COVID Vaccine Live Updates: Here���s What To Know In North Carolina On Oct. 18

By Hayley Fowler and

Simone Jasper

Click here for updates for Nov. 19.

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

Nearly 2,400 new cases reported

At least 1,512,478 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 18,562 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, Nov. 18 reported 2,392 new COVID-19 cases, up from 2,171 on Wednesday.

There were 48 coronavirus-related deaths added Nov. 18. Health officials don’t specify the dates on which newly reported deaths occurred.

At least 1,048 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Nov. 18, including 284 adults being treated in intensive care units, health officials said.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, the most recent date with available information, 5% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 72% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 68% have been fully vaccinated. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

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Red Ventures announces COVID vaccine requirements

Fort Mill-based media company Red Ventures will require all of its employees to be vaccinated by March 1, the company’s CEO said in an email to staff Thursday.

The announcement makes Red Ventures one of the first private companies in the Charlotte area to announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Under the requirement, medical and religious exemptions will be accepted but employees who do not wish to be vaccinated will not be allowed to opt into regular testing instead.

“We believe in leaving the woodpile higher than we found it,” CEO Ric Elias said in the email. “We believe in being the change we wish to see in the world. If we truly believe in both of those statements, then we should be doing everything within our power to make not just our offices but our communities safe places for people and business to return to.”

Cooper signs NC budget

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the state budget into law after months of negotiations with Republican leaders in the legislature.

The new budget will bring average raises of 5% over two years to teachers and other state employees, lowers individual income taxes and begins the process of phasing out the state’s corporate income tax, The News & Observer reported.

“Funding for high speed internet, our universities and community colleges, clean air and drinking water and desperately needed pay increases for teachers and state employees are all critical for our state to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever,” Cooper said in a statement. “I will continue to fight for progress where this budget falls short but believe that, on balance, it is an important step in the right direction.”

American Airlines drops some routes

American Airlines is dropping 27 routes nationwide after canceling thousands of flights in late October and early November, citing staffing shortages and bad weather.

Passenger numbers plummeted last year amid the coronavirus pandemic but air travel has largely recovered since then, The Charlotte Observer reported. Travel over the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to resume to pre-pandemic numbers.

Still, American plans to drop routes to Toledo, Ohio, and Champaign, Illinois, from the Charlotte airport. It’s also eliminating routes from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to three cities in the Carolinas — Asheville, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

American will additionally drop its route from Boston to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Several North Carolina Award honorees recognized for pandemic work

Nine people are set to be recognized Thursday with the highest civilian honor in North Carolina.

All three recipients of the 2020 North Carolina Award contributed to developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, The News & Observer reported. They are being honored with 2021 recipients after the coronavirus pandemic stopped last year’s ceremony.

Dr. Ralph S. Baric, Dr. Francis S. Collins and Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett are among those being honored.

The award is given to residents who made “significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service and science,” according to the N.C. Department of Cultural and Natural Resources.

NC college grant program expands

A grant program has expanded, allowing more North Carolina students to have money to go to community colleges.

Longleaf Commitment Grants are now available to give better access to education to 2020 and 2021 high school graduates, particularly those who were affected by the pandemic.

“Education translates into opportunity, and with this grant expansion, we are excited to provide more opportunity to our diverse student populations across the state,” wrote Thomas Stith III, president of the N.C. Community College System.

The system started the program this year after it “received $25 million through the Governor’s Pandemic Relief Office,” The News & Observer reported Thursday.

Transportation officers seen ‘out of compliance’ with mask mandate

Two security officers on a Charlotte Area Transportation System light-rail train were photographed without face masks.

The maskless officers were spotted on the LYNX Blue Line as the city requires its employers and contractors to follow face covering requirements. That includes Allied Universal, which is contracted to provide police personnel for the transportation system, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“The officers in the photo are certainly out of compliance with the mask mandate — and CATS’ enforcement of that mandate,” CATS spokesperson Juliann Sheldon said. “We’ve discussed the incident directly with Allied Universal. They are handling the mask violation directly with their personnel.”

RDU airport Thanksgiving travel could feel similar to pre-pandemic

Raleigh-Durham International Airport passengers could experience crowds around Thanksgiving, as holiday travel is expected to feel similar to the way it did before the pandemic.

“I know that a lot of folks either have not traveled or have traveled during the pandemic when there was a lot fewer customers,” RDU president Michael Landguth said. “There’s going to be a lot more people coming through.”

The week of Thanksgiving, an estimated 234,000 passengers will pass through the airport. While that’s about 53,000 fewer travelers than in 2019, it’s more than twice as many that traveled during the same period in 2020, after the start of the pandemic.

RDU is expecting the busiest travel day to be Nov. 28, when it could see about 44,000 passengers. People are urged to book parking spaces ahead of time and arrive at the airport two hours before their flights.

Wake teachers describe challenging school year

Teachers and teachers’ assistants have faced an uphill battle this academic year amid staffing shortages and people calling out sick, with many describing themselves as “exhausted,” “overworked” and “defeated” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“Employee morale is low,” Paula Wright, a special-education instructional assistant, told The News & Observer. “It’s sad to walk in some days and not knowing what we’re facing, not knowing who has called out.”

Teachers are reportedly not getting a free lunch period because they have to supervise children, and some teachers’ assistants are having to substitute for teachers who call out.

“Our students have been through a lot during the past year-and-a-half, and we’re trying to do our best to support them with their learning and with their mental health,” said Laurie Limbrick-Thompson, a Cary High School teacher. “They need us to be our best. They need us to be the positive guidance to help them through these challenging times. “But the more that gets piled on us, the more overwhelmed and frazzled we become. It’s becoming harder and harder to reach every student every day.”

Mecklenburg to close COVID shelter hotel

Mecklenburg County plans to close a hotel that provided a place to stay for people with no other housing options during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since March 2020, the shelter has offered rooms for COVID-19 patients or those who think they may have been exposed to the virus, The Charlotte Observer reported. As of Tuesday, one person was staying at the hotel.

The hotel, which costs about $300,000 to run each month, is set to close at the end of 2021. Mecklenburg County — which is home to Charlotte — said it has been working with partners to find other shelter options as many of its coronavirus case metrics improve.

“We have to normalize the ability of these shelters to be able to manage communicable disease, including COVID,” said Gibbie Harris, the county’s public health director. “Especially with these small numbers that we’re seeing, they should be able to accommodate a handful of people in their facilities where they can isolate and quarantine if needed.”

Raleigh festival draws fewer people than before COVID

The World of Bluegrass music festival returned in-person this fall, leaving a $5.7 million economic impact in the Raleigh area.

But the International Bluegrass Music Association’s latest event — which was held Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 — had fewer people than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to data published Wednesday.

This year, the music festival had about 101,000 attendees. That’s down from roughly 218,000 who went to the festival in 2019, according to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“No matter how you measure it, we are pleased with the 100% increase in attendance over 2020,” David Brower, executive director of PineCone, said in a statement. “Virtual was fun — but there’s no comparison to seeing the streets of downtown Raleigh filled with banjos, fiddles and smiling faces.”

Wake approves using COVID relief funds for bonuses

The Wake County school board voted to spend coronavirus relief money on bonuses for workers.

The plan — which received unanimous approval on Tuesday — uses $80.7 million in federal funds for $3,750 bonuses. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction also is expected to approve, The News & Observer reported.

The Raleigh-area district made the move as cafeteria workers and school bus drivers have protested salaries and working conditions with sickouts in recent weeks. Across the country, staffing shortages have led employees to do extra work.

In Statesville, Carrie Tulbert has driven a school bus while working as Oakwood Middle School principal.

“We all thought that schools would return as close to normal as possible,” Tulbert said. “But in August we got slammed with changes: contact tracing, masks, just so many things that were unexpected due to COVID.”

Mecklenburg to keep mask mandate as positivity rate slowly increases

As the COVID-19 positivity rate rises in Mecklenburg County, the area has moved away from meeting the threshold needed to end its face mask mandate.

The county, home to Charlotte, has seen the rate slowly go up in the past two weeks. The seven-day average as of Sunday was 6%, but the rate would have to be under 5% for an entire week to remove the mask requirement, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Health officials have urged people to get their COVID-19 shots and consider getting tested for the virus before holiday trips.

“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing across the country is numbers going up,” said Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County public health director. “I’m hoping that’s not what we see here in Mecklenburg County, but that is sort of the trend that we’re seeing right now.”

This story was originally published November 18, 2021 7:05 AM.

Source :

Wake County Public School System extends COVID-19 mask mandate but relaxes outdoor requirement


Wake County Public School System extends COVID-19 mask mandate but relaxes outdoor requirement

South Carolina nurse charged for allegedly making fake vaccine cards

Source:Yahoo News

South Carolina nurse charged for allegedly making fake vaccine cards

Virginia Dec. 1 COVID-19 update: 2,413 new cases reported; case average still around 1,500 per day


Virginia Dec. 1 COVID-19 update: 2,413 new cases reported; case average still around 1,500 per day