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Two more COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina: Real-time updates Friday, March 20

There are now 155 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, 124 in South Carolina and 43 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:

  • NC Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed the state's first case of community spread
  • Cases in North Carolina: 176
  • Cases in South Carolina: 126, with 3 deaths
  • Cases in Mecklenburg County: 43

This daily live blog will be updated with important notes and statistics from across the Carolinas each day. For the latest breaking news alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app

BUYER BEWARE: How to report coronavirus price gouging


Two more COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina

South Carolina is reporting two more deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus in their state. The total number of deaths in that state is now 3.

One patient was an elderly person with an underlying health condition from Florence County. The other patient was an elderly person with an underlying health condition from Charleston County and was a resident of Harmony Assisted Living Facility.  

As of publication, South Carolina has 126 reported cases of coronavirus.

DoorDash launches delivery campaign

DoorDash says they are launching a delivering campaign to "support the restaurant industry," which had to close its dining rooms earlier this week in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Tax deadline extended

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has extended the state tax filing deadline from May 15 to July 15. The same change was previously announced for federal filings.

Cleveland County retracts positive coronavirus case

Cleveland County now says they have zero cases of coronavirus, after an patient who tested positive earlier was determined to reside in a different county. WCNC Charlotte inquired to that person's county of residency and did not hear back.

Companies are hiring

As some companies layoff workers over the coronavirus outbreak, others are staffing up.

Publix says it is hiring thousands of workers across multiple states to help with the demand for groceries and other goods.

MedSpeed, the industry leader in healthcare intra-company logistics, announced that it is hiring Logistics Service Representatives, or LSRs—their term for drivers—in Charlotte. The company has openings for full-time and part-time (non-seasonal) medical couriers who are responsible for the daily pick-up and delivery of various medical items.

RELATED: Long wait times for online grocery orders

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York County warning of rumors

The York County Sheriff's Office is warning of a false rumor indicating the deployment of the National Guard in communities across the United States.

"Help prevent the spread of rumors that incite panic," they wrote on Twitter Friday. "If you have received an email, text message, social media post containing the info in this photo, IT IS FALSE!"

Carowinds opening date pushed to mid-May

Cedar Fair, the parent company of amusement parks including Carowinds, announced Friday the opening of their parks will not happen before mid-May.

"We believe these decisions are in the best interest of our associates, our guests, and our communities," said Richard Zimmerman, CEO of Cedar Fair  Entertainment Company.

Department of Education will waive K-12 standardized testing requirements

President Donald Trump says the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements for students in elementary through high school for the current year.

Trump said students have already been through a lot with schools opening and closings.

USA Swimming calls for Tokyo Olympics delay

USA Swimming has sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee calling on the group to push for a one year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. 

"Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime and anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer," USA Swimming Chief Executive Tim Hinchey III said in a letter.

During a conference call earlier in the day, the leaders of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said it's still too soon to decide about whether the Tokyo Games should go on as scheduled. 

A member of Vice President Mike Pence's team tests positive

The White House says a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Miller said Friday that the staff member, who is not being identified, did not have “close contact” to either the vice president or President Donald Trump.

“‪This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus. Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” the vice president's press secretary said.  

Man enters Walmart, begins Facebook Live, announces he has coronavirus

A man was arrested Wednesday after going live on Facebook inside an Albemarle Walmart claiming to have tested positive for COVID-19.  

Albemarle Police Department arrested Justin M. Rhodes for Felony Perpetrating hoax in a Public Building and Disorderly Conduct. 

RELATED: Man arrested after going live on Facebook while in Walmart stating he had coronavirus: Police

Stanly County announces its first case of coronavirus 

Stanly County Health Department reports its first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Stanly County. 

According to officials, this person is isolating at home and cooperating with public health officials. 

Stanly County Health Department staff are monitoring this person during the home isolation. Close contacts of this person are being identified to monitor symptoms and contain potential spread.

LabCorp announces ability to perform 20,000 tests per day

LabCorp just announced its ability to perform 20,000 tests per day, which doubles Its COVID-19 testing capacity in one week. The company is intently focused on making COVID-19 laboratory testing available to patients who are symptomatic and should be tested.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office suspends evictions

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is suspending its enforcement of court-ordered evictions until April 17, 2020. 

Sheriff McFadden said: “Removing people from their homes during this crisis is simply not in the best interest of our community or public safety. I hope that this temporary delay of evictions will provide some relief to those facing hardships as we weather this pandemic.”

North Carolina recruiting workforce doctors

There are at least 137 coronavirus cases across North Carolina.

State officials have reached out to every doctor in the state to recruit medical personnel to help with the response to COVID-19.

"People are a key resource – our doctors, nurses, janitors, transporters, respiratory therapists, and many more who work in health care," said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, who serves as the State Health Director and the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those who would like to volunteer during the COVID-19 response can go to http://volunteernc.org and click "disaster."

Dr. Tilson also said the testing of patients with mild symptoms will be deprioritized as they work to test patients with more severe symptoms.

"It is important to remember that the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and will recover at home," said Dr. Tilson.

David Tepper Foundation to contribute to CMS foundations COVID-19 relief fund 

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, the John M. Belk Endowment, and the David Belk Cannon Foundation announced a $1M gift to the CMS Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.  The gift will be used to purchase six thousand mobile hotspots with six months of prepaid internet services for students without access to home connectivity.

The David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation made a gift of $650,000. The John M. Belk Endowment contributed $250,000 and the David Belk Cannon Foundation contributed $100,000.

Catawba County announces first positive case of COVID-19

A resident in Catawba County has tested positive for coronavirus. County officials say the patient is hospitalized and in isolation. How the person acquired the infection is being investigated.

“We are conducting a thorough contact investigation to mitigate potential community spread,” said Catawba County Public Health Director Jennifer McCracken.

Mecklenburg County updates positive COVID-19 case number to 43

There are 11 new cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg Count. The Health Department now shows a total of 43 positive cases

UNCC commencement ceremony postponed

Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and based on current federal health guidance, UNC Charlotte’s May commencement ceremony will be postponed.

"We are incredibly proud of you and your academic accomplishments and know what an important milestone graduation is for you, your families, and your faculty members." - Philip L. Dubois

City of Morganton declares a State of Emergency

The declaration allows City Manager Sally Sandy to take proactive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including altering how City services are delivered to residents.

Morganton City Hall will be closed to the public beginning at 5 p.m. today, March 20, 2020. City Hall will remain closed to the public until further notice. All City facilities will be closed to the public until further notice.

Salisbury VA prohibits visitors

Effective immediately, the Salisbury VA Medical Center is prohibiting visitors for either inpatient or outpatient appointments and procedures. Exceptions are being made for compassionate cases, such as a person at or near the end of their life. Those decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Cleveland County reports first confirmed case of COVID-19

A Cleveland County resident has tested positive for novel coronavirus. The test, conducted by a commercial lab, is presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab.

County officials say the patient is doing well at home and is self-isolating. 

UPDATE: Officials later determined this person does not reside in Cleveland County. They were unable to tell WCNC Charlotte the county in which this patients lives.

Duke Energy waiving late fees for customers in addition to suspending disconnects

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas today announced a comprehensive set of steps to help customers, communities and employees manage the economic hardship caused by COVID-19.

The company will waive late payment fees and fees for returned payments for its millions of electric and natural gas customers across its service territories beginning Saturday March 21 until the national state of emergency is lifted. For residential customers, the company will also waive fees for credit and debit card payments.

SBA Approves Gov. Henry McMaster’s Request for Disaster Assistance

 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Governor Henry McMaster’s request for the agency to offer South Carolina’s small businesses with disaster assistance. Governor McMaster requested the disaster declaration in a March 17 letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.

The disaster declaration means that South Carolina’s small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 virus may qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans. All 46 counties are included in the disaster declaration.

Livingstone College student tests positive for COVID-19

Livingstone College announces that the Rowan County Health Department notified one student tested positive for coronavirus. The student is doing well and is self-isolating at home in accordance with the CDC's guidelines. The school is in the process of contacting anyone who had close contact with the student. 

The campus will be closed from Monday, March 23 through April 14, President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins announces. Everyone is advised to self-quarantine at home to prevent any spread of coronavirus. 

Samaritan's Purse opens COVID-19 field hospital in Italy

The 68-bed unit was airlifted to Italy on March 17 using the relief organization’s DC-8 cargo plane to provide critical surge capacity to an overwhelmed hospital. The tent facility began receiving patients as soon as it opened so that staff could begin helping Italians with urgent medical needs.

RELATED: 'We have community spread,' Mecklenburg County health director says

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