NC coronavirus update September 29: Wake County Schools to talk transitioning students back to the classroom on Tuesday

RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the…

RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

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3:35 p.m.
Moore County health officials are reporting five more deaths from COVID-19. One death was a resident at Accordius Health at Aberdeen and another death was a resident of Magnolia Gardens. There have been 34 Moore County COVID-19 deaths with 20 linked to long-term care facilities.

The health department has also identified a new COVID-19 cluster at Magnolia Gardens in Southern Pines. Six staff members and 19 residents tested positive for the virus.

1:49 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 1,040 positive COVID 19 cases, which include 15 new cases. In all, 19 people have died countywide of COVID-19 complications.

1:25 p.m.
In a statement on its COVID-19 dashboard, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said technical issues prevented some data files from being processed, leading to a low number of new COVID-19 cases and tests in North Carolina.

The state reported 889 new COVID-19 cases and 13,346 more completed tests, including 104 antigen tests and 13,242 molecular tests. 49 more people have died from COVID-19.

As of Sunday, 6% of tests are positive — the highest the metric has been in three weeks.

Currently, 950 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 with 97% of hospitals reporting. In the last 24 hours, 285 suspected COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospitals statewide.

1:23 p.m.
The Sampson County Health Department reports 15 new cases, bringing the total to 2,302 positive cases of COVID-19. There have been 27 deaths in the county.

10:15 a.m.
Wake County is launching House Wake! COVID-19 Eviction Prevention Program to help people struggling with paying rent during the pandemic.

The county has committed up to $17 million dollars of CARES Act funding and hopes to prevent an estimated 3,000 households from being evicted.

For those who qualify, the program aims to pay 50% of back rent owed from March to December of 2020. In return, landlords will forgive the remaining 50% of rent payments owed in 2020, discount rent by 25% from January to March and agree not to evict a tenant receives help.

“Eviction is a harsh reality that many in our community are facing right now due to no fault of their own,” Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford said. “Through this new program, we can mediate relationships with landlords and help more than 3,000 households remain in their homes.”

The program passed the Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously.

“This is to give our renters a little financial breathing room. Give them a chance to kind of get financially back on their feet, get back into paying and hopefully our economic situation will be a bit more improved by then,” Wake County Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Deputy Director Edward Barberio said.

In order to qualify for the program, you must rent a property in Wake County, have suffered financially from COVID-19 and not currently be receiving other rental assistance, such as Section 8. You can see if you qualify on Wake County’s website.

TUESDAY MORNING STORYLINES

Wake County Public School System is expected to vote on a proposal that would bring students back to the classroom on Tuesday. The proposal includes a three-week in-person rotation for Pre-K through fifth grade and K-12 regional programs starting on Oct. 26. Grades 6 through 12 would start a three-week rotation on Nov. 9 and Pre-K through fifth grade would return to daily in-person learning on Nov. 16.

The board is emphasizing wearing masks and social distancing and should elaborate on new policies in the proposal. The board meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Orange County Schools leaders did not come to an agreement about its transition to Plan B at a meeting on Monday. The Chatham County Board of Education will also meet Tuesday night.

MONDAY
9:50 p.m.
Cumberland County education officials announced Monday night that employees at Lewis Chapel Middle and Seventy-First High will telework from Wednesday through Friday due to some positive COVID-19 cases in staff. This will allow time for the deep cleaning and sanitizing of school buildings.

The CCS Health Services Department is working closely with the Cumberland County Department of Public Health to personally contact individuals who may have been exposed and will continue to follow the appropriate protocols.

5:30 p.m.
Wake County announced a new free COVID-19 testing site Monday.

The new drive-thru testing site will run from Wednesday, Sept. 30 to Saturday, Oct. 3. at 907 Gateway Commons Circle in Wake Forest.

Appointments can be made online in half-hour intervals from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

4 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting a total of 184,422 are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19. That’s 8,000 more than last week.

3:25 p.m.
Sampson County health officials are reporting 29 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,287. There have been 27 county deaths to date.

2:40 p.m.
North Carolina health officials have updated their guidance on nursing home visitation.

Officials said indoor visitation will be allowed in nursing homes with no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and in counties with a percent positive testing rate of less than 10 percent.

“We have focused on protecting the health of nursing home residents since the start of this crisis. Our progress in testing, infection control and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities allows us to move forward with safe indoor visitation in accordance with federal guidance,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
12:07 p.m.
The Lee County Health Department has confirmed a 15th death from COVID-19. The person had been hospitalized at Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford.

“We offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual and ask the community to keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” said Heath Cain, LCG Health Director. “This highly contagious virus remains a serious risk to public health and safety and we encourage the public to continue following guidance that includes wearing a mask in public, watching your distance to remain 6 feet or more away from others, and washing hands thoroughly and frequently.”

Individuals feeling sick are reminded to please stay home and away from others; call your health care provider who is able to help assess your symptoms and provide additional guidance regarding testing and treatment.

There will be a drive-thru community COVID-19 testing event taking place this Saturday, October 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at WB Wicker Elementary School, 806 South Vance St. in Sanford. Please register by calling (919) 542-4991, ext. 1015 for English and ext. 1016 for Spanish. Please call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

12 p.m.

North Carolina health officials are reporting 868 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total to 208,248. The amount of positive tests is 5.3%, level with the numbers from recent weeks.

With 96 percent of hospitals reporting, there are 897 hospitalizations throughout North Carolina, 20 fewer than Sunday’s number.
Throughout the state, 558 ICU beds and 6,064 inpatient beds are empty.

NC Department of Health and Human Services said an additional 24,121 tests were completed, bringing the total to 2,999,853. Monday’s report also showed four more COVID-19-related deaths.

For more statistics, check the state’s Health and Human Services Department COVID-19 dashboard.

MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES

Some Johnston County Public Schools students are returning to school this morning. Special education students and pre-schoolers will be back for in-person learning. Students will attend class every day except Wednesdays when schools will be closed for cleaning. Kids will be screened when they enter the building and sanitize their hands when coming into the classroom. Other students will have a staggered reopening throughout October.

In Harnett County, students will also return for in-person learning. Students will be on two different schedules with alternating days. Families have the option to continue all-online learning.

Orange County Schools are meeting on Monday to talk about their next steps toward reopening. Wake County Public School System leaders could vote on a plan to return to the classroom as soon as this week.

Durham Public Schools students are staying online through the rest of the semester. DPS Families can continue online instruction through the DPS Ignite Online Academy or go back to socially distant in-person instruction (“Plan B”). DPS is starting registration for Ignite Online Academy on Monday.

India has surpassed 6 million COVID-19 cases just 12 days since crossing 5 million cases. India is second to the U.S. in cases. In the U.S., there were more than 7,115,000 cases according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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