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January 4, 2021
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January 4, 2021
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record high in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – COVID-19 hospitalizations and test positivity rates both are reaching record highs in North Carolina. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Sunday there were a record-high 3,576 people hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s according to data reported by 95% of the state’s hospitals. Two weeks ago, there were 2,783 people hospitalized with the virus. That’s a difference of 793 people. On Friday, the last day for which data is available, the state’s health department says 13.6% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. That brought the seven-day average of daily testing results to 14.2%, the highest rate since at least April.



North Carolina reports its highest daily cases of COVID-19
North Carolina has reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases so far during the pandemic. The state reported 9,527 confirmed cases New Year’s Day. That went over the state’s previous high by more than 1,000 cases. On Saturday, the state’s health department reported 9,356 cases. Cases for two days were released by the health department on Saturday. The last two days of reporting raised the number of cases in the state by a total of more than 18,800. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 558,437 cases during the pandemic.



Newby takes oath as 30th NC Supreme Court chief justice
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Paul Newby is now on the job as head of North Carolina’s judicial branch. Newby took the oath for chief justice of the state Supreme Court early Friday at a small ceremony at his home. Newby has been on the court since 2005 and most recently was senior associate justice. Newby was elevated to the top position after defeating Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by just 400 votes in the November election. Newby will participate in a public swearing-in ceremony next week. Two other new associate justices are joining the court following their election victories – Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr.



Humanitarian group to build field hospital in North Carolina
LENOIR, N.C. (AP) – A humanitarian group is building a 30-bed field hospital to help treat COVID-19 patients in western North Carolina. Samaritan’s Purse, which is led by the Rev. Franklin Graham, said construction on the field hospital will begin Friday in Lenoir. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that officials expect the hospital to take 48 hours to construct and will be ready to treat patients next week. The temporary facility will be used to treat patients from five health systems in the region, which has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.



Wilson picked as next NC natural, cultural resources chief
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The chief deputy at North Carolina’s department that operates parks, protects natural areas and preserves state history is being elevated to the agency’s top position. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that Reid Wilson will be secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources entering his second term. He’ll succed Susi Hamilton, who announced three weeks ago her departure. Wilson is subject to state Senate confirmation. He was executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina before taking the chief’s deputy post in 2017. Vacancies for at least four other Cabinet positions also must be filled by Cooper.



Court: NC domestic violence order rule harms LGBT people
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court says domestic violence protection orders issued by judges must be granted to someone trying to stay apart from a same-sex dating partner, just like in opposite-sex relationships. A divided Court of Appeals on Thursday declared as unconstitutional current law expressly limiting such restraining orders upon dating couples to those of the opposite sex. The ruling stemmed from a Wake County case in 2018 involving two women. A local judge said she couldn’t issue a domestic violence protection order, citing the law’s language. The ruling could be appealed. North Carolina appears to be the only state with such expressed limits.



Appeals court sides with baseball team over foul ball injury
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court has ruled in favor of a baseball team that was sued after a foul ball struck an 11-year-old girl in the face. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday that the North Carolina Court of Appeals sided with the Durham Bulls because of a long-held legal precedent known as the “baseball rule.” The rule holds that teams are not liable for injuries if they have offered some protected seating to fans. In 2015, Angelina DeBlasio was sitting on a picnic bench when a foul ball struck her. She had surgery to correct dislocated teeth and broken bones. The court wrote that she and her family knew of the dangers of foul balls.



More than 10,000 North Carolina students unaccounted for
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – At least 10,000 North Carolina public school students are unaccounted for amid the coronavirus pandemic. A recent report from the state’s Department of Public Instruction estimates the whereabouts of less than 1% of the roughly 1.5 million students in the state system is unknown. The pandemic has upended the way students learn. Parents across the state having the option to have their kids learn remotely. Most students are taking at least part of their classes in person. Social workers, truancy officers and counselors are working to track down every student whose whereabouts are still unknown.



AP-WF-01-04-21 1120GMT