coronavirus coverage

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School will open for at least part-time in-person learning this year.  That’s the message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.  Despite the continued spread of Covid-19, state officials say the science shows keeping kids completely out of school is more dangerous than risks from the virus.  

RLH

Before the Coronavirus, independent living facilities could seem like an adventure cruise – meals in an elegant dining room, loads of social activities, and friendly people.  But in the age of Covid-19, life inside a retirement community carries strict new protocols.

The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina continues to rise. Thursday afternoon Gov. Roy Cooper addressed both the increase, and the issue of schools reopening. 

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 DHHS / RLH


  Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you’re out in public.  That’s the message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state officials watching the steady increase of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.  But there is not yet a statewide mandate.

Public schools in North Carolina will open for in-person classes in the fall if Covid-19 metrics trend in the right direction. 

NC DOA

Minorities in North Carolina are severely and disproportionately affected by Covid-19.  At his press conference Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order designed to address these inequities. 

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The first day of summer is almost upon us but for many kids in the North Carolina public school system, summer vacation started early.  In April, state education officials declared that elementary school students would not receive a final grade, middle school students would receive a pass or withdraw designation, and high school students get to choose how their grade appears on their transcript – either a numeric grade as of March 13th or a pass / withdraw mark. 

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As the North Carolina General Assembly passes a bill allowing bars to open outdoor seating, the number of Covid 19 hospitalizations in the state is at an all-time high. And that has Governor Roy Cooper pushing back at the notion of opening more and opening sooner. 

Dean Neff, Chef, Owner, Seabird in downtown Wilmington

Restaurant owners – the independent ones – often start their businesses because they are chefs – artists whose medium is food and drink.  As Governor Roy Cooper cautiously allows the state to move into Phase 2, they’re going to need all their creativity just to keep their businesses going. 

Vince Winkel

It was a holiday weekend and the official start of summer, and for residents of coastal Carolina it was back to beaches as usual. In two weeks or so, we’ll know if the celebration was premature. 

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.

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Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that Phase 2 of the reopening will begin Friday afternoon. Restaurants and salons will be able to open at a limited capacity, but bars, gyms, and movie theaters will remain closed. That isn’t what a lot of people had expected. 

Vince Winkel

A week into Phase 1 of re-opening, blue skies and sunshine brought shoppers out again in force this weekend. WHQR spent Saturday morning at the farmers market.

University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health and the Carolinas HealthCare System

The novel Coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at disproportionately high rates.   That’s according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

In North Carolina today, people of color face inequities that affect their health and their vulnerability to diseases like Covid-19.  CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data show that minorities now represent a disproportionate number of both Covid-19 cases and fatalities.  Social factors and implicit bias play a significant role. 

NOAA

Hurricane season officially starts June 1. And the 2020 Atlantic season is forecast to be more active than usual, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some are even calling for an “extremely active” season. New Hanover County is preparing for the worst. 

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

North Carolina is set to launch Phase One of its reopening 5 pm on Friday, May 8th.  There are four major metrics that state officials are watching to see how the Covid-19 pandemic is playing out in the state.  

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. 

Vince Winkel

At least anecdotally, it seems that a few months of isolation has triggered a need for human contact. Old friends are connecting after years of being out of touch.  Have you heard from an old friend lately? 

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.

NC DHHS

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is hopeful the state can move forward with its planned reopening by May 8th.  However, there are four indicators – or metrics – that state officials say must go in the right direction before they greenlight Phase 1.  

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Covid-19 is hitting people of color, especially African American communities, much harder than white communities.  The impact shows up as both a higher percentage of positive cases and a higher number of deaths from the disease.  But there’s also a different kind of price that people of color are likely to pay.

Starting Wednesday, April 29th, New Hanover County will offer free drive-through diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. The County will continue this service for four weeks, to help determine how the virus is affecting the Cape Fear Region. WHQR explains how the process will work.

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Physicians, obstetricians & gynecologists, and certified nurse-midwives all agree -- hospitals remain safe places to give birth during the coronavirus pandemic. But the virus is leading some pregnant women to consider alternative birthing options. WHQR checks in with some local moms-to-be and healthcare providers.

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