We’re tracking the most up-to-date information on coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 800 hospitalized patients
At least 2,611,733 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina and at least 22,961 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, March 14, reported 373 new cases of COVID-19compared to 955 on March 13 and 1,802 on March 12. The state does not update case counts over weekends.
39 additional coronavirus-related deaths were added to the total.
At least 854 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of March 14, including 164 adults being treated in intensive care units. The number of patients was up from 813 the previous day.
As of March 12, the latest date of information available, 2.6% of coronavirus tests were positive. Health officials say 5% or less is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.
About 76% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and about 71% are fully vaccinated. Of the state’s total population, about 61% are fully immunized and about 65% have received at least one dose. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.
More than 3.2 million “supplemental/booster” doses have been administered in North Carolina as of March 14, the health department said. Health officials have urged those who are eligible to get boosted, as data suggests it offers increased protection against the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Nationwide, virtually all new cases of COVID-19 have been attributed to the omicron variant and his related “lineages” to March 5, the latest date for which data is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
North Carolina unemployment payments delayed at start of pandemic, audit finds
Unemployment payments were delayed in North Carolina in early 2020, a period that included the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a state audit.
“As a result, $438 million in financial assistance was not received by unemployed North Carolina workers during a time of great need,” State Auditor Beth Wood said in a news release.
The audit covered a three-month period from January to March 2020. Unemployment claims began to rise in March as coronavirus-related shutdowns shuttered several businesses, The News & Observer reported.
During the pandemic, North Carolinians faced long waits and other issues as the state unemployment agency faced more jobless claims than ever. The audit found that the North Carolina Department of Employment Security was unprepared for the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“In response to Wood’s audit, Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders said she did not disagree with any of Wood’s findings and was working on improvements,” the N&O reported. .
Charlotte marks two years of COVID
Two years after the the coronavirus began to spread in the Charlotte area, some healthcare workers say it’s the hardest time they’ve had on the job.
Since Mecklenburg County reported its first COVID-related death on March 29, 2020, data shows more than 1,560 residents died.
Although experts say the virus has not entered the endemic phase where infections are more manageable, many medical professionals remain optimistic.
“I think that’s where we can all agree,” said Julian Carranza of Novant Health, according to The Charlotte Observer. “We hope we are near the end. Obviously, it was very difficult. It’s exhausting, mentally, physically. It was really difficult to see very, very sick patients.
In the meantime, health officials say vaccines offer the best way to protect against serious illness with COVID-19. A growing number of people in the Charlotte area have also been interested in the treatment options, though supplies are limited, the Observer reported.
Charlotte District says rollout of new mask rule is smooth as some parents worry
Although the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools reported having made a smooth transition to their optional face mask policy, some parents have expressed their concerns.
Sean Strain, a school board member, was among parents who told The Charlotte Observer that a teacher had put ‘plexiglass privacy dividers’ around desks. They were installed last week after the school district stopped requiring face coverings indoors.
“The issue was resolved as soon as it was raised with the manager,” Strain said. “Desktop screens have been removed and students have the option in class whether or not to wear a mask.”
While a student said his peers respect his decision to continue wearing a mask, a parent told the school board he heard of a time when a teacher told all students to take off their coverings -face. CMS did not immediately respond to a request for information about the allegation, the Oberver reported on March 14.
North Carolina health chief urges FDA to revise blood donation rules amid shortages
The secretary of the North Carolina state health department has joined other health officials in calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to end a waiting period for sexually active bisexual and gay men interested in donating blood.
Kody Kinsley, who is gay, asked in a letter to the FDA to end a deferral policy that bars men from donating blood if they have had sex with another man in the last 90 days, said reported The News & Observer.
The call comes after authorities saw blood donations drop amid the spread of the omicron and delta coronavirus variants.
“Personally, it has been incredibly disappointing not being able to join my colleagues and loved ones in donating blood, seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the national blood shortage, highlighting patient care and safety,” Kinsley wrote on Twitter.