NC coronavirus update July 21: Governor Roy Cooper to hold news briefing on COVID-19 in North Carolina at 2 pm today – WTVD-TV

RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper said at a media briefing that those who refuse to wear masks in public places are “selfish.” Cooper said wearing a mask is not only the best way to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus but is also the best way to help pave the way for economic recovery.

Cooper applauded major retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s and Costco, as well as small businesses for requiring customers and staff to wear masks. Though daily case numbers have not decreased since the state’s mask mandate went into effect ahead of the July 4 weekend, Cooper said he and health officials believe that as more people comply with the mask order, the state will begin to see a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

“What you’re doing when you wear it is protecting other people around you, your family, strangers,” Cooper said.

Additionally, Cooper announced that the state would provide more than 900,000 face masks to farm workers across the state.

“We must keep food in our grocery stores and on our tables,” Cooper said. “To do that, we must help protect the farmers and their families from the virus.”

In her comments, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen recognized the continuing delay in testing turnaround times not just in North Carolina, but across the country. Cohen said health leaders are working to ameliorate these delays on a number of fronts, including pairing testing sites with labs that do have supplies and capacity available, buying additional lab capacity, and using other diagnostic test methods such as antigen testing, which tests for specific markers of the virus and typically has a much faster turnaround time.

Additionally, Cohen said a change in guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may alleviate some of the burden on laboratories processing COVID-19 tests. While a COVID-19-positive patient previously needed a negative test result in order to end their isolation period, Cohen said the CDC now recommends those with mild symptoms will only need to isolate for 10 days, and can resume normal activities once they haven’t had a fever or other symptoms for a number of days.

Both Cohen and Cooper said North Carolina will need federal assistance and leadership, as well as a more coordinated federal strategy, to get additional testing supplies to the state.

In addition, both Cohen and Cooper noted that the state passed 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, and urged North Carolinians to continue to do what they can to slow the spread of the virus.

“Here in North Carolina, this pandemic remains at a simmer, not a boil” Cohen said. “Flattening the curve and keeping it flat requires daily, ongoing actions. There’s no one and done here.”

12 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of and Human Services on Tuesday reported another record high number of hospitalizations in the state with 1,179. That’s up 93 from Monday. The previous record was 1,178 on July 16.

339 suspected COVID-19 patients were reported as admitted into a hospital statewide in the past 24 hours. 124 confirmed COVID-19 patients were reported as admitted in the last 24 hours.

73 percent of the state’s ventilators are still available.

On July 17, the state reported 1,180 hospitalizations. However, it has since updated its dashboard to a more automated system which now shows 1,154 hospitalizations on that day.

As DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen has repeatedly said, the region including Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has the highest number of hospitalizations in the state.

1,815 new cases were also reported on Tuesday. 24,087 tests were completed, according to NCDHHS.

26 more deaths were reported, bringing the total in the state to 1,668.

People ages 25 to 49 make up 45 percent of the cases across North Carolina.

9:45 a.m.
Cumberland County Schools have finalized a decision to open the 2020-2021 school year under Plan C for at least the first six weeks of the year. The school board’s choice was unanimous and echoed Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr.’s recommendation.

Plan C, which involves students participating in online only classes, would run through at least Sept. 25. The plans calls for the district to subsequently operate under Plan B–a mix of online and in-person classes–no earlier than Sept. 28 provided that the Director of Cumberland County Public confirms that COVID-19 conditions have improved significantly.

Dr. Connelly must get approval from the board for the district to continue operating under Plan C beyond Sept. 25.

“Our goal is to get children and teachers back in the building as quickly as we can,” said Susan Williams. “But we have to keep safety in mind.”


The Museum of Life and Science canceled all of its in-person camps in Durham for the rest of this week after learning two siblings who attended one of its on-site summer camps last week tested positive for COVID-19.

The siblings who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic and passed daily temperature checks while at camp last week. They learned of someone in their outside social circle who contracted the virus. The family of the campers told the Museum on Monday morning.

“Camper safety is our top priority, so we canceled camp this week to be as cautious as possible,” said Davis Tate, Program Manager of Camp Experiences at the Museum. “After finding that we had received a positive test, we discussed the situation internally and felt the best course of action would be to cancel camps for the week and give our staff the opportunity to be tested. We want to ensure that no campers will be at risk.”

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin banned alcohol sales in the city after 11 p.m. in an effort to curb the coronavirus spread. Baldwin signed an executive order Monday announcing the sale ban in bars, restaurants and grocery stores.

The alcohol curfew will be from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and will take effect Wednesday.

According to the order, social distancing and face-covering requirements weren’t being followed at restaurants and other businesses in the evening and early morning

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s coronavirus task force will hold a briefing at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Wake County Public School System and Cumberland County Schools are also scheduled to hold meetings Tuesday. WCPSS will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss moving to Plan C, which would be online-learning only. Cumberland schools meet at 8:30 a.m. The Cumberland Superintendent is recommending the district move to Plan C.

So far, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Chatham County Schools, Durham County Schools, Orange County Schools, Vance County Schools, and Warren County Schools announced they would reopen with classes only available online.

7 p.m.
Visitors to the seven public pools that Raleigh is operating this summer can enjoy the water in allotted two-hour time slots. The pools briefly close between swim sessions to allow for thorough facility cleaning.

MORE: Raleigh pool goers limited to 2-hour windows, must wear face coverings

Face masks are required while interacting with staff, whether that be during your wellness check on the way in or navigating the public spaces such as the restroom or pool house.

6:30 p.m.
Durham County health officials are reporting 5,133 COVID-19 cases, up 63 from Sunday. There have been 73 deaths county-wide. Of the total cases, 4,521 have been released from isolation.

6 p.m.
The Wayne County Board of Education voted 5-2 Monday to reopen schools under Plan B.

RELATED: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to begin with full-time remote learning option for upcoming school year

“Essentially, the Plan B concept is a hybrid of face-to-face and remote instruction, and mandates both social distancing and the wearing of face masks, along with enhanced health protocols as outlined by DHHS,” states Dr. James Merrill, interim superintendent. “At this time, details of the district’s Plan B are in draft form and available for public review on our website. Additionally, the Board noted that factors may arise at any time that might cause them to revert the district to Plan C, which is 100% remote instruction for all students.”

RELATED: Durham Public Schools will use online learning for first 9 weeks; use only traditional calendar for school year

In addition to the Plan B option, the district is currently accepting applications for a K-12 Virtual Learning Program, which is an online school choice option that will be available this fall.

5:35 p.m.
Wake County has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Universal Care in Fuquay-Varina, located at 410 Judd Parkway.

5:20 p.m.
The Halifax County Department is reporting 493 confirmed positive cases, including five deaths from COVID-19.

A total of 298 patients have recovered.

5 p.m.
Wake County health officials are reporting 8,974 total COVID-19 cases, up 191 from Sunday. There have been 93 deaths county-wide.

4:55 p.m.
The Lee County Department said it has 975 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. It’s an increase of 46 cases since last Monday.

The Department also said that 839 people have recovered and resumed normal activities. The department continues to monitor 128 individuals and reports eight laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths since the first case was reported in March.

The county will hold a COVID-19 drive-thru community testing event on July 28th at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford. The testing event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. To register, please call (919) 542-4991 ext. 1015 for English or 1016 for Spanish.

4:52 p.m.
Cumberland County is reporting 162 new COVID-19 cases and one death since Friday morning.

Cumberland County’s case count is now 2,011 with 48 deaths. The resident who died was in their 70s with underlying health conditions.

Because of the expected sweltering conditions for July 21, Community Testing (previously referred to as Pop-Up testing) at the VFW at 161 Chance St., has been canceled.

Testing will be offered Tuesday by the Department at Manna Church, 5117 Cliffdale Road.

4:30 p.m.
According to the North Carolina Department of and Human Services, 78,707 North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 11,583 people from last Monday.

Because NCDHHS and North Carolina hospitals do not track when individual patients recover from COVID-19, the department provides a number of patients presumed to be recovered each week based on an average recovery period of 14 days for non-hospitalized patients and 28 days for hospitalized patients.

However, it is unclear at this time whether those patients are still infectious and could spread the disease to others in the state.

1:42 p.m.
The Sampson County Department reported just three new cases but two additional deaths attributed to COVID-19. The death toll stands at 10 countywide and there are 1,290 positive cases.

3:30 p.m.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin signed an executive order on Monday prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. in the city.

Restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores are ordered to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m. beginning Wednesday.

Businesses cannot resume selling alcohol until 7 a.m. the following day.

The order states that “the city has seen numerous instances of congregation at restaurants and other business establishments in late evening and early morning hours where social distancing and face-covering requirements are not being followed.”

2:45 p.m.
Wake County has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at BellaRose Nursing & Rehab, located at 200 BellaRose Lake Way in Garner.

1:55 p.m.
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) will begin waiving road tests for qualified drivers who are 18 or older, starting Wednesday.

These drivers must have an appointment at a license office, which can be made online on the NCDOT website. They would select “Driver License – First Time” as the type of appointment, then pick an office and select a date and time.
At the time of the appointment, drivers must present all of the required documentation for a new driver as described on the New Drivers page on the NCDMV website and those that verify eligibility of the conditions below. Per the Governor’s executive order, all customers must wear a facial covering or mask, and they are also subject to pre-screening health questions.

The waiver is allowed under new emergency administrative rules language that states “during a pandemic where an executive order is in place, the requirement of a road test may be waived if previous driver training and/or safe driving records can be established.”

“The Division has been very thoughtful in protecting the health of our customers and examiners and ensuring the safety of the driving public,” said NC DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup. “With the uncertainty of when road tests can safely resume, we are taking this step to help qualified drivers gain the license they need for jobs, school and their families.”

The waiver will be available to drivers who need a regular Class C license and meet at least one of these conditions:

  • Currently hold a Level I permit, are at least 18 years old, and meet all requirements to obtain the Level II Limited Provisional License including not being convicted of a motor vehicle moving violation, seat belt infraction or unlawful use of a mobile phone.
  • Have received training and passed a driving course from a certified N.C. driving school approved by the Division within the previous 12 months and have not been convicted of a motor vehicle moving violation, seat belt infraction or unlawful use of a mobile phone.
  • Previously held an N.C. driver’s license that has not been expired more than one renewal cycle and was in good standing at the time of expiration.
  • For drivers who are 18-65 years old – not expired more than eight years.
  • For drivers who are 66 or older – not expired more than five years.
  • Are from any other state, district or territory that has N.C. license reciprocity. They must provide their most recent license and a certified five-year driving record


Drivers who qualify for the waiver will be issued a license of the appropriate length for their age, either eight or five years. Waivers under this special provision do not apply to drivers who are governed by Legal Presence or Lawful Status or drivers in the Medical Review program.

This waiver will remain in place until DMV resumes road tests, which is anticipated when the state reaches Phase 3 of its reopening.

1:25 p.m.
In an effort to provide more localized information about hospital capacity, NCDHHS added a new feature to its COVID-19 dashboard to include hospitalizations and available beds by region across North Carolina.

As DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen has repeatedly said, the region including Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has the highest number of hospitalizations in the state, with 317 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in 94% of hospitals reporting. The region currently has 76 available ICU beds and 783 available inpatient beds.

However, the regions including Wake and Durham counties have fewer available beds should hospitalizations increase. Currently, there are 87 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region including Wake, Johnston, Franklin, Lee and Harnett counties, with 100% of hospitals reporting. In the region, there are 42 available ICU beds and 350 available inpatient beds.

In the region including Durham, Granville, Person, Vance, Caswell and Robeson counties, 124 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, but only 63% of hospitals are reporting. Additionally, the region only has 14 available ICU beds and 318 available inpatient beds.

The region that includes Orange, Alamance, Warren, Moore, Hoke, Cumberland, Sampson and Montgomery counties reported 123 hospitalizations with 91% of hospitals reporting. There are currently 108 available ICU beds and 626 available inpatient beds in the region.

12:05 p.m.
More than 100,000 people in North Carolina have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in March.

New numbers released Monday from the North Carolina Department of and Human Services listed the number of laboratory-confirmed cases at 101,046. That’s an increase of 1,268 from Sunday.

The state reported 29,024 completed tests, notching the number of completed tests up to 1,423,888.

The number of patients currently in the hospital (1,086) decreased by 29. While the number of people who died from the virus (1,642) increased by 8.

The percentage of tests that came back positive on July 19 is currently at 7%. That is the lowest percent positive in more than a month. However, that number can change as more tests taken on that day are reported to the system in the coming days and weeks.

11:25 a.m.
More than 67,000 students have applied for Wake County Public School System’s Virtual Academy.

WCPSS made the announcement Monday morning on Twitter.

The school district is the largest in the state, with more than 160,000 students.

District leaders are already hinting that all students may be required to start the school year in the Virtual Academy. The school board is set to make an official decision on that Tuesday.

If WCPSS opts to start the upcoming school year with only virtual classes, registration for Virtual Academy will be extended.

CLICK HERE: To register for WCPSS Virtual Academy


Monday is the deadline to register for Wake County’s Virtual Academy. The option allows students to learn completely online this fall. As of Thursday night, 38,000 students had signed up for the academy.

Students in the Wake County Public School System may all start the school year in virtual classes whether they sign up for the all-online option or not. School Board Chairman Keith Sutton told ABC11 on Thursday that he was “strongly considering” starting the year without holding any in person classes.

Neighboring school systems such as Durham and Orange counties as well as Chapel Hill-Carrboro City have made the decision to proceed with Plan C for the first few weeks of the 2020-2021 school year.

One private school, Thales Academy, is expected to reopen to students for in-person learning Monday. In a statement, the academy said it believes providing an in-person education is of utmost importance for the well-being of their students. The academy finished last school year virtually.

Morrisville is handing out free face masks Monday. Residents can pick up their masks from noon to 1 p.m. at Crosstimbers Apartments (900 Golden Horseshoe Circle). Free drive-thru COVID-19 tests are available at the Wake County Commons Building on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

A judge is listening to arguments this week about whether the COVID-19 pandemic demands changes to North Carolina’s voting systems this fall. U.S. District Judge William Osteen scheduled a hearing starting Monday involving a lawsuit by two voting advocacy groups and several citizens who fear current rules threaten their health if they want to vote.

The plaintiffs want Osteen to block several voting restrictions now. A new state law already eases absentee ballot rules and directs that an online portal be created to file applications. Similar virus-related voting lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina and other states.

North Carolina has just under 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 99, 778. Starting Monday, stores like Walmart, Sam’s Club, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Kohl’s are requiring customers to wear masks at all locations. Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday issued a mandatory mask requirement across North Carolina in June.

Copyright © 2020 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *