .

New guidelines for child care centers

Effective April 1, North Carolina officials expect all child care programs to meet new health, safety and operational guidelines. If a daycare of child care center is currently open and wishes to remain open after March 31, child care programs must complete a COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application Form by 11:59 p.m. on March 31.  The application details the health, screening, safety and operational requirements for remaining open or reopening to provide emergency child care to critical workers.  Additionally, a financial assistance package for providers and families is also included in the guidance document. 

Covid-19 cases in North Carolina continues to climb 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that North Carolina now has 1,307 cases of Covid-19 in the state. Mecklenburg County reports 333 cases in the county, while NCDHHS is reporting 382 cases.

Newton to close playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts; parks to remain open

Out of concern for public safety and in accordance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, the City of Newton will suspend public access to playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts effective 5 p.m. March 30.

Tokyo Olympics gets new dates 

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. 

Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021. That is almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Gov. Cooper's statewide stay at home order in effect at 5pm Monday night

A statewide North Carolina 'stay at home' proclamation will order residents to suspend all unnecessary travel through April 29.

"I know this order may lead to more hardship and heartache," Cooper said.

Essential services, such as grocery stores and medical services, will reopen open and operational.

More on the stay at home order.

NC Governor announces plans for first COVID-19 unemployment benefits

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says the first payments for unemployment claims due to COVID-19 will be going out this week. 

The Division of Employment Security received "an unprecedented number" of unemployment insurance claims since Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order Number 118 on March 17.

In the past two weeks, approximately 270,000 claims have been filed, with most of them related to COVID-19, up from about 7,500 claims in the first two weeks of March.