COVID-19 Novel CoronavirusInformation For Citizens & Visitors to North Carolina
North Carolina Remains in Safer At Home Phase 2, Statewide Requirement for Face Coverings Effective through 5:00pm, August 07
July 30 - NC Pandemic Recovery Office Disburses Additional $150 Million Of Federal Funds Allocated During Legislative Session
Governor Roy Cooper announced that an additional $150 million in federal funds provided for COVID-19 relief to counties has been disbursed this week. These funds are from the state-administered Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) that was passed by Congress. The funds represent the second half of $300 million appropriated by statute to county governments. Counties are required to offer a minimum of 25% of their total allocation of the funds to municipalities.
Though the federal government did not require that the state share any of the $3.56 billion in the CRF to North Carolina local governments, Governor Cooper’s COVID-19 budget proposal recommended $300 million be allocated to counties and municipalities. HB 1023/S.L. 2020-80, Section 3.3(2), appropriated the additional $150 million to county governments. The full distribution of funds is listed here by county. Counties and municipalities have been given instructions about how the funds may be used.
The CRF funds may be used for:
Medical needs including the COVID-19 related expenses of public hospitals and clinics, including testing;
Public health needs, such as personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, as well as the cost of cleaning public areas and facilities such as nursing homes;
Payroll expenses for public safety or health-care employees dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 emergency; and
Expenses to protect public health, including teleworking, distance learning, food delivery, paid leave for public employees, expenses for maintaining prisons, and protecting the homeless population.
Under state law, 97 counties received a base amount of $250,000, with more distributed by population. Three large counties—Guilford, Mecklenburg, and Wake—received funds directly from the federal government. This quick disbursement of funds was coordinated by the state Office of State Budget and Management and the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office (NC PRO).
NC PRO coordinates and oversees funds made available through federal and state COVID-19 recovery legislation, including the CRF. The office offers technical assistance for entities that receive funds and ensures proper reporting and accounting. The office will also work on the state’s economic recovery and strategic plan as North Carolina rebuilds from this pandemic.
For questions about how CRF funds may be used or to view Coronavirus Relief Funds County Plans, go to the NCPRO website for more information.
July 28, 2020 Update - Governor Roy Cooper Signs Executive Order No. 153 Limiting the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages After 11 pm
With actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 beginning to have impact, Governor Roy Cooper is doubling down on prevention measures with Executive Order 153 stopping the sale of alcoholic drinks in restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries at 11 pm. North Carolina bars that are currently closed will remain closed. This order will take effect Friday, July 31.
The order will not apply to grocery stores, convenience stores or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. Local governments that have implemented orders that end alcohol sales before 11 pm or that apply to other entities remain in effect.
July 14, 2020 Update - North Carolina Schools to Open this Fall
North Carolina K-12 Public Schools to Require Key Safety Measures to Allow In-person Instruction - Districts may choose to conduct school entirely by remote learning
North Carolina schools will open in the fall for both in-person and remote learning with key safety precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff and families.
This measured approach will allow children to attend but provide important safety protocols such as fewer children in the classroom, social distancing, face coverings, cleaning and more.
As a part of this plan, local school districts can provide a remote learning option for any child who chooses it. In addition, school districts will have the option of all remote learning – if that’s best for them.
Some of the requirements for schools under this plan:
- Face coverings will be required for every teacher, staff and student from kindergarten through high school.
- The state will be providing at least 5 reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and staff member.
- Schools will be required to limit the total number of people in the building so that 6 feet of distancing is possible, for example, when students are seated or in line. Districts and schools can use a plan that works for them – whether it’s alternating days or weeks or some other strategy.
- Symptom screenings, including temperature checks, will take place daily before children enter the school buildings.
- Schools must create a way to isolate students who have symptoms and ensure they can get home safely.
- Schedules must allow time for frequent hand washing and schools will regularly clean classrooms, bathrooms, buses and equipment.
- Teachers will work to limit sharing of personal items and classroom materials.
- Nonessential visitors and activities involving outside organizations will be limited.
In addition to these and other requirements, schools are strongly recommended to implement other safety precautions such as:
- One-way hallways and entrances
- Keeping students in small groups that stay together as much as possible
- Eating lunch in the classroom if the cafeteria won’t allow for social distancing
- Suspending activities that bring together large groups like assemblies
Public health experts and school leaders developed these safety rules to protect our students and teachers and their families. They have also developed detailed procedures for what will happen if a student or teacher tests positive.
If trends spike and in-person school cannot be done safely even with these safety protocols, then North Carolina will need to move to all remote learning.
NCDHHS launched new initiatives to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing across the state. Two new online tools can help people determine if they need to be tested and find a nearby testing place. Check My Symptoms (ncdhhs.gov/symptoms) helps those who feel uncertain about whether they should get tested. Find My Testing Place (ncdhhs.gov/testingplace) is a resource for anyone who needs to locate a testing site.
COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 143 to address these disparities. » READ EXECUTIVE ORDER 143
The order will:
Create the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental and Health Equity Task Force. The task force will focus on access to health care; patient engagement in health care settings; economic opportunities in business development and employment; environmental justice and inclusion; and education. NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders will lead the group of a diverse panel of experts, state agency leaders and community members of these five focus areas.
Directs the NC Pandemic Recovery Office to ensure that COVID-19 relief funds are fairly distributed. It also expands the capacity of our NC Historically Underutilized Business Office to provide those businesses access to opportunities and resources.
Directs NCDHHS, in partnership with community health centers, local health departments, rural health centers and free and charitable clinics, to provide COVID-19 testing and related health care to uninsured North Carolinians.
Provides direction for other state agencies.
NCDHHS COVID-19 Testing Sites
Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen also announced that DHHS now has a list of testing locations on the DHHS website. The list includes more than 200 sample collection sites in 54 counties, with more being added as they are verified. The list is comprised of health care providers, pharmacies and retail locations, local health departments and others that are providing testing for COVID-19. Some of the sites that are federally funded do not cost anything for the individual being tested. Doctors and clinicians may also provide testing at their offices.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance today on who should be tested for COVID-19
The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected. It also ensures the following populations have access to testing, regardless of symptoms:
- Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
- Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
- Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
- Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
- Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
- Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
- Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
"We want anyone who needs a test to get one. This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
Testing, along with contact tracing and supplies of personal protective equipment, is part of the state’s strategy to slowly ease restrictions, while protecting North Carolinians from COVID-19. The state is looking at a composite of metrics to guide its path forward, including the number of cases, the percent of tests that are positive, the number of hospitalizations and the number of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness. Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Cohen shared these metrics remain stable for the first week of Phase 1.
The new guidance updates testing criteria for the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. Those include hospitalized patients, health care workers or first responders, persons who live in or have regular contact with a high-risk setting, persons who are at higher risk of severe illness and for whom a clinician has determined that results would inform clinical management, and uninsured patients.
Staying home is still the best way to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect North Carolinians. When going out, remember the 3 Ws. Wear a face covering. Wait at least six feet apart. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
State of NC Launches New COVID-19 Web Portal
The State of North Carolina has launched a new COVID-19 web portal at nc.gov/covid19 in an effort to gather all the COVID-19 related information from a wide range of State agencies. The existing DHHS site at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus will remain, and its content is accessible from the new site.