Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Over 50 new coronavirus cases confirmed at nursing home
PITTSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Officials say testing has confirmed just over 50 additional cases of COVID-19 at a North Carolina nursing home with a coronavirus outbreak. Chatham County said in a news release Sunday that all residents and staff of The Laurels of Chatham were tested for COVID-19 after six people associated with the facility had previously tested positive. The results showed an additional 51 individuals had the virus. The development comes as data from the state show there are 28 ongoing outbreaks in nursing homes across the state. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases. North Carolina’s total number of cases continued to rise Sunday.
Easter storms sweep South, killing at least 6 in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Strong storms pounding the Deep South have killed at least six people in south Mississippi and damaged up to 300 homes and other buildings in northern Louisiana. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Sunday night. The National Weather Service said large parts of the South remain at risk of severe weather. Much of the region was under flash flood, tornado and thunderstorm warnings and watches overnight and around 750,000 people were without power in a 10-state swatch. The weather service advised thunderstorms would shift across the southeast and mid-Atlantic states Monday, bringing potential tornadoes, wind and hail.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHURCH-EARLY EASTER
Church displaced by virus moves Easter service to beat storm
CLOVER, S.C. (AP) – The coronavirus has pushed the members of Relevant Church in Clover, South Carolina, out of their usual church setting. Impending bad weather made the church hold its Easter Sunday service on Saturday. Nearly 300 people pulled up in cars, SUVs and trucks to listen to Pastor Matt McGarity’s sermon on an FM radio station. Vehicles were carefully spaced apart and the congregation was asked to stay inside them – but many used horns and hazard lights to cheer on the message. Member Kelly Hills said the congregation felt the evening was like “any Easter morning. Joyful, expectant, hopeful.”
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PRICE GOUGING
$100 toilet paper roll among NC price gouging complaints
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina attorney general’s office has received over a thousand coronavirus-related price gouging complaints. Among them: a Facebook marketplace seller asking $100 for a roll of toilet paper. TV station WTVD reports of the approximately 1,200 complaints made since a state of emergency was declared and the price gouging law went into effect, 54 percent involve grocery items. Consumers also reported being charged too much for hand sanitizer, cleaning products and face masks. Attorney General Josh Stein’s office says it is investigating nine North Carolina-based sellers on Amazon. Those sellers are accused of raising prices on coronavirus-related products by more than 40 percent.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TESTING WILD WEST
Fears of ‘Wild West’ as COVID-19 blood tests hit the market
WASHINGTON (AP) – Blood tests for the coronavirus could play a key role in helping Americans return to work and school. But public health officials warn that the current “Wild West” of tests on the market is creating confusion among patients and doctors. Under an emergency policy, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed dozens of companies to launch blood tests for COVID-19 that haven’t been reviewed. Some companies are falsely claiming that their products are “FDA approved.” Other products may have accuracy problems that local officials say could result in faulty results. Right now, the tests are most useful for researchers studying how the virus has spread through the U.S population.
Coast Guard: Man rescued from disabled sailboat off NJ
CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP) – Coast Guard officials say a man was rescued from a disabled sailboat off the coast of New Jersey after another vessel heard his distress call. The tanker vessel Hellas Poseidon reported at 5:15 pm. Friday that the crew had overheard a distress call and spotted smoke that led them to the 25-foot sailboat Serena about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Cape May. Officials said the boat was taking on water and had damaged communications following an electrical fire in heavy seas. A plane and helicopter were sent and a rescue swimmer met the man in the water and hoisted him to safety.
BIRD FLU OUTBREAK
Industry scrambles to stop fatal bird flu in South Carolina
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An infectious and fatal strain of bird flu has been confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in northeast South Carolina, the first case of the more serious strain of the disease in the United States since it was reported in a Tennessee chicken flock in 2017. A less severe strain of bird flu had been detected along the North Carolina and South Carolina state recently but the case in Chesterfield County, South Carolina discovered on Monday was found to be a more fatal and easily spread strain. More than 32,000 turkeys in the flock were euthanized. The USDA confirmed it Thursday.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOL MEALS
Schools struggle to safely get free meals to needy students
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Schools that feed millions of children from low-income families across the U.S. promised to keep providing meals during the coronavirus pandemic. But cities big and small quickly ran into problems when food workers, teachers and volunteers became infected or were too scared to report for duty. Some districts have been forced to suspend their programs altogether. That’s left families who are already struggling more desperate. After a more than weeklong shutdown in Houston, schools in the nation’s fourth-largest city made changes to reduce risks. The district started giving out enough food to last for several days in fewer locations.