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Easter storms sweep South, killing at least 19 people
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Strong storms pounding the Deep South have killed at least 19 people in Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina. Dozens more have been pulled from damaged buildings and taken to hospitals. Many states have been under flash flood, tornado and thunderstorm warnings and watches overnight. Around 750,000 customers are without electricity. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said when he declared a state of emergency that “this is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter.” The National Weather Service tallied hundreds of reports of downed trees, many puncturing roofs and damaging power lines. The storm front is moving now into the mid-Atlantic states.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-INMATE DEATH
Inmate dies, 80-plus others infected in his prison complex
BUTNER, N.C. (AP) – A 81-year-old inmate in North Carolina has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Charles Richard Rootes died Saturday after receiving treatment for over two weeks. He was diagnosed with the virus on March 26 after being taken to a hospital for respiratory failure. The News & Observer reports more than 80 people, including 22 employees, have been diagnosed with the virus in the prison complex that housed Rootes. Butner Prison Complex’s medium-security facility, which houses 641 men, currently has more than 40 inmates who have tested positive for the virus. There are 10 other confirmed coronavirus cases among inmates at Butner’s low-security facility.
BC-NC-BANK-SERVICE OUTAGE LAWSUIT
Bank’s lawsuit over service outage allowed to continue
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – BB&T Corp. will continue to a sue a software vendor in a federal North Carolina court over what it claims was a “catastrophic” outage that kept customers from using online banking services. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that federal Judge Catherine Eagles denied the vendor’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Friday. BB&T became Truist Financial Corp. in December after purchasing SunTrust Banks Inc. The vendor that’s being sued is Hitachi Vantara, which recently changed the name of the subsidiary to Hitachi Corp. LLC. The software firm is being accused of gross professional negligence over its hardware. But Hitachi says that BB&T failed to follow its operational advice.
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.