Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Legislative cafeteria worker tests positive for COVID-19
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The COVID-19 outbreak has reached into North Carolina’s Legislative Building, where a cafeteria employee tested positive for the virus. Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble wrote to legislative staff that the unidentified worker was sent home March 26 after showing symptoms and received the positive test result on Wednesday. The cafeteria closed Wednesday indefinitely for cleaning. Employees working with the person have been asked to self-quarantine. Coble said snack bars at the building and at an adjoining office building were being cleaned and expected to reopen Thursday for takeout only.
North Carolina man arrested for violating gathering order
TARBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been arrested after sheriff’s deputies who were responding to a call about a shooting found more than 70 people at a barn. News outlets report the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office responded to Bynum Drive in Pinetops in reference to shots fired into a residence. When deputies reached the scene, they saw vehicles leaving the area, and when they went to the back of the residence, they found more than 70 people, which is in violation of Gov. Roy Cooper’s order limiting gatherings. John Fitzgerald Taylor of Pinetops was charged last Saturday for violating the governor’s executive order.
Nearly 60 homeless people suspected, confirmed with virus
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Health officials in North Carolina say nearly 60 homeless people have either been suspected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, or have been exposed to someone who has. The Charlotte Observer reports Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris briefed members of the General Assembly on Thursday about the county’s response to COVID-19. She said 58 people – all but one who are homeless – are staying in a hotel leased by the county for people who have tested positive for the virus, display symptoms and are awaiting results, or have been exposed to someone with the virus and need somewhere to isolate.
North Carolina inmate killed in fight with fellow prisoner
HOOKERTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials say a North Carolina inmate has died after being stabbed with a weapon during a fight with another prisoner. WITN-TV reports that a North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman confirmed the attack happened around 4:30 p.m. in a housing unit at the Maury Correctional Institution in Hookerton. The victim has been identified as 75-year-old Charles Rogers. Officials said he was pronounced dead at the scene and the unit was placed on lockdown. The inmate accused of attacking Rogers wasn’t immediately identified. Law enforcement and the Department of Public Safety are investigating.
WOMAN SET ON FIRE
Police say North Carolina woman intentionally set on fire
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Investigators for a North Carolina police department say a woman was intentionally set on fire after a dispute. News sources reported on Thursday that officers with the Goldsboro Police Department responded to a call of an assault at a residence on Wednesday. When they arrived, officers found 38-year-old Latonya McCoy suffering from severe burns. McCoy was taken to a local hospital before she was transferred to the burn unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where she is listed om critical condition. An investigation is underway, but police have made no arrests so far.
Internet speeds dropped, then rebounded, in some cities
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – As more people work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, internet speeds slowed down last month across the state of North Carolina. But the Raleigh News & Observer reported Wednesday that speeds are rebounding in some cities. For example, Charlotte and Raleigh saw median download speeds drop at least 20%. Winston-Salem experienced one of the largest drops in the nation. Its median speed fell 41%. But in the past week, some of North Carolina’s cities have begun to see speeds increase. Raleigh resumed its normal range of speeds. And Winston-Salem saw one of the largest improvements in the country with a nearly 40% jump. Charlotte continued to see a slow down.
AP-NC-BILTMORE ESTATE-TEMPORARILY CLOSES
Biltmore Estate temporarily shutters, furloughs workers
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina is furloughing 2,200 employees after temporarily closing its doors because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Wednesday that the 8,000-acre estate hadn’t closed its doors since World War II. It first opened to the public in 1930. The 250-room chateau was built by businessman George Vanderbilt in the late 19th Century. It anchors an estate that is home to a winery, hotels, restaurants and a working farm. The estate opened as a tourist attraction during the Great Depression as a way to help the area economically. These days the estate typically draws about 1.4 million visitors a year.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHARLOTTE-AFRICAN AMERICANS
Data: Virus impact disproportionate for blacks in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Heath officials observing COVID-19 in North Carolina’s largest city say demographic data showed African Americans are being disproportionately affected. The Charlotte Observer reports that data from Mecklenburg County shows black residents accounted for 43.9% of 303 confirmed COVID-19 cases locally through Saturday. By comparison, the U.S. Census estimates from last July show African American áresidents make up only 32.9% of Mecklenburg County’s population. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Mark Jerrell said the numbers are alarming, and it’s something officials have to get under control immediately. As of Wednesday, Mecklenburg County reported 444 cases of coronavirus.