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Friday coronavirus updates: COVID-19 testing has increased by 88 percent over last two weeks

For immediate questions, call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — WFMY News 2 is providing daily coronavirus updates with the latest information from emergency leaders, the state's task force, health departments, universities, school districts and a lot more.  

APRIL 17, 2020

4:45 p.m. - Publix announced new shopping hours at 7:00 a.m. dedicated to first responders and hospital staff. Publix Pharmacy will also be open during these times.  

4:30 p.m. -  Cone Health will delay plans to reorient Wesley Long Hospital to care for COVID-19 patients until further notice. 

This is being done in order to first fill the Green Valley Campus (formerly Women’s Hospital) with patients who have COVID-19 before expanding into other hospitals. The intent is to consolidate patients making it safer for patients, physicians and staff.  

4:00 p.m. - Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) is keeping girls connected from across their 40-county region and beyond with their new virtual programming options. 

Every Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Saturdays at 11 a.m., Girl Scouts and anyone interested can tune into Facebook Live workshops with topics ranging anywhere from STEM and gardening to life skills and family game night. They even host a weekly campfire on Thursday evenings. Interested families who want to learn more can register for a Virtual Open House by visiting https://bit.ly/3c7gOPb.   

3:30 p.m. - The N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Division received numerous health safety calls.

No citations have been issued since March 1, 2020, as investigations started during this time period are still open.

Each complaint is investigated to determine whether a violation of safety or health standards occurred. Keep in mind there is currently no occupational safety and health standard concerning COVID-19, but pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina, it is the employer’s duty to provide each employee with a “place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious injury or serious physical harm to his employees.” N.C. General Statute § 95-129. Rights and duties of employers.

3:15 p.m. - NCAT offers virtual campus tours.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has made several innovative changes to accommodate current and prospective students. With the threat of COVID-19 looming over the nation and N.C. A&T operating within social distancing protocol, the university is now hosting virtual campus tours, open houses and implemented a new chat feature to answer general questions. Tours are available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. More information is available via the Admissions Campus Tour Calendar. 

3:00 p.m. - The Greensboro Virus Relief Taskforce is pleased to announce $344,925 has been granted to 18 local nonprofits providing services to people impacted by the Coronavirus. 

Over the past three weeks, the Taskforce has granted a total of $1,345,138 to 58 local nonprofits helping thousands of individuals and families.

The latest round of funding was granted to the following nonprofits addressing the following priority areas:

Business Disruptions

  • B Natural Academy: $13,000
  • Community Housing Solutions: $34,850
  • Elon University School of Law: $25,313
  • Gate City Legal Services: $25,055
  • HORSEPOWER: $5,275

Employment 

  • Church World Service : $21,250
  • Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc.: $13,739
  • The Arc of Greensboro: $23,400

Food Insecurities 

  • A Simple Gesture: $18,000
  • Black Child Development Institute: $7,500
  • Montagnard Dega Associates: $9,775
  • The Volunteer Center of the Triad: $15,000

Housing Vulnerabilities

  • Ford Inc.: $3,250
  • Greensboro Housing Coalition: $63,750
  • Piedmont Health Services & Sickle Cell Agency: $14,840
  • Tiny House Community Development: $13,000

Healthcare Access

  • Guilford Community Care Network: $28,000
  • LifeSpan Inc.: $9,928 

2:45 p.m. - North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has incorrectly reported Surry County’s number of laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 as 16 cases. 

There are only 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Surry County as of 1 p.m.

In an effort to validate lab equipment, there were test patient labs submitted through a local healthcare facility to LabCorp. There were five positive test labs and five negative test labs submitted. The test labs were counted toward the County’s laboratory-confirmed case count mistakenly.

Surry County Health and Nutrition Center apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.

2 p.m. - Gov. Cooper and the North Carolina coronavirus task force held a press briefing. Testing has increased by 88 percent in the last two weeks, and state officials said they want to continue to ramp up testing before making decisions on when to ease up on certain restrictions. There was no update on the stay-at-home order or schools. Here are more notes from the press conference:

  • Testing has increased by 88 percent over the last two weeks, but it needs to be more widespread, Cooper said. 
  • North Carolina is partnering with UNC, ECU, and Duke to research and better understand how the coronavirus is spreading.
  • Cooper said the federal government has helped with supplies, but it's still not enough. 
  • 13 state labs and hospitals have performed at least 73,000 tests. 
  • On tracing, they're deploying groups to hotspots. 
  • He understands people are anxious to know when certain restrictions will be lifted, but we're still trying to get an understanding of where we're at with the virus. That will come with testing, tracing, and trends. 
  • State officials are creating a testing surge workgroup tasked with increasing testing at labs. 
  • Testing supply challenges are easing somewhat, but we are not out of the woods. 
  • The state plans to test 700 inmates at Neuse Correctional Facility. They've tested around 400 so far, and nearly 200 tests came back positive for COVID-19. 
  • Cooper wants to increase testing in congregate areas, even if people aren't showing symptoms. For example, in nursing homes or in prisons. 
  • Cooper said he's feeling better every day with where they are on testing. We mostly need PPE from the federal government so that testing can happen. 
  • Cooper said they've been on the phone with business leaders, particularly restaurant and bar owners, to get their perspective on what they would like to see once restrictions are lifted. 
  • Some antibody testing is happening in North Carolina, but NCDHHS officials said to stay tuned for more information on that subject. 
  • Cooper is pushing congress to replenish the Small Business Administration's loan program so more small businesses can get help. 

1:00 p.m. - Truckers feeding event in Mebane. About 400 truck drivers will be feed during the event. 

12:00 p.m. - Forsyth County Sheriff's Office hosts spontaneous parade in the Kernersville / Walkertown area. 

11 a.m. - Twenty-one new coronavirus-related deaths were reported statewide bringing the total to 152. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services daily coronavirus numbers report we now have 5,859 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, nearly 400 more cases since yesterday. 

RELATED: Coronavirus in the Piedmont Triad: County case updates

7:45 a.m. - Join our digital newscast AFTER GMS. Is it time for some North Carolina beaches to reopen? Some Florida beaches are doing it.

Friday news to note: 

FACTS NOT FEAR

Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT 

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS

NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE 

The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.

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