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Daily Updates from WHQR on closures, local, state and federal efforts and other developments in  the coronavirus battle.

RLH / WHQR

Help is on the way for small businesses and families – from the state and from federal stimulus checks.  But there’s more.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order to help people worried about paying bills on April 1st. 

WHQR/Nick Santillo

Because of COVID-19, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws, telling companies they won’t have to meet environmental standards during the outbreak. What does that mean for the Cape Fear Region?

Join us for this Wednesday's CoastLine for our third discussion on the impacts of the coronavirus. We’ll talk with local school officials and non-profits on how they’re dealing with the pandemic. Send your questions and comments to coastline@whqr.org.  

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As Covid-19 spreads, scientists and healthcare providers are worried about more than the physical health of Americans. Experts warn that people need to take care of themselves mentally, as well -- now more than ever. 

Vince Winkel

The Wilmington City Council unanimously expressed support for New Hanover County’s additional restrictions designed to control the spread of the coronavirus. They went into effect Monday.   The state-wide stay at home order closing all non-essential businesses also is now in effect.  

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North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is working with Amazon to investigate nine North Carolina businesses and sellers over price gouging concerns.  A press release says Stein was notified by Amazon that nine sellers had raised prices dramatically for items that have been in high demand during the coronavirus pandemic -- including hand sanitizer and N95 masks.

New Hanover County, in collaboration with the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, will be implementing additional county-wide restrictions that support the Governor’s statewide order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent the healthcare system from becoming overburdened in the weeks to come.  

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a statewide Executive Order.   It requires all North Carolinians to stay at home except for absolute necessities. 

NC DHHS

Coronavirus Edition #2.  So much has changed in a week.  Many more people are working from home – or not working at all.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has lowered the threshold for mass gatherings from 100 to 50.  He’s ordered more business closures – gyms, movie theaters, salons.  He’s extended public school closures to May 15th. 

Hedi Perotto

Nations across the world are imposing travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. On March 16, Germany closed its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Germany is where Hedi Perotto is. The Wilmington resident went there three weeks ago for a family reunion. 

As the coronavirus spreads in the Cape Fear Region, we’re learning more about how people are diagnosed and what treatment in isolation looks and feels like.

RLH / WHQR

As North Carolina sees the number of positive COVID-19 tests rise – now over 600 cases covering more than half of the state – officials continue to emphasize social distancing.  

Vince Winkel

The Chemours Company in Fayetteville has scaled back both well-sampling for PFAS and the installation of filtration systems because of the coronavirus. Chemours’ request to suspend those operations has been approved by The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. 

Rachel Keith

The North Carolina death toll from COVID-19 is now two.  In a recent media briefing, Governor Roy Cooper reminds people that these deaths are just the beginning.  

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Brunswick County leaders have issued a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RLH / WHQR

Widespread testing for COVID-19 is a strategy that works in the first phase of a pandemic – containment.  But that’s not where North Carolina health officials are now.  WHQR speaks with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Kamitsuka about what this mitigation phase means. 

RLH / WHQR

North Carolina’s strategy in the battle against COVID-19 is changing.  Widespread testing is no longer helpful.  As the state moves from containment to mitigation, health officials are prioritizing both testing and personal protective equipment.

Vince Winkel

The New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Physician Group has implemented some operational changes to protect patients, staff, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WHQR/Nick Santillo

The mission of Wilmington’s Good Shepherd Center is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and foster transition to housing. Today, those needs are more urgent than usual, as the coronavirus puts a strain on organizations that serve the less fortunate.

RLH / WHQR

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order that extends public school closures through May 15th and shuts down massage therapy, nail and hair salons, gyms, and movie theaters.  

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Brunswick County identified two more presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Saturday, bringing the total number of identified cases to six.

Brunswick County considers and responds to presumptive positive cases as if they were positive, even while awaiting official confirmation of results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vince Winkel

New Hanover County has issued a State of Emergency, prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people and closing public beach access points in order to ensure social distancing and reduce the risk of COVID-19. 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

As the Cape Fear region adjusts to Coronavirus precautions, each day brings a rise in the number of presumptive cases across the state.   But the narrow testing criteria makes it hard to measure the scope of infection in North Carolina.

Town of Wrightsville Beach

On Friday, March 20th, the Mayor and Board of Alderman of Wrightsville Beach declared a state of emergency for the Town. Until further notice, the order will remain in effect until March 31st. Wrightsville Beach Town officials say effective immediately the oceanfront beach strand and southside beaches are closed to residents and visitors. And, all Town restrooms will be closed.

Hannah Breisinger

Brunswick County has identified its second presumptive positive case of COVID-19. 

NC DHHS

As the coronavirus spreads across North Carolina, the battle moves into a new phase.  State officials say the response is no longer containment.  It's now mitigation. 

Vince Winkel

Businesses in the Cape Fear Region are facing an uncertain future, with many closing temporarily and some that may never recover. The U.S. Senate is racing to pass a trillion-plus dollar economic aid package. It is likely to include direct aid to individuals, and to small businesses in the form of long term no-interest loans to be paid back starting in 2021. 

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New Hanover County leaders have announced the county’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus. The person, who recently traveled internationally, is doing well, and isolating at home. They’re just one of many individuals who have received COVID-19 testing in the county.

courtesy CDC

The unprecedented move, just days ago, to cancel events that might draw more than 100 people came from an Executive Order out of the North Carolina Governor’s office.  This statewide mandate is now enforceable, yet it’s hardly the most extreme measure officials have taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19.  

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