As the Coronavirus disease 2019 — or COVID-19 as it’s also called — spreads rampantly across the globe, the state of North Carolina and its residents continue to bear the impact. Whether directly or indirectly, we know that each of you is feeling the effects of this pandemic and that this is an especially challenging time.
We also acknowledge that there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion floating around related to announcements, government orders, and resources available to residents. In an effort to provide some clarity, we’ve put together the first of what we envision being a regular update on how NC is faring with COVID-19.
General updates on the virus
Reported cases: Click here for the latest statistics.
Testing should not be for all: While the NC State Laboratory of Public Health can test for COVID-19, state officials have announced that it is not necessary for everyone to receive a test. More information on what you should do if you think you have COVID-19 is available on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ (NCDHHS) website.
Unemployment rising fast: Some 113,000 NC residents filed for unemployment with the state’s Department of Employment Security in about the last week. Though the influx in web traffic has caused delays and hiccups, residents interested in applying for the benefit are encouraged to apply online at www.des.nc.gov.
SBA Disaster Loans available: All NC counties are covered under a disaster declaration granted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Interested applicants from affected businesses can apply for a low-interest SBA disaster loan by visiting disasterloan.sba.gov.
Additional guidance for businesses: NCDHHS has compiled a list of mitigation measures, executive orders, and FAQs online that may be valuable for business owners seeking counsel on all things related to COVID-19.
Closures and reductions
School closures: K-12 public schools across the state will remain closed through May 15, Gov. Cooper announced. That’s an extension beyond the original March 30 date put in place at the onset of the spread.
Gatherings of 50 or more banned: Cooper also banned gatherings of more than 50 people, additionally closing non-essential businesses like gyms and movie theaters. The new restrictions banning 50 people is an adjustment from the previous limitation, which was originally in place for more than 100 people.
Public transportation reduced: Public transportation leaders in the state’s major city centers have adjusted service to help slow the spread of the virus. Though the Charlotte Area Transit system’s bus and light rail services now include fewer rides, there is no charge to ride. Public-use buses in the Triangle also removed fares and are asking riders to use the back door.
Public spaces close: The U.S. Forest Service is closing all campgrounds and day-use areas throughout NC until at least May 15. Officials have also halted camping and picnicking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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