Coronavirus

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  At his Tuesday afternoon press conference, Governor Roy Cooper announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. WHQR reports Phase 2.5 of his safer-at-home policy will go into effect this Friday, September 4th at 5 P.M.   

WHQR files

Over the weekend, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington identified its third COVID cluster on campus. On Monday night, that number grew to four. As a graduate student, I was able to get a firsthand look at the university's testing process. 

Two Covid Clusters Arrive At UNCW

Aug 28, 2020
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The University of North Carolina-Wilmington has identified two clusters of COVID-19 in campus dorms. 

It wasn't entirely unexpected. 

https://www.ncdps.gov/storm-update


  As the number of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina continues to stabilize, WHQR has details on the Governor’s new budget proposal.      

UNCW Twitter

Coronavirus clusters are popping up on college campuses across the nation. WHQR spoke with UNCW students about the risks of campus life.  

ncdps.gov/UNC TV

  At his Wednesday, August 19th press conference, Governor Roy Cooper announced the metrics the state uses to determine the severity of the coronavirus are stable, and some are even declining. As WHQR reports, he also pledged $12 million dollars to expand Internet services across the state.

As college students return to campus for the fall semester, COVID cases in dorms are on the rise, and faculty and employees on UNC campuses are expressing fear for their safety. 

Ending Saturday, August 8th, this past week’s top stories include Hurricane Isaias blowing through the Cape Fear region and the on-going question of how to reopen schools safely durng a global pandemic. Take a listen below.

For ongoing reporting and coverage on COVID-19, as well as a case tracker, go here.

For an up-to-date list of resources available to our community during the coronavirus outbreak, go here

Gathered below are general updates on closures, openings, local, state and federal efforts and other developments in the coronavirus battle.   

NHCS


 Almost 4 out of 10 New Hanover County School teachers say they have personal issues that prevent them from working face-to-face with students. That’s according to a newly released survey by the school system. But as WHQR’s reports, New Hanover County has chosen to implement Governor Roy Cooper’s Plan B, which involves all staff returning in-person.   

Vince Winkel

At his Covid-19 press conference on Wednesday, June 24, Governor Roy Cooper announced his decision to extend Phase II restrictions and require mandatory masks in public places. Meanwhile, Wilmington has launched an initiative which allows businesses on some streets to move off the sidewalk and on to the street to serve customers during specific hours.

Vince Winkel

The Downtown Alive initiative kicked off last night in Wilmington as sections of downtown were closed to traffic to allow restaurants and stores to expand on to sidewalks and streets. 

NC.gov

At his Covid-19 press conference on Wednesday, June 24th, Governor Roy Cooper announced his decision to extend Phase II restrictions and require mandatory masks in public places.

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In early April, WHQR spoke with a Wilmington native working as an ER nurse on the frontlines of the pandemic. We recently followed up with Michael—that's not his real name—to see how life in the ER has changed. 

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Colleges and universities are working out how to welcome students back to fall classes while balancing the health risks and financial pressures of the pandemic.  WUNC's Liz Schlemmer and Dave Dewitt have this special report.

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It’s been a tough year in the world of municipal finance -- with the pandemic making it difficult if not impossible to predict how the economic crisis will affect localities. Nonetheless, the Wilmington City Council will vote Tuesday, June 16 on whether or not to adopt its proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives -- and mental health is no exception. According to a national survey across ten states, therapists are reporting increases in a variety of mental health issues as the pandemic drags on.

Vince Winkel

On Friday morning Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo announced several changes effective at 5 p.m. Friday as part of the next phase of the city’s State of Emergency Declaration. UPDATE:  Under the revised order breweries, wineries and distilleries will be permitted to re-open, provided they comply with reduced capacity and social distancing requirements.

Nick Santillo


Wilmington leaders have passed a resolution authorizing the City Manager to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic-related grant. The funds -- nearly $235,000 -- would be used by the Wilmington Police Department to buy equipment: ultraviolet lights for sterilization, first aid kits, and eight drones.

healthcare.gov

The economic fallout from the coronavirus and the resulting  increase in unemployment could dramatically impact people’s access to health coverage. WHQR reports on how people can navigate their options during the pandemic.

RLH / WHQR

New Hanover County officials presented the proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st at a meeting Monday morning.   With the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the beginning of what could be an above-average hurricane season, there is no proposed tax increase.  

Hannah Breisinger


As North Carolina and local governments continue to ease COVID-19 shutdown restrictions, leaders and health experts stress that we’re not in the clear yet. And, with so much uncertainty ahead, the Red Cross says blood donations are still critical.

RLH / WHQR

By May 12th, North Carolina was four days into Phase 1 of the reopening process.  Governor Roy Cooper says he’s encouraged by the initial numbers, but those pushing for earlier relaxation of restrictions are up against Cooper’s reliance on what he calls “data, facts and science.”

Town of Carolina Beach

Police, EMS, and other local government frontline workers are deemed essential personnel and need to continue to work during the pandemic. But what happens if they contract the virus on the job? WHQR reports on the resources available to them.

Vince Winkel

On Friday, Phase 1 of North Carolina’s coronavirus recovery plan went into effect. That meant that retail businesses across the state could begin to reopen.  A lot of shoppers were out this weekend.

RLH / WHQR

Depending on which grocery store you visit in the Cape Fear region, some employees might wear face coverings.  Some might not.  Costco is a notable exception in requiring some kind of nose and mouth covering for both employees and customers.  But as WHQR uncovered, the variance might be due to a common misunderstanding about the mask’s purpose. 

Nick Santillo for WHQR

Friday at 5 p.m. Phase 1 of Governor Roy Cooper’s reopening plan will take effect. The biggest change is that a wider range of retail stores will be allowed to open. Stores will still need to limit shoppers to 50% of capacity, and maintain sanitary and social distancing. This phase is set to last for at least two weeks. 

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 At its Tuesday, May 5 meeting, Wilmington’s City Council extended its state of emergency order until Friday, May 8 at 5 PM. At that time, Phase 1 of Governor Cooper’s reopening plan will take effect.

Natalie Tuinstra is a graduating senior at Wilmington's Hoggard High School. She’s taking five AP classes, and, like every other kid in America right now, she’s learning remotely.

If nothing else, coronavirus is teaching us how to live remotely, work and learn remotely, and perhaps even go to the doctor...online. WHQR looks into how telehealth or telemedicine is already changing healthcare.

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